Spring plants and flowers in the Midlands
Spring is the season when woodlands look at their best as a succession of flowers cover the woodland floor with colour, many flowering before the trees come into full leaf. The woodlands and orchards in our care are home to large numbers of native wild plants and flowers.
Snowdrops have been and gone and our delicate native wild daffodils will have finished flowering by early April (try the Fishpool Valley at Croft Castle and Parkland for a good display), when bluebells will be hitting their stride to provide perhaps the greatest flowering show of all and one at which Britain excels more than anywhere else.
Many National Trust woods –from small ones such as Blackwell’s Wood at Upton House to the miles long escarpment of Wenlock Edge- have fine displays of bluebells, but one of the best is on the open, bracken-covered slopes of the Clent Hills, where the bluebells flower before the bracken grows up above them like a proxy woodland canopy.
The woodland flowers aren’t only on the floor – April sees the white blossom of wild cherry trees standing out in the landscape and by mid-May trees are in leaf, the fresh growth providing a vibrant mix of shades of green. Now is the time to pick out the striking pale green leaves of native lime trees, in ancient woods and hedgerows, before the more monotone green of high summer takes effect.
Meanwhile, the fruit trees of traditional orchards –there are many examples at National Trust sites, nowhere more so than at the Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire- are providing a succession of blossom, starting with plums and damsons through cherries to apples and pears, all providing valuable sources of nectar for the insects which most rely on for pollination.