Spring has taken hold. There are smells on the breeze and winter seems a world away. Now seems like the perfect time to get out in nature and see what the plants and trees have to offer.
BUT – you’re too busy to leave the city! Disaster, right?
Get down to Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Here, you can experience nature without even leaving Cambridge. Head in through the main gate in Trumpington Street and you’ll be transported, like Alice through the looking glass or that little girl in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, to another world.
What’s good at the Botanical Gardens at the moment? Here’s what the experts reckon should be coming into their own at this time of year.
The lilac, Syringa ‘Buffon’ will be coming in to full flower in the Scented Garden.
The gardens’ website says Syringa ‘Buffon’ is a “selection of a hybrid raised from a cross of S. oblata and S. vulgaris”. It is a large shrub with large, fragrant pink flowers.
A brightly-coloured jade vine is bearing numerous “pendent racemes”, which hang beneath a canopy of foliage in the glasshouses.
Strongylodon macrobotrys, or jade vine, is a climbing member of the pea family. In the wild the jade vine is under threat from extensive deforestation.
Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’
The Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ has gained the common name of bleeding heart. It’s a clump-forming herbaceous perennial of the papaveraceae (poppy) family.
The bowing racemes of heart-shaped flowers emerge from a mass of soft green, ovate or lobed leaves. The flowers will endure into the summer months in sun or partial shade, providing the plant is grown in moist conditions. The pink-flowered form can be seen in the Woodland Garden.
This evergreen shrub is compact in habit and is a welcome addition to the Dry Garden.
At home in western China, Daphne tangutica is covered in terminal clusters of fragrant, pink-white flowers, each of which has the appearance of being crystallised. The main flowering season is March to April, but Daphne tangutica will continue to produce flowers sporadically throughout the year.
Easter bunny hunt
Sick of flowers? The botanical gardens will be putting on Easter bunny hunts until April 17. These are free to attend, and run from 10am until 6pm.