Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Spring Colour Watch Blog: Magnolias come up trumps

Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm Author: Gina Mills

Magnolia sprengeri 'diva'

This week's Spring Colour Watch Blog focuses on our magnolias. Our champion magnolia sprengeri 'Diva' heralds the start of spring each year for many of our regular visitors and this week came up trumps, blooming to coincide with the official start of spring along with many other specimens.

There are many specimens of magnolia sprengeri which have a mass of large pink blooms at the moment. From a distance they pack a real punch of colour - around the Savill Glade and Circular Drive area of the Old Arboretum the high branches of many of our taller specimens reach in to a bright blue spring sky, giving tantalising glimpses of what is to be discovered around each corner.


For those who like their blooms equally impressive in size, but of a subtler colour, look out for magnolia dawsoniana and magnolia campbellii. These flower on a grand scale and again, the sheer quantity of blooms is immense. Many of the magnolias with smaller blooms seem to be holding off on a full display for now - but on Main Drive you will see the hybrid magnolia x loebreri 'merrill' putting on a good show.


Of course, the star of the show this week is our champion magnolia sprengeri 'Diva'. The blooms are a brighter shade of pink than many other magnolias and are eagerly awaited each year by staff and visitors alike. 'Diva' or the godess magnolia, is not only a champion, but a specimen of special historical significance, being a specially cultivated variety of a species collected as seed by the famous Gloucestershire Victorian plant hunter, Ernest Wilson, during an expedition to Western China.


This weekend will be a great time to visit this first magnificent flush of magnolias. There will be more to come in the next few weeks from specimens in the further reaches of the Old Arboretum. Elsewhere onsite, the first few Silk Wood bluebells have been spotted - another milestone in the arrival of spring, which we will keep you updated on in the coming weeks.

Keep an eye on Westonbirt's Facebook page, where more magnolia images will be appearing.

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More information about spring at Westonbirt

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