Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Crinodendron hookerianum

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Well, there is still plenty of spring colour to enjoy here at Westonbirt and the flowers will keep coming through the summer, though not in the abundance we are spoilt with in spring. A regular seasonal performer doing its thing just now is Crinodendron hookerianum, known as the lantern tree.

Crinodendron hookerianum Crinodendron hookerianum

This one prefers a little shade and grows here amid the Rhododendrons and numerous other spring stunners. Come see for yourself – and let the light in!!

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Cercis siliquastrum

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Looking good out in the arboretum today are over 15,000 trees, though perhaps some more obviously than others. Of those are examples of Cercis siliquastrum, commonly known as the Judas tree. As legend would have it that an individual of this species was what Judas Escariot (of Bible fame) hung himself from. However, I prefer to highlight the more savoury (or sweet) feature that the tree is known for, the phenomenon known as cauliflory, where flowers are produced directly from the stem, as opposed young branches or the current years growth.

Cercis siliquastrum Cercis siliquastrum

It is in fact more a feature associated with tropical plants including Theobroma cacao, which translates as the ‘food of the gods’, though perhaps known to more of us simply as chocolate!! Tasty.

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: eye-catching Enkianthus

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Among the many attributes of members of the Enkianthus genus are the bell-like flowers. Here at Westonbirt, particularly on Main Drive in the Old Arboretum and Willesley Drive in Silk Wood, they are really on song right now!

Enkianthus chinensis Enkianthus deflexus

Enkianthus campanulatus Enkianthus campanulatus f. albiflorus

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Davidia involucrata

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

I have chosen to highlight this one this week as our largest, oldest specimen (close to Main Drive and Loop Walk in the Old Arboretum) is looking quite fine in bract right about now. Our other specimens are at various stages and are well worth keeping a close eye on!

Davidia involucrata. Quite simply, what a tree!!

Davidia Davidia

Davidia Davidia

Also looking good: everything else!!

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Rhododendron quinquefolium

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

There is far too much excitement amongst the plants to attempt to mention it all here, so I shall stick to just the one today. Though suffice to say, this one is a cracker!! A reliable performer, Rhododendron quinquefolium is a quite beautiful azalea, and an old plant is looking fantastic in full flower just now on Circular Drive, at the end of Sir Georges Walk.

The flowers emerge after the leaves, which are usually in whorls of 5 (hence the specific epithet) and with a beautiful reddish border, they are a real feature in themselves. A young plant in Sand Earth sporting only a few flowers provide an opportunity for visitors to Silk Wood to admire more of the foliar display.

Silk Wood Rhododendron

Rhododendron Rhododendron

As for everything else, well, you’ll just have to come and get amongst it!!

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: fantastic foliar flushes!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Amid the endless shades of green seen as fresh foliage emerges, are equally wonderful tones of pink, purple and red, as some of our trees put on a colour show equal to that of autumn. I went out and about yesterday to capture some of the leaf delights found at this time of year.

Acer amamiense Sorbus-keissleri

Aesculus x neglecta 'Erythroblastos'  Liriodendron chinense

Come and see them for yourselves!

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: cheerful cherries

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Some of you will know that our Prunus sargentii on Broad Drive is looking rather good just at the moment. Photographs posted to Facebook last week illustrated this nicely I took a few more this morning confirming that this is still the case!

Prunus sargentii Prunus sargentii

The new foliage is coming along now, complimenting the flowers really well – lovely stuff! Native to Japan and Sakhalin and introduced to Britain in 1893, our venerable specimen is an early planting and a real favourite of many of here at Westonbirt.

The tree can of course be visited via the new path which passes through the Cherry Collection, which though now more diverse than just cherries, boasts some fine flowering examples at the moment! These images below were also taken this morning… Well worth a walk in Silk Wood!!

Japanese cherry Yoshino cherry Prunus shirotae

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: awesome Acers

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

There is so much to excite here at Westonbirt just now – far too much to mention them all here so I have chosen to highlight just a few of the Acer species along Broad drive, which are perhaps more subtle in their flowering beauty. As many of you know, the Acer genus is one of our National Collections and certainly not just for autumn! 
Two European species which are looking fantastic just now are Acer hyrcanum, the balkan maple and Acer opalus, the Italian maple.

Acer hyrcanum   Acer opalus

These photos were taken of specimens growing along Broad Drive and are worth close inspection! The former grows in a prominent position opposite the propped Prunus sargentii, Sargent’s cherry , while the latter is set back, behind the iA. hyrcanum – don’t miss it!
Slightly further along towards Waste Drive is Acer morifolium and although the flowers aren’t quite out, the flushing foliage is looking awesome! 

Acer morifolium
There is plenty more worth seeking out as well – come and see for yourselves!!

Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Azara microphylla

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The beauty of spring is definitely unfolding at Westonbirt (even if it has turned a little bit chilly again!) and one of the many highlights is Azara microphylla, which is in flower right now.

Azara microphylla Azara microphylla

Although they may not be the most showy and you do need to get up close and personal to have a good look – you are in for a treat. The smell is just fantastic!! Some say they smell like vanilla, for others it’s more like cocoa butter. My advice is to get stuck in, have a good whiff and decide for yourself! You can find it in the Old Arboretum, look at the interactive map, to find its exact spot.  It is another favourite of many of us here and another reason to head for the trees here at Westonbirt.


Dendrologist Dan’s spring stunners: Magnolia campbellii

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Spring things are really getting going here at Westonbirt right now. Numerous Rhododendrons, Camellias, Corylopsis species are all flowering well, in one of our hotspots, Savill Glade, where the Magnolias are also coming to the party. M. campbelli is the first to really get going and is looking just fantastic!!

Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii


For more information about spring at Westonbirt, visit