Flowers of Staphylea (bladdernut)

Wanderlust Strikes!

As spring gets a bit warmer, it feels as if it would be good to visit gardens and nurseries again. It’s a long time since I’ve been in anyone else’s garden and I’d really like to see something different to my own now. (The gardener’s version of cabin fever?)

Visiting gardens is one of my favourite ways to have a day out. I love to see how other people have created their gardens – often very different to whatever I might have come up with. It’s inspiring to see the imaginative ideas and beautiful planting that you can find in the best gardens. You can take ideas home to your own patch and you can discover plants that you may not see elsewhere.

If I see an unfamiliar plant that I like, I try to ask its name. But if there’s no-one to ask, it’s handy to have a camera or phone to take a quick photo. Afterwards I can spend hours with Google, just trying to find out what it may be.

The white-flowered shrub in the top picture really grabbed my attention. I was impressed by the generous numbers of delicately pretty flowers, but had no idea what it was. Eventually I found pictures of Staphylea (bladdernut) flowers. (Hooray for the interwebs!) So I think it’s Staphylea, possibly colchica, but hard to tell from a small photo. (I’m pretty sure that some of you will be familiar with bladdernuts, so if you know, please tell…I could be tempted to try to find one for my garden.)

Redbud tree flowers

The redbud (Cercis siliquastrum or Judas tree) above was a bit more familiar to me because I have seen a few of them since moving to England. (Scotland has a narrower range of garden plants, partly because of the cooler climate. So there have been lots of new plants for me to learn about here. Fun!) The first time I saw this in flower was the beautiful specimen in Beth Chatto’s garden in Essex. It is wonderful in spring – as is the whole garden.

The shrub below had me puzzled for a long time. It looked exotic for our climate and I think it was probably getting a lot of shelter from the old brick wall behind it. My blogger friend Liz at ‘Exploring Colour’ posted a photograph of the flowers of a Kowhai (Sophora sp.) growing in New Zealand here: https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/2020/10/28/shining-bright/ Thanks for the answer Liz!

These photographs were all taken on a visit to Marks Hall Arboretum in Essex in April 2019. What a long time ago that seems! I had a very happy afternoon wandering around in their huge collection of trees and shrubs, seeing lots of plants that were new to me. (They reckon they have the largest collection of Wollemi pine in Europe.)

It will be great to have this sort of day out again. And to be able to visit the small nurseries around us too. (Garden centres have been allowed to stay open but the nurseries, which I prefer, are closed until April 12th.) When they open, I’m sure I’ll enjoy seeing new and unfamiliar plants there too – and, no doubt, buy a few!

Kowhai (Sophora) flowers

18 thoughts on “Wanderlust Strikes!

  1. Love your leading photo of the white blossom, so beautiful! The kowhai flowers are fabulous against the brick wall, neat that my post assisted with the ID, ta for the link! The arboretum must be wonderful to visit, I’d love to see their wollemi pine collection! Great post Ann!

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    1. That white blossom drew mw to it as if by magic! It was something special. (It may even be scented, but I can’t remember now.)Your post was a huge help to me! And it’s interesting to see that our treasured garden plants are often your native plants. πŸ™‚ Marks Hall is a great place to visit for anyone who likes trees – I bet you’d love it! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks Indira! Marks Hall was a lovely place to visit in spring – I hope I’ll get back there some time this year!

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  2. You and me are very much alike (except you are a much better flower photographer) with our love of gardens and gardening and discovering new plants. I spend hours searching for names too! I have found that it is a good idea to photograph not only the flowers but also the leaves and a wide angle view too. This often helps in the ID. Making a note of when a plant is in flower helps, but I am sure you know that. It once took me years to ID a NZ flower, but eventually I came across one. BTW the Kowhai is a beauty. You can grow it here if you have a sunny, south facing wall. It needs shelter so no good for my garden, but will withstand temperatures down to -10 degrees C
    Hope you get to a garden soon, I have one booked for Wednesday! And several more on the waiting list.

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    1. Thank you Jude… *blush*. (Actually, looking at your garden visits, I think you’re a better garden photographer than me…I work at my best in close-up!) Photographing the other details of the plant is an excellent idea – doesn’t tend to occur to me in the rush of excitement. (Also the rush to take the photographs I want while someone else is waiting for me to catch them up!) I would love to have a big stretch of south-facing wall – every gardener would, I’m sure! It can get fairly windy here, so the more sheltered spots are in high demand…I need to do a bit more re-designing out there. Enjoy your garden visit! πŸ™‚

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  3. It was especially fun to see the redbud; it’s native here, and quite a treat to find it in the woods, away from cultivation in someone’s yard. I especially like the last photo; the warmth of the flowers against the wall is a visual treat, as well as a help to the plant!

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    1. Oh, it must be a great treat to come across a redbud in the wild – your ‘wild’ sounds very exciting! Those old walls were really nice – it must be lovely to have an old walled garden, with the look of it and the extra shelter.

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    1. Thank you Emma – I’m very happy that you liked my photos. I hope we’ll get lots of chances to go garden-visiting safely this summer and autumn – and have good weather for it too! πŸ™‚

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  4. I had to chuckle at your Garden Cabin Fever comment! I have spent hours looking up plants (and butterflies) from images taken on various trips. Loved the pix, especially the white flowers at the top. Hope you are able to get out in a couple weeks – we are starting to here also.

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    1. It can be really hard to decide what plant is in the picture – especially when the images on Google are conflicting with each other! Our car needs to have its MOT test – after that we’ll be able to get a bit further afield… πŸ™‚

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  5. I am glad that you were able to have a walkabout in other gardens, Ann. We don’t do enough of that and tend to grow the same plants repeatedly. We lost a paperbark maple a few years ago and I am finally going to cut it down and up. We haven’t decided what to replace it with. I favor a redbud but Mary Beth thinks it will shade the other plants in our oval garden in the front yard. We’ll see what we decide.
    The bladdernut has gorgeous flowers and I am sure would look wonderful as an addition to any garden and hopefully yours. πŸ™‚

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    1. The bladdernut would be very pretty – it’s on the list of possibilities. πŸ™‚ Sad about your maple – and I know what it’s like trying to decide whether or not there will be too much shade from what you want to plant. Same problem here!

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