The gardens of National Trust property, Kingston Lacy, are buzzing with activity at this time of year. The delicate pink and white Japanese blossom is in full bloom right now, attracting bees and visitors alike.
The Prunus serrulata ‘Tai-haku’ or great white cherry, has an interesting story.
Chris Cooper, National Trust gardener at Kingston Lacy, researched the tree’s history, “It is an ancient and much revered Japanese tree that was well known from historical records and drawings. Eventually it became extinct in Japan. Thought to be lost to the world, this white flowered cherry was miraculously discovered by chance in the 1920s in a Sussex garden. From there it has since been re-introduced to horticulture. The modern day Tai-haku’s, including those now re-introduced to Japan, are descended from this single specimen.”
Restoration began on the Japanese garden at Kingston Lacy over 10 years ago and it has been flourishing ever since. The centrepiece is the Tea Garden, with a traditional tea house. The colours of the garden change dramatically with the seasons, from the pale pinks to lush green in spring and summer and then to burnt orange by the autumn. There are five separate garden areas – Tea Garden, Quarry Garden, Japanese Flowering Cherry Garden, and Evergreen and Acer Glade.
Ellie Byrne, from Kingston Lacy said: “It is my first spring at Kingston Lacy and the blossom is really special. With the support of generous donations from the Gordon Bulmer Charitable Trust the Japanese garden is a unique spot in the grounds. It is a real visual treat to see all the hard work of the gardeners coming to fruition as the flowering cherry garden comes into blossom.
“To view the ‘Tai-haku’ at Kingston Lacy look down from the Quarry garden and also be sure not to miss the display of flowering Prunus ‘Pandora’ in the orchard opposite.
“Spring flowering continues at Kingston Lacy. The bluebells are at their best and can be enjoyed by taking a gentle stroll down the mile stretch on the woodland walk.”
Kingston Lacy is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Details can be found on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy