Thanks to the mild winter and April showers, gardeners at the National Trust’s Cragside in Northumberland are predicting the best Rhododendron display in years.
Huge numbers of flower buds are bursting into colour at Cragside in Rothbury, the former home of Lord Armstrong who created his 1000 acre estate to replicate the Rhododendron forests of the Himalayas.
Gardener Neil Cuthbertson says this year’s displays promise to be spectacular:
“The Rhododendron season is one of the best times of year to visit Cragside. The whole estate is awash with pink, purple, white and red Rhododendrons, complimented by the scented yellow and orange Azaleas. You can explore the estate on foot as we have over 40 miles of footpaths, or by car around our 6 mile carriage drive. Either way, this is a great year to visit as we’re expecting the best display in five years. The number of flowers buds ready to bloom is phenomenal.”
Rhododendron flower buds form in autumn and weather conditions over the winter and spring months effect the survival of those buds. During harsh winters, stems will snap under the weight of the heavy snow and a hot dry spring will reduce the longevity of the bloom. The combined mild winter and April showers this year has resulted in masses of flower buds that are predicted to last a good few weeks.
“The Rhododendrons at Cragside are in bloom from mid May to mid June. With over 100 varieties spread out across the rock garden and wider estate, it’s no wonder people come back each year to see Lord Armstrong’s historic estate in all its glory.”
This year the National Trust are continuing their Whit week late night openings for visitors to experience the Rhododendron blooms in the evening light. Justine James, Customer Development Manager at Cragside said:
“We’re open until 9pm on the 6, 7 and 8 June for our local visitors and supporters. Cragside is wonderful in the evening light, particularly when the Rhododendrons are in bloom. We want to give people the chance to pop in after work, or at a quieter time of day, to have a cuppa and something to eat, and then take a walk or drive around the estate.”
Cragside Gardens and Estate are open Tuesdays to Sundays (and Mondays during school holidays) from 10am to 7pm. On the 6, 7 and June the estate will close at 9pm (last admission 8pm). The House is open from 1pm to 5pm.
For more information about Cragside log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside and to keep up to date with the latest goings on follow them on Twitter @NTcragside or like their Facebook page www.facebook.com/cragside