Spring Flowers at Compton Verney
The grass may squelch under foot and the sky may yet have more rain for us, but the atmosphere does feel markedly different outside today at Compton Verney. I’ve just returned from carrying out a few odd jobs in the park and was uplifted as always by the flowers that are, despite the weather, out in abundance.
Just a few steps from the café exit door there’s a gravel path that leads around the West Lawn, which is actually a wild flower meadow in disguise. For much of the autumn and winter season the lawn remains green just as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown would have intended, although right now the grassy expanse is beginning its meadow season transformation, and is pierced with bright yellow Common Cowslip flowers held on tall, single stems. (Primula veris).
Whilst the grass remains quite low to the ground, the closer-growing Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) carpets large areas with their star-like bright yellow flowers complimenting the cowslips perfectly. Considering also the abundance of Daffodils that are blooming right now, we could be fooled into thinking it’s the season to be yellow, but we would be wrong…
Just a little further around the West Lawn for example we come to a Lime tree grove where tall pollard trees create a sense of awe, whilst also framing views both to and from the historic house. Around the low-sweeping branches that brush the ground, lush foliage remains from the Winter Aconites, and in amongst its foliage are some of the most delicate and attractive flowers.
Drooping Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans) is presently flowering, with strappy foliage giving rise to racemes of white flowers at around 40cm, which gracefully call out for attention. The Ornithogalum are naturalised through this area, along with the much smaller Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica). Those at Compton Verney are lighter shades, growing to around 20cm, although still in stunning shades of blue that sing out in the reduced light beneath the trees.
Have I got time to squeeze another one in? Yes go on then I hear you say! Then do look for the blue flowers of Anemone blanda, commonly called Windflower or sometimes the Sapphire anemone. They are gathered at present beneath a lone Lime tree, but clothe the ground in quantity and cry out for closer inspection, although beware – the delicate flower stalks of our Wild Tulips are also waiting in the wings, so be careful not to squash these before they get their chance to shine!
I really should stop there – although this is just the West Lawn I’ve been writing about, and there’s more to discover across the lake in the Ice House Plantation! I’ll be blogging soon to update about the work of the grounds team, but if you can’t work your garden just now because it’s a little too wet, why not visit Compton Verney and enjoy our flowers!
Gary Webb, Head of Landscape & Gardens.