Ha! I bet when you saw the headline you thought this post was going to be about crocuses and daffodils and suchlike, didn’t you? With perhaps a bit of cherry blossom thrown in. Well, you were wrong. It’s about some spring flowers that are in bloom now that we don’t think about nearly so much as the obvious harbingers of spring.
First up is viburnum, with beautiful masses of pink flowers that are easy to mistake for cherry blossom until you look closely and see the flowers are differently shaped, more bell-like and clustered closer together. Another giveaway is the wonderful scent. I photographed these viburnum in Drury Lane Gardens.
Further down towards the river, in Victoria Embankment Gardens, there is a wonderful Mimosa tree laden with bright yellow puffs of flowers.
Mimosa normally thrive under the warm Italian sun, so the success of this tree is a tribute to the warmth of central London. You can find the tree just near the end of Savoy Street.
But the real glory of the Embankment Gardens at this time of year is the camellias. They have a whole range of them, from elegant white to deep red.
Actually, this is the tail end of the camellia season as they flower from autumn right through the winter. A peculiarity is that they don’t drop their petals, the whole flower falls intact and covers the ground beneath the plant.
Camellia originate in Japan. The first recorded camellia in this country was grown at Thorndon Hall in Essex in the 1730s, and in 1792 the popular varieties Camellia Japonica ‘Alba Plena’ and ‘Variegata’, were first brought to England on an East India Company ship.
Camellia are often grown in conservatories, but they do perfectly well in the open too.
And let’s not forget the humble primula.
Soon the magnificent magnolias outside St Mary le Strand will be in flower too. And then, of course, the cherry blossom!