Slow down and take a closer look

After working for some years in parks and gardens, it became apparent that visitors come for various reasons

Some visitors seem to be ‘doing’ the garden as our trans-Atlantic cousins ‘do’ Europe; right, been round there, on to the next. Others appear to be weighed down by affairs of state or domestic meltdown, as they go by, deep in conversation, leaving a passing tantalising snippet; “of course he would do that, he’s just that kind of man” or more worryingly “She ignored everyone’s, advice”, leaving the unnoticed listener in the dark as they stride out of earshot.

So on a serious note this shows the importance of 'green lungs' in urban settings, somewhere for anxieties to be sorted out and jangling nerves soothed. Less seriously, this is a plea to slow down and appreciate the artistry that’s being overlooked; here are some examples from this week’s meanderings:

Young growth on some conifers in the Bicentenary Arboretum

[Click photos to enlarge]

Abies veitchiiAbies veitchii; described in Hillier’s ‘Manual of Trees and Shrubs’  as a beautiful large fast growing tree – better in urban areas than most others.

Pinus densifloraPinus densiflora; Japanese Red Pine
Counterpart of our Scots Pine

Abies spectabilisAbies spectabilis; Himalayan Fir
Magnificent tree that’s susceptible to spring frosts

And the broadleaves aren't bad either...

Malus floribundaMalus floribunda AGM; Japanese Crab
OK, visitors are not going to miss seeing this, but what about a closer look at the flower clusters?

Quercus marilandicaQuercus marilandica, the black jack oak, has lovely red young foliage.

Rhododendron decorumRhododendron decorum AGM; Great white rhododendron; its flowers have subtle pinkish-white shades, but stoop down and smell!

Some of these might take a bit of finding - but by then all your anxieties will be forgotten.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.