After a particularly cold start to the spring, the magnificent Cherry and Magnolia collections at Batsford Arboretum are bursting into life thanks to the much-anticipated arrival of warm weather.
Batsford holds the National Collection of Prunus (Sato-Zakura group) cherries – with around 120 trees in clusters around the 56 acre arboretum – and is home to 73 species of Magnolia. With both collections being held back by recent cold weather, the arrival of warmer weather this week means that the Cherries and Magnolias are now coming into flower at the same time, providing a stunning display of pink, white and purple throughout the Arboretum.
The first of the Japanese cherries to flower earlier this week was Prunus yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry) which famously represents the start of Hanami (a Japanese tradition of welcoming spring, also known as the ‘cherry blossom festival’).
Head Gardener, Matthew Hall says “Some of our earlier-flowering magnolias and cherries – such as Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ and Prunus incisa ‘Fujimae’ Cherry – came into flower a month late this year, whilst the rest of our Magnolias and our Japanese cherries are around two weeks later than we’d usually expect. It just goes to show we’re completely at the mercy of the weather, however they’re rapidly coming into flower now and we’re anticipating a stunning display over the next few days.”
Despite things getting off to a slow start for the Cherries and Magnolias, the cold spell has been particularly beneficial to spring bulbs, which have put on one of the best displays the North Cotswolds attraction has seen for many years – including masses of daffodils, plus Grape Hyacinths and Snakes Head Fritillaries – with Bluebells, Wild Garlic and Camassia still to look forward to over the coming weeks.