Spring highlights at Logan Botanic Garden

In spring,  a colony of Crocus beneath the Eucalyptus,  typifys the blend of familiar and exotic which is the Garden's hallmark.

Crocus under the Eucalyptus
Vying for attention next are the rhododendrons and magnolias, which have an arresting presence during their flowering period. Many of the rhododendrons grown at Logan are too tender for the majority of gardens and can rarely be seen thriving outdoors anywhere in Britain.

They include the Himalayan Rhododendron maddenii, a variable species with scented white to pink flowers in late spring to early summer and Fragrantissimum, best-known of Maddenia hybrids and also late-flowering. The large bluish-white flowers of the latter are a feature of the shrubbery between the Tree Fern Lawn and the Centre Wall, being so fragrant that the surrounding air is sweetened. 
Magnolia campbellii

Above the magnificent Magnolia campbelli in full bloom normally the last week in March.

The camellias are also a delight at this time of year. As they are easily damaged by frost when flowering, most of the National Collection is held at Logan.

Though flowers come first among the joys of spring, new leaves and growth can be just as thrilling. Ferns never fail to amaze as the fresh green fonds unfurl from tight felted crooks, expanding with supreme grace to reach up to six feet in length. The mighty Gunnera manicata from Brazil holds the record for producing the largest leaves of any plant that can be grown outdoors in Britain. At Logan it excels itself, forming a vast impenetrable colony known as the Gunnera Bog. 

 Rhododendron Border - North Wall Walled Garden

The North facing Rhododendron border featured above is normally in full flower in late April and features a wide variety of early flowering Rhododenrons including Rhododendron johnstonianum and Rhododendron burmanicum.

The Water Garden is worth a visit in spring as it provides a home for skunk cabbages: the western North American Lysichiton americanus with bright yellow spathes and its East Asian counterpart L.camtschatcensis, with smaller and later pure white inflorescences. These are followed by their more elegant relatives, the South African arum lilies with bright green arrowhead leaves and white-spathed inflorescences.

The middle walled garden is at its peak in May with an array of luxurious foliage and dazzling flowers from plants such as Pieris, Rhododendron 'Fragrantissimum' and Candelabra Primulas.

Visible from afar are the Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis grandis) whose brilliant sky blue contrasts vividly with the lemon flower of the smaller Welsh poppy. The first of these fragile flowers open towards the end of May. Flowering earlier is the New Zealand forget-me-not. Varying shades of blue are also provided by the Californian lilacs (Ceanothus).

Splashes of eye-catching red are provided by the flowering currant, Ribes speciosum, which in April and May produces an abundance of flowers in pendulous clusters.

Also worthy of a mention are the wattles or mimosas whose acid yellow flowers herald spring in the Australian bush.

Read more about SummerAutumn and Winter highlights at Logan.  

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