The promise of spring

Although the mornings are still very dark, we can almost smell spring in the air.

During the winter months the gardeners are occupied clearing leaves, cutting back herbaceous plants, mulching borders to provide nourishment to the cultivated plants and to keep the weeds down and pruning in preparation for spring when the garden begins to stir. Although the mornings are still very dark, we can almost smell spring in the air and are looking forward to the first spring flowers.

We have several varieties of snowdrop (Galanthus) in the gardens and also their larger cousins, commonly known as snowflakes (Leucojum). Some snowdrops flower as early as November but on the whole, ours appear in January. There are many collectors of snow drops, known as galanthophiles, who strive to cultivate as many of the three hundred plus varieties as they can in their gardens. They often pay large sums for a single bulb of a rare cultivar.

Spring flowers on Latham Lawn
Spring flowers on Latham Lawn

One of my favourite views at Trinity Hall is Latham Lawn in spring. A succession of bulbs and corms will be taking their turn to impress us over the coming weeks beginning around now with crocuses which will fade and allow the scillas, erythroniums and later, narcissus and anemone blanda to have their moment in the spotlight.

In summer, our splendid Beech tree offers these plants a little shade, keeping the bulbs and corms cool and preventing them from desiccating. But in spring, before the beech buds break, enough light penetrates to encourage the bulbs beneath the canopy to do their thing.

I hope you enjoy spring time in the gardens at Trinity Hall as much as we gardeners do!

Sam Hartley, Head Gardener