The plant to look out for in the Royal Pavilion gardens in early April is Kerria japonica pleniflora. A tallish shrub with slender arching stems and pretty pleated leaves, it is dotted with golden yellow pompoms, each a double flower. We have three in the gardens, one in the bed behind Max Miller, one looking good against the dark Yew hedge further down outside the Dome, and one looking fabulous against the pink of the almond blossom in the bed opposite the museum entrance (you’ll have to be quick to catch this before the blossom is blown away).
These days it is not considered a particularly glamorous plant but it must have been an exciting addition to the original planting plan as it had only recently been brought back from China by William Kerr (hence the name). Until that point, many plants like Kerria had only been seen on the Chinese wallpaper in the Royal Pavilion.
At this time of year, it adds a welcome splash of vibrant colour in the garden, and matches the yellow of the gorse, works well with the spring colours of daffodils and primroses, and clashes very nicely with the pink of the Mediterranean heather and Bergenias. Its shape and habit work well in the Regency scheme of woodland edge planting.
Volunteer Gardener, Royal Pavilion Gardens