Guest Blog: National Trust Glendurgan Garden Springtime
23 March 2023
As we move into Spring, Tom Cutter, Assistant Head Gardener of National Trust Glendurgan Garden takes us on a garden tour
Spring is a great time to visit Glendurgan! The Magnolias are showing off, the Camellias are in their element and the Rhododendrons are adding even more spring colour. Our meadows are not far off becoming otherworldly with their impressive displays of wild flowers and the summer interest begins to take shape, springing into growth.
We have recently been working the cobble edges around the garden, this is often an unnoticed detail but a detail that
raises the standards of the garden and if you do take time to look and admire them, they really are great works of art and so typical of Glendurgan. Not only are they beautiful but these edges, and their partnering cobble gulley’s, help to take the surface water after rain, away from the paths and into drain networks around the garden, getting the water to where it needs to go.
On a more planty note, yes I am sorry to go full plant nerd on you, our Magnolias have felt later this year and those that are normally earlier, have condensed into flowering at a similar time to some of their usual runners up. Our first Magnolia to flower, by a week or two, is usually Magnolia campbellii subsp. campbellii, however this year it appears to have been just pipped to the post by M. campbellii subsp. mollicomata ‘Alba’, which is just aside the maze. Soon, the M. sargentiana var. robusta alba, will hopefully grace us with its enormous plate sized flowers, filling the view to the side of the main pond in the heart of the garden.
Our Camellias have been performing since before Christmas, but Camellia Walk is still littered with colour! Some of the small species Camellias are starting to get going, such as the Camellia forrestii, a favourite of mine, and the more recently planted C. grisjii. Alongside these, you will find some of the Reticulata Camellias such as Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’ and C. reticulata ‘Songzillin’. This stark contrast really defines what Glendurgan is about, that shock and awe that considered contrast can create in a garden, more commonly noticed with the use of extreme exotic oddities in and amongst carpets of naturalistic wildflower meadows.
Now, our Rhododendrons are beginning to flower. Rhododendron barbatum has begun down by the Bhutan area of the garden and R. irroratum on the
bottom of the Entrance Route has been performing for a few weeks now, a really intricate flower. It won’t be long before R. keysii is out, this being one of the oddest of all Rhododendrons, hardly resembling one at all but odd plants have always been the ones to catch my eye in a garden!
Finally, the meadows have started to show off the Primroses, which will only get better over the coming weeks, the Snowdrops which are coming to a sad end now and we can look forward to late April when the Bluebells will begin their display, forming oceans of blue down our dramatic valleys – a must not miss!
If you want to learn more, book onto one of my garden tours on the Glendurgan website for an exclusive tour of this valley garden. I will share my expertise and knowledge of the plants, all the hidden treasures and some tips for your garden at home. Glendurgan is packed full of exotic plants, wildflowers and rare trees, making it the perfect place to expand your horticultural knowledge. It is a great way for you to learn about the building blocks of this amazing place and hear the stories that each of the plants have to tell. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended.
We hope you can make it along and see the garden soon. As ever, any questions about the plants in the garden, do get in touch, we love talking about them! Have a lovely Spring.