Glorious Azaleas

May and June are wonderful months in the Gardens and the azaleas are glorious again this year. Some of them are fully open now and others are still tightly in bud, which means that there will be flowers for several weeks to come. The perfume of the flowers is part of their attraction, very sweet and heady. The rhododendrons are also coming into flower all around the gardens. The flowers vary  from tiny blossoms to huge dinner plate size clusters, in varying shades from white, yellow, pink, purple and red. Some of them are spotted like foxgloves, and some plain; some grow on low bushes and some on huge trees. If you have a look at the bushes with large leaves, the backs of the leaves feel almost furry and can be a rusty or brown colour.

The Victorian Flower Garden is still looking stunning. The tulips, both dark purple and orange, stand straight up like soldiers above the yellow polyanthus, and the roses on one side are growing well after being transplanted from the Union Jack Garden.

As a complete contrast, the Fernery and Stumpery shows cool shades of green, with the tree ferns springing into life with the warmer weather. The ferns are unrolling their stems from tight little springs to long elegant fronds; some people think that they look almost like sea horses as they uncurl.

Look out for the last of the camellias and magnolias, there are still one or two in flower but they won’t last much longer. By the side of Lady Lucy’s Walk, there is a yellow tree peony in flower. Yes, they do look like peonies, a cup shaped flower with lots of stamens. They have a very delicate perfume, hard to decide exactly what it does smell like. To me, it resembles the scent of China tea!