Extract from the Batsford Arboretum website.
Situated one and a quarter miles west of Moreton-in-Marsh (Gloucestershire – UK), Batsford Arboretum is tucked away on a south facing escarpment of the famous Cotswold Hills.
The collections at Batsford cover a wide range of plants from around the world but have an emphasis on the Far East.
There are over 3050 labelled specimens including about 1600 different trees, shrubs and bamboo.
The arboretum opens in February to an impressive display of spring bulbs. Swathes of snowdrops, daffodils and narcissi carpet the ground. The large range of plants within the arboretum ensures that the spring display carries on right through until the start of June.
Of particular interest are two of the most spectacular collections: the flowering Magnolias, and the Flowering Cherries that begin in late March continuing to blossom well into May. Also of special note are the maples which flower during this time. The native flora of Batsford are appearing in great profusion: primroses, cowslips, oxslips, violets, forget-me-nots and ramsons (wild garlic) and many more wild flowers thrive in our specially managed areas. Late May is signalled by the flowering of the handkerchief trees, so named from the large white bracts that surround the true flowers. The bracts, up to 8” (20 cm) long, provide a most stunning display, which is a high point of the season for all those fascinated by our tree collection.
Springtime brings a cacophony of birdsong which is particularly notable in the arboretum after the arrival of the migrant population.
The sharp colours of Spring eventually give way to the softer hues of summer greens. The turn of the late flowering magnolias has arrived amongst the tall cow parsley. The subtlety of these summer plants compared to their earlier flowering brash cousins is more than made up for by the heady scent that exudes from their waxy petals (or tepals as they are technically known). With the advent of Summer, some of the rarer trees of the arboretum now come into prominence, e.g. Taiwania cryptomeriodes, and the Californian Nutmeg (Torreya californica); the Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and the Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba) as well as many more.
The onset of Autumn at Batsford heralds a riot of colour. From late September the maples provide the richest colours. They range from the deep butter yellow of the Sugar Maple (A. saccharum), through to the orange reds of the Snake Bark Maple (A. capillipes) and the Canadian Maple (A. rubrum). The Japanese Maples are like bonfires alight throughout the arboretum, particularly A. palmatum ‘Osakazuki’, A. japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ and the bronze colour of A. p. ‘Shishigashira’.
Also of great importance is the Sorbus collection with their brightly coloured autumn foliage and berries. They range from the distinctive pure white berries of S. cashmiriana, to the deep pink and red berries of S. hupehensis and S. decora. The flowering cherries are also ending their season with their leaves turning to a blaze of orange, purple, bronze and red. The crimson red foliage of the vine Vitis coignetiae stands in sharp contrast to the deep green foliage of the yew. Everywhere is a breathtaking technicolor; a sight to cheer every heart before the advent of the winter months.
The earliest verifiable recorded history of Batsford Park of which the arboretum forms the central part dates back to the Freeman family who owned the estate in the early part of the 17th Century. We know that a substantial house existed on the site which was altered and extended over a period of some 200 years. The gardens were extensive and originally formal in their layout, evolving into a more relaxed theme in the late 19th century.