An ode to the unsung heroes of spring: buds

Cornus kousa var. chinensis 'Wisley Queen'

Ask ten people what they like about spring, and half of them will probably mention flowers – lovely bright daffodils, carpets of multicoloured primroses, streets filled with cherry trees… Gardeners wait eagerly for shrubs and trees to emerge from their winter sleep and become covered in tender green leaves.

But before that, there’s a very short, very temporary stage which seems to be so overlooked, even though it is crucial in the development of any plant: buds. So here’s a little photographic ode to the noble bud. All pictures were taken today at Richmond Park‘s Isabella Plantation in London (scroll over the images to see who each bud belongs to…you could even do a little ID game! :))

Of course, some plants were already well into flower, such as magnolias and rhododendrons. The Isabella Plantation is home to the Plant Heritage National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume azaleas (a group of 50 Rhododendron varieties brought back from Japan by famous plant hunter Ernest Wilson in the 1920s, known to be outstanding plants). Well worth a visit if you are in South West London!

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