The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: Spring steals in…

It may be barely mid-February, but such has been our winter (or lack thereof) so far that Spring was already well under way in the Beth Chatto Gardens today. After a frosty start, a day of glorious sunshine warmed the world up and brought out the insects – bumblebees, Honeybees and hoverflies – adding to last week’s tally in similar weather of Peacock and Brimstone butterflies and even a day-flying Pipistrelle Bat! Today’s star attractors were the already fading flowers of Winter Aconite.

But there were plenty of other flowers coming out as well, each adding to Nature’s restaurant, which will keep rolling on through the seasons…

What connects all of the above? The fact that they are not native to Britain, examples of the way that any gardener can ‘improve upon Nature’ by adding nectar and pollen to the menu outside the peak season. But there are a few native plants as well, from planted Spurge-laurel to the guerrilla nectar providers like Red Dead-nettle springing up in more neglected corners.

But it is not all about the flowers! A garden like this benefits from the fruits and tussocks of seasons past, somewhere safe for the insect army of garden helpers to sleep through the winter. If only more gardeners¬† were able to let go of the sterile idyll of overtidiness …

And then of course the new-sprung leaves, rich in colour and intensified by the low February sunlight …

Such tranquil delights on our doorstep, and the great news is that the gardens awaken from their winter slumber next week and reopen to visitors. Give it a go: let Spring into your life! More details from Entrance – Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens