The beginning of Spring at The Irish National Stud
13th Feb 2017
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Shelly, Ode to the West Wind
To be able to view the intricate structures of a ‘table top’ 100 year old bonsai Larch Larix kaempferi, or the detailed pruning and shaping of equally old Japanese Maples Acer palmatum, you must journey to the Japanese Gardens at this time of the year.
The stark beauty of the different bark colours on the Maples and moss covered rocks is also best appreciated in this early Spring, before the clutter and noise of leaves takes over.
Some winter blossoms however, do interrupt this stark skeletal beauty of bare branches, notably the Witch Hazel Hammemelis mollis and the beautifully scented winter Viburnum Viburnum burkwoodii. Both of these shrubs flower on bare timber and are particularly striking at this time of year.
There are some plants also giving us colour at ground level; winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis, Snowdrops Gallanthus nivalis, and Crocus to name but a few.
They all promise a fast approaching Spring and with the onset of the blossoms on the winter Cherry Prunus subhertilla autumnalis, and the catkins on both the Hazel and Willows, a walk around St. Fiachras garden is a must over the next couple of weeks.