Through the seasons

For every season at Branklyn there is something new to see, whether it’s a particular flower coming into bloom or the colour turning on the trees. The appearance (and your experience!) of the garden is all dependant on season, the weather, and the climate.

Through clever and careful planting, the gardening team at Branklyn have worked hard to create longevity of colour, so that even into the colder months there are a variety of plants to discover.


Even before the garden reopens to visitors in early spring, rhododendrons, daffodils, narcissus and hellebores are all coming into flower. Throughout the spring something new blooms every month. Erythroniums are super here mid-April. At the end of April/beginning of May the cassiopes are at their best, and meconopsis (blue poppy) season also starts then and continues well into June. By late spring there are also giant lilies (Cardiocrinum), lady-slipper orchids and primulas.

During late spring, the signature trees in the garden to look out for are the Magnolia wilsonii that Mrs Renton planted, and the Japanese maples as they break into leaf. Both the rock garden plants and alpine plants are also a tremendous feature, and can peak mid-May.


The garden is bursting with lush colour and texture during the summer months, and a highlight are the different varieties of lilies (both species and hybrids) which thrive then. They vary in appearance, from the shell-pink flowers of L. mackliniae to the butter-yellow flowers of L. monadelphum. The large collection of North Lilies (bred by the late Dr Christopher North) bloom in June and into July.

Beginning of summer the Chilean fire bush (Embothrium) with its amazing red flowers,

The herbaceous borders last through the summer, and also feature bright and beautiful colours.


As autumn begins, marking the final season for visitors to the garden, the explosion of colour amongst flowers and foliage provides a fitting conclusion. The Chilean eucryphias are eye-catching with their white camellia-shaped flowers, while several Japanese maples show off their flame reds and purple foliage. A real showstopper is the Katsura or ‘candyfloss’ tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, so nicknamed because of the aroma of burnt caramel the leaves give off as they change colour.

During autumn gentians and cyclamens start to flower. Once the autumn-flowering gentians come into bloom throughout the rock gardens there is a sudden surge of excitement! We now grow several modern hybrids unknown to Mrs Renton, together with a few well-known species. Some of the most popular include, GG. ‘The Caley’ and ‘Balmoral’.


During the winter months the garden is closed to visitors. This gives the team time to work on the garden, affording them the opportunity to go through tidying up, pruning trees, maintaining paths, and much more. You can still enjoy sights of the garden looking wintery though via social media, where the team post pictures.

One weekend in winter when the garden is open to visitors is our annual snowdrop festival! Taking place each February, you can explore the garden to see the full range of snowdrops, of which there are over 200 varieties.

Find out more about the festival