In Bloom This Month
Winter has been long and wet, so spring is a little later in arriving this year, but it's definitely making an appearance now. Read on to discover where the best splashes of spring colour are and what plants are at their best during April and May.
The Main Drive
It's a sight that you can't miss at this time of year! Around a third of a mile of grass verges are lined with a riot of daffodils. There are three main varieties: King Alfred, Mount Hood and Pheasant's Eye, planned to produce weeks of beautiful colour throughout spring.
The North Lawn is the ideal spot for striking views of the front of the Hall. The planting here is at its best later in the spring and summer when the azaleas and rhododendrons burst into bloom, but early spring is a great time to look up and spot all the nesting jackdaws and ravens.
Keep an eye out for hellebores in the island beds on the South Lawn, as well as pulmonaria (lungwort) and magnolia, which look wonderful at this time of year. You may also be able to spot the ozmanthus burkwoodii shrub by its strong, sweet scent as well as its array of small white blooms.
This area is mostly known for its history and the mighty Holm Oak but there are some interesting plants to discover, including viburnum tinus, garrya elliptica (the silk tassel bush) and mahonia aquifolium. As you’re heading under the Moat Bridge, look out for red flowers on the Japanese quince.
Explore this magical, hidden oasis in the grounds of Speke Hall. Accessible via a narrow enticing tunnel at one end and a winding path at the other, it can be found just off the North Lawn and is the ideal place for a quiet walk and moment of contemplation. The Secret Garden was newly restored in 2017 thanks to generous donations from the Alan Evans Memorial Trust, Crosby National Trust Association, Oldham and District National Trust Association and the Chester and District National Trust Association.
Pick up the Bund path down at Home Farm, opposite the maze, and enjoy some fantastic views of the Mersey and airport as you stroll. Make sure you turn your eyes towards the Hall as well though: late spring is your last chance to catch a glimpse of the iconic wattle and daub design peeking through the trees before the leaves come back. You might also spot flowers on blackthorn and smell coconut from the gorse bushes.
If you’re taking the Coastal Reserve path then the start of that walk is a good place to spot spring primroses, oxslips and snake’s head fritillaries.
Unfortunately the Kitchen Garden has suffered with the wet winter and we’re a little behind our usual planting schedule – if you’ve got an allotment then you’ll feel our pain! The team are working hard to get everything ready though. If you’re visiting Speke on a Wednesday, pop in and see them for a chat and some tips.