Friday February 28 2020

February, with the seemingly never-ending stream of storms rolling through, has been a grey and dreary month. Foruntuately, the gardens here at The Red House are always a source of vibrancy and colour. Garden Manager Penny chose the bright and beautiful Prunus mume ‘Beni-Chidori’, otherwise known as the Japanese apricot, for our February Plant of the Month.

Native to Western China and Japan, this small tree is one of the earliest ornamental cherry trees to flower, producing masses of striking carmine-pink, fragrant almond scented blossoms. When they emerge in spring and summer, the leaves are pale green which transform with colourful apricot pink tints in autumn.

You can find no less than three of these lovely trees in the garden, planted opposite the Geoffrey Clarke Sirens sculpture in front of the Archive building. We’ve been grateful to these trees providing a lovely accent of colour to recent cold February days.

Pollinators have already been drawn to the rich shade of pink. The unseasonably mild start of the year seems to have encouraged bumblebees to stir early, and these trees have been a veritable hive of activity over the past month.

The Genus prunus is extensive, there are more than 200 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs several of which we have here in the garden. Alongside several Japanese cherries, there is a beautiful Prunus dulcis, the almond tree amongst other fruit trees situated next to the kitchen garden.

Blossoms of the Prunus dulcis

This tree is also currently in flower, showcasing pale pink flowers with prominent red stamens which look stunning against a blue sky. A few species display ornamental bark Prunus serrulus has a beautiful mahogany stem, this specimen is situated behind the Archive building adjacent to Linden Close.