How nice is it to feel the sun on our bodies and some warmth in the air at long last! If it makes you feel you want to get out in to the garden and enjoy the glorious colours of the season then here are some places guaranteed to lift the spirits and provide gardening inspiration.
The season must kick off with the Cornwall Spring Flower Show. Normally at Boconnoc, it has a new home this year at the Royal Cornwall Showground. Beautiful floral competitions and displays; activities, competitions and entertainment for children; a Gardeners’ Questions session; plenty of horticultural trade stands; and oodles of inspiration for everyone. 6th and 7th April.
Sign up to the Dartmoor Spring Foraging Course on 12th April (the 13th course date is full). Held in Lustleigh and starting at the Cleave pub, the day starts with an intro on what to look for and a run-through of the countryside codes, followed by a two-and-a-half hour walk around the woods, fields and hedgerows. Then it’s back to the pub for a wild-food lunch based on what you find.
Caerhays Castle has a renowned woodland garden which is well worth a visit. Noted for its rhododendrons, national magnolia collection (over 450 varieties) and camellias, follow some of the marked trails through the garden
A particular favourite of mine is Docton Mill Gardens at Hartland. Not so well known as some of the bigger gardens, this is a gem close to the north devon coast. With a working water mill at its heart and set in a lush valley, you’ll find wonderful displays of daffodils, bluebells, magnolias and an abundance of candelabra primulas in the bog garden.
Visit Hartland Abbey on Sunday 14th April for its annual Bluebell Day to see the carpet of flowers stretching from the walled gardens to the sea. You’ll also discover wild anemones, violets, primroses and wild orchids along the way.
Jumping ahead a bit but the Garden Festival is back at Powderham Castle on 3rd and 4th May. Talks, demos, plenty of expertise and advice on hand as well as the all-important plants for sale. New for this year is an all-weather indoor seating and demo area where you can catch Gardeners’ World presenters Joe Swift and Frances Tophill.