The annual Valentine's Day Flower Count results are in

Garden teams have been busy counting flowers in gardens across the South West all in time for Valentine’s Day. In these time of uncertainty, the one thing we can be sure of is that spring is just around the corner and winter is on its (brrrrrrr)exit. But there’s some confusion in the flower world; has the cold snap passed? Is it safe to pop up their heads and look for a brighter future? Or should they hang on for a better moment?

Is spring on the horizon?

The swingometer is definitely pointing to spring nearly being here and at a similar time to last year, with just 2% more blooms than in 2018. So it’s safe to say not only is spring around the corner but we are all in for brighter and more colourful times ahead in our gardens, at least.

2,352 plants are blooming in this year’s fourteenth annual Valentine’s Flower count, up on last year’s figure of 2,287. For the fourth year running, Saltram had the highest number of flowers recorded, with 210 plants in bloom. Trelissick in Cornwall saw the biggest leap with 91% more flowers in bloom than last year.

" Given the unpredictable weather in recent years it isn’t always easy to predict when spring will arrive. At Killerton we have much in flower already, including huge swathes of crocus on sunny days, but probably no more or less than usual. "
- Karl Emeleus

What better place to be than in a garden?

The National Garden Scheme recently released new research which revealed that 85% of people believe visiting a garden is good for their soul. Our gardeners couldn't agree more; some of the benefits they feel include the calmness of spending time in the garden, as well as being close to nature and appreciating the changing seasons. 

" As a cure for those winter blues I’d like to prescribe to everyone a visit to a garden. Personally I find there is no better uplift for my spirits than visiting one of the many gardens our teams care for. Our gardens can be a healthy distraction from modern life and now’s a great time to visit with spring predicted to be just around the corner… so put you phone away and immerse yourself in some spring cheer!"

Flower Count facts

Gardeners at 29 places took part in the annual Valentine’s Day Flower Count, which is in its fourteenth year.  

South West gardens in the flower count

Cornwall: Antony, Cotehele, Glendurgan, Godolphin, Lanhydrock, St Michael's Mount, Trerice, Trengwainton and Trelissick. 
Devon: Arlington, Buckland Abbey, Castle Drogo, Coleton Fishacre, Compton Castle, Greenway, Killerton, Knightshayes, Overbeck's and Saltram.
Gloucestershire: Dyrham, Hidcote, Snowshill and Westbury Court Garden. 
Somerset: Lytes Cary Manor, Barrington Court, Dunster Castle, Montacute House, Prior Park and Tyntesfield. 
Wiltshire: Avebury.
Dorset: Kingston Lacy.

" Comparing the number of plants across our gardens on a set day every year gives us a real insight into how our gardens respond to weather patterns, and is a useful ‘barometer’ for the season ahead"
- Ian Wright

Results from the flower survey

People across the South West took part in the Flower Count survey on social media, voting for their favourite spring flowers and places to see them. The daffodil has been voted the most loved spring flower for the second year running. Previously the snowdrop was the top choice for four years running. 72% of people who took part in the survey have snowdrops and 66% have daffodils already in bloom in their gardens. 

Snowdrops in flower at Kingston Lacy
Snowdrops in flower at Kingston Lacy
Snowdrops in flower at Kingston Lacy

Most popular spring flower in the South West

1. Daffodil 

2. Snowdrop

3. Tulip

4. Primrose

5. Camellia

Spring flowers in bloom in our supporters’ gardens at the moment

(last year’s figs in brackets)

Snowdrop 71% (79%)

Daffodil 66% (52%)

Primrose 33% (64%)

Cyclamen 30% (32%)

Tulip 11%

Camellia 9% (23%)

Rhododendron 5% (3%)

Magnolia 3% (1%)

Top 10 gardens in the South West to see spring flowers as voted by supporters on social media

1. Kingston Lacy

2. Stourhead

3. Cotehele

4. Hidcote Manor Garden

5. Brownsea 

6. Buckland Abbey

7. Coleton Fishacre

8. Glendurgan Garden

9. Greenway

10. Lanhydrock