Tag Archives: magnolia

Go and be nice to Phylip at Cottesbrooke

THERE’S a lovely garden at Cottesbrooke, just north of Northampton, which never seems open frequently enough for you to see the stirling efforts of the lovely head gardener Phylip Statner and his team.

However there’s a chance to go and raise some cash for charity when Cottesbrooke opens on Sunday 17th April from 2pm until 5:30pm for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). 

Primroses and daffodils will be on display and they would normally have gone over when the gardens officially open in May.

The real treasure is the Wild Garden, which is full of bulbs and banks of primroses and offers a haven for wildlife in a tranquil setting. There are also more formal gardens and 3,000 tulip bulbs have been planted in the statue walk.  There are also a number of Magnolia trees in bloom and blossoming cherry trees, all doing rather well after the cold cold winter. 

 Gay Webster,  joint county organiser for the NGS said: “The Wild Garden is in a magical setting along the banks of a stream, where the massed primroses cheer the spirit after a long, hard winter.”   

Refreshments will be available and free parking is included in the admission price.  Visit www.cottesbrookehall.co.uk for more info.

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My signs of Spring


For many it’s the snowdrops and the daffodils that kick-start that spring feeling.

For me it’s seeing dull shrubs burst into life.

First it’s the leggy forsythia,(*adopts Brucie voice* “Good show, good show”) so boring and unkempt for most of the year, apart from the soul-lifting yellow splash that suddenly arrives in March.

I don’t like forsythia in my own garden, but I love to se it everyone elses’ front yard to tell me everything is about to get more colourful.

Then it’s the flowering currant, with its bright green textured leaves, just like its edible cousin, and hundreds of dangley clusters of pinky red flowers.

Flowering currant

Now it’s time to be impressed by the magnificent magnolia trees. I have several favourites as I drive across town every morning to drop the kids, and was appalled when a large specimen, probably two decades old, was chopped down in a front garden a couple of years ago.


It possibly blocked some light but would have been leafless for many months and flowers come before the leaves. Shame.
There seem to be lots of new ones being planted though, as small magnolia stellata seem to be everywhere on my school run. Watch it though, because even though they look small now, they will grow to 15 or 20 feet.

Magnolia stellata

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