Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Wood Lands

The Woodland Garden is one of several areas at Kew that look utterly glorious at this time of year. Many species that grow in woodland conditions have adapted their growth to flower in spring, making the most of the comparatively high light levels. Deciduous woodland trees are only just beginning to unfurl their fresh foliage, so these cunning woodland coves mop up the available light before the canopy forms overhead and they are plunged into dappled light or complete darkness! Some early flowering woodland specimens will disappear after setting seed, dying back completely until late winter next year; however some others will tough it out for the summer months and proudly brave their foliage amidst the shaded conditions. Thankfully the Woodland Garden is well planted so after this early peak the interest continues, with many later-flowering specimens still to come such as the Actea and Lilium. I am somewhat distracted by lectures at this point in time, but I hope you enjoy these highlights of a recent, brief, foray into the garden!
The familiar snowdrop-type glory of Leucojum aestivum

Erythronium hendersonii has these richly coloured tepals, and is one of many Erythronium species planted in the Woodland Garden

Erythronium oregonum reveals the drooping nature of these wonderful flowers! Erythronium ‘Hidcote Beauty’ can be seen here, a gem we grew on the Acid Border at Hidcote

Dense clumps of Fritillaria imperialis are one of the most exciting features to be seen at this time of year, these incredible plants seen best in strong groups

Detail of the F. imperialis, which are also a favourite of the honeybees and bombus

The fresh foliage of Sorbus aronioides bears these delicate wrinkles, followed by white flowers and then later on by autumn berries

The magnolia display is well underway at Kew, this here is M. sprengeri var. diva

Magnolia campbellii is one of the best species, and is completely covered in huge, Alice in Wonderland, cup-and-saucer blooms!

The buds are covered in thick hair, which fall away as the wonder unfurls

The floral parts are suitably beautiful!

One of my most enjoyable sights of the year, Fritillaria meleagris