Forget the daffodils. The high-point of spring is the dancing buds and dazzle of early flowers on trees. Warm March and the wettest week of April that I can remember has brought out that flush of new leaf colour with pleated leaves unfolding and flowers bursting out in remarkable colour.
I visited a garden in Essex under metallic skies. Driving down lanes through rape fields to get there, the searing yellow against the grey was an eye-full. Parked up, a deluge of a storm ripped itself open. The fury of Stravinsky was upon the place. Against that sky the sculptures of Ben Coode-Adams, dotted here and there, were just the right foil for the rush of the buds.
The trees - not just any old garden this but a
connoisseur museum' s worth of scarcity and rare value. Snapped so much with the camera that I dropped it, scribbled furiously the plant names but the hurrying of the season got to me as did the driving rain. The fever of spring was catching. The magnolia - I think it might be Magnolia Susan - has peeled itself of its furry rind on the flowers. The willow catkins looked frozen for a moment in their jitterbugging. And snapped just before heaving out improbably hefty leaves, the japanese form of the horse chestnut.
Like a good museum, the displays were pretty comprehensively labelled and so I can tell you that this is Aesculus turbinata
. I love the fact that this genus was named for the Roman for edible acorn.