Today the beauty of Batsford lies in its intimacy and informality. At just 56 acres it’s perfect for a couple of hours stroll, taking in the discretely labelled and comprehensive plant collections nestling among the trees. Romantic and restful in the summer, when the towering trees gives shelter from the heat and sun, the arboretum is equally beautiful in the depths of winter when ice transforms it into a magical wonderland. Spring begins with a mass of snowdrops, aconites, daffodils and hellebores as well as the beautiful Davidia (Handkerchief Tree) and the Japanese Cherry blossom. In autumn the large collection of Japanese maples take centre stage, providing a stunning natural fireworks display of colour.
Batsford Arboretum is home to a unique collection of some of the world’s most beautiful and rare trees, shrubs and bamboos. It was started in the late 1800’s by Lord Redesdale – grandfather to the infamous Mitford sisters, who dedicated his life to creating a wild garden, heavily influenced by his time working in the Far East. His passion was shared by the 2nd Lord Dulverton who continued his work after inheriting the estate in 1956. Since his death in 1992, the arboretum has been looked after by a charitable trust, the Batsford Foundation.
As holders of the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries, Batsford Arboretum is a joy to behold right through the year.
From late September to early November, the maples take centre stage, including the sugar maple Acer saccharum with deep gold and orange leaves. The snake bark maple, Acer capillipes and the Japanese maples Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ and ‘Shishigashira’ and Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ are also real show stoppers – as is Cercidiphyllum japonicum – known as the Katsura Tree which provides deep pink colour and a fantastic burnt sugar smell!
Having last visited this place as a horticultural student in the mid 70's, it is considerably bigger and better than I remember.
During my recent visit Magnolias and Cherries were in fine form, and the new foliage of the Japanese Acers bursting forth. A must to revisit in the summer and Autumn and maybe a likely contender in due course with Westonbirt.
There is a wealth of fascinating trees to discover, all in a very lovely and elegant setting.
The new development in the walled garden looks most exciting !
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