On the beds outside the Visitor Centre many southern hemisphere plants will be in their flowering season.
Grevillea rosmarinifolia with its needle-like leaves and crimson flowers, Correa backhouseana, known as Australian Fuchsia (no relation) has delicate cream-coloured bell-shaped flowers and Grevillea victoriae, a hardy species with silvery leaves and apricot racemes.
The Camellias are starting to show off their magnificent blooms set against glossy foliage. They have been cultivated in the Far East for over 2000 yrs but only introduced into Europe for the very wealthy at the end of the 18th century. One of the first main season Camellias to flower this year is C. japonica ‘White Swan’ (H03), it’s pure white flowers with golden stamens enjoy the sheltered spot out of the early morning sun.
In winter, the decorative bark on many trees can be appreciated; Acer griseum (E11) the Chinese Paperbark Maple has beautiful peeling bark the colour of well polished antique furniture which literally glows in the winter sun. Similarly, Luma apiculata (Chilean Myrtle) which self-seeds freely in the garden, has smooth cinnamon-coloured trunks.
At the junction of Camellia Walk and Vivian’s Way, Lonicera fragrantissima (E09) (Shrubby Honeysuckle) has inconspicuous cream-coloured flowers redeemed by their delightful fragrance. Close by is Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ which has deep yellow flowers borne in ascending racemes.
On Badger’s Walk the magnificent Sequoia sempervirens (H12) better known as the Californian Redwood is the second tallest tree in the garden and really stands out in winter. Believed to have been planted around 1850, in 2012 the tree recorder from the National Tree Registry measured its height at 33.37m (approx. 110ft)