Spring highlights at Dawyck Botanic Garden

Spring comes late to Dawyck - its host of daffodils still in bud when in many parts of the country they are fading. Far from being a disadvantage, this is often a bonus for visitors during the Easter holidays, enabling those from other areas to enjoy spring flowers all over again. The daffodils at Dawyck are a sight worth seeing, their lively yellow lining the drive and transforming large areas of grass.

Daffodils at Dawyck

Less conspicuous are the cowslips and other diminutive wild flowers that stud the grassy approaches to the chapel and elsewhere - a reminder that the native ground flora and other wildlife thrive in the relatively undisturbed setting of an arboretum. The daffodils, and later the bluebells, are accompanied by a flurry of cherry blossom from more than a dozen different species. The main collection of cherries is on Chapel Bank.

Crab apples (Malus species) also add to the floral display and particularly eye-catching are two Chinese species M. halliana and M. spectabilis which have deep pink buds, opening to pale pink.

Dawyck's Azalea Terrace is one of the Garden's most colourful features when flowering in May and June. Many of the plants are Ghent, Exbury and Knap Hill hybrids but among them is the summer-flowering R. occidentale from western North America, which produces deliciously scented pink-flushed white flowers in June.

Azalea Walk
Late spring is the best time of year to enjoy the woodland walks and see the new beech leaves as they start to unfurl. From the bursting of the buds to full expansion takes about two weeks during which time they are an almost luminous acid green that draws one's gaze upward to admire their mosaic against the sky.

Variants of the common beech are equally attractive when in new leaf. Dawyck has fine copper beeches on the Chapel Bank and the unusual 'Tricolor' on the bank above the Swiss Bridge. There is a fern-leaved beech (Asplenifolia) too. This can be seen near the entrance, where there is also a rare cut-leaved hazel which has extremely pretty foliage.

Among other trees that stand out in spring are the maples (Acer) with their beautifully coloured leaves, ranging from yellow-green to wine red.

Read more about Summer | Autumn and Winter highlights at Dawyck 

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)