I drafted this post two years ago, but for some reason never got round to posting it so, lacking inspiration currently (and wasn’t the weekend weather FOUL!), I thought I’d share today. I’m not absolutely sure when I visited but I’m pretending it was still January.
As a ‘friend’ of Ventnor Botanic Gardens, I receive regular email updates and recently heard that this year’s new year flower count had totalled 287! I’ve been meaning to visit since I’d heard and finally, on Saturday, during a long awaited dry afternoon, off I went.
I think it’s fair to say that a number of those 287 had exhausted themselves in the intervening month, but there were still many blooms to admire, not least the Magnolias, including Magnolia campbelli alba (above and below) and M.campbelli ‘Charles Raffill’ (pink).
Whilst Ventnor’s incredibly mild microclimate means they have avoided any frost damage, they have clearly been battered by both wind and rain, leaving a number rather strangely ‘naked’ like the one above.
The two below, still in bud, are in much better condition. Perhaps the weather will allow these ones to flower in peace?
Magnolia x soulangiana ‘Triumphans’
Against a west facing wall another white flower, this New Zealander, 10ft tall Glory Pea or Lobster Claw, Clianthus puniceus albus. It’s supposed to flower from April to June, but clearly hasn’t read the books…
A shrub I don’t remember seeing before is Buddleja offinalis. I’m not a big Buddleja fan but this one is a lovely soft lilac and is scented and winter flowering. Apparently it’s usually reserved for the conservatory in this country, but was thriving at VBG.
More shrubby interest was provided by this Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’, another plant ignoring the calendar to flower now.
And to finish, Ventnor’s pride and joy, a little mirror orchid, Ophrys speculum. I was lucky enough to see these growing in the wild in southern Spain last year (see post here). They really are very special.