Hi! Firstly I feel I should apologise for the lack of posts! I want to blame it on the winter and the lack of plant activity associated with it, but really I’ve just not got round to writing anything and I know that Plantwoman has been busy writing dissertations and doing vast amounts of coursework (something I most definitely do not miss!)
Considering I was a student at Reading for 4 years and have been staff there now for a fair while, I feel ashamed to say that I have rarely visited the Harris Garden on Reading’s campus, and when I have, its been badly timed (normally the middle of winter). As it was open today as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS), we decided that we would go and enjoy the wonderful weather we’ve been having recently and see what was out in the garden….
Firstly a little bit of background about the Harris Garden… it’s used for teaching and research by the School of Biological Sciences, and as a result the garden has a wide variety of plants, and includes the national collection of Digitalis (Foxgloves). The Friends of the Harris Garden help support the development of the Garden and it’s with their help that the garden is opened as part of the NGS.
Today was the first day it was open to the public this year, and it was well worth a visit….the Cherry Bowl was particularly spectacular with over a dozen varieties of cherry (Prunus) in bloom, as were the areas ‘left’ to go wild which looked beautiful with mixtures of Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), Cowslips (Primula veris) and Snakes Head Fritillarias (Fritillaria meleagris).
Along with the spring flowers, we saw a large number of butterflies, and we were surprised that most of them were not the ‘common’ ones we’re normally used to spotting… there was a lovely little Holly Blue (Polyommatini celastrina) sat on a Horse Chestnut flower (Aesculus hippocastanum), we also saw a number of Orange-tipped butterflies (Anthocharis cardamines) and a beautiful Peacock butterfly(Nymphalini inachis).
We were also able to go into a couple of the glass houses, which bought back lots of good memories for me, and allows people access to an area normally restricted to staff and students…
If you’re in the area and the gardens are open, I would suggest stopping by, as its not too much to get in, and its well worth a visit (plus tea and cakes are available, always important when going round a garden…)
Below are a selection of photos taken by my boyfriend (as he is a far better photographer than me!)