Give yourself 5 minutes of pure pleasure and swing through the Royal Pavilion Gardens. The spring / early summer garden is looking marvellous this year, about a month ahead of itself due to recent hot, sunny weather.
The tapestry of the many shades of green, the seemingly ‘accidental’ contrasts of structure, form and leaf shape, highlighted by patches of luminous yellows – much as we see in our Downland countryside – are both tranquil and pleasing. Plants are arranged in a supposedly ‘haphazard’ fashion in order to appear more natural, and importantly, more attractive to the many garden birds and are punctuated by clumps of gorse (Ulex europaeus) spilling over like pools of sunlight.
Pause downwind for a moment, especially if the sun is shining, to catch a whiff of the rich, coconut perfume and listen to the humming of the bees.
Gorse, also known as Furze, is native to much of Western Europe. It is a thorny evergreen which flowers throughout the winter but most strongly in the spring when a carpet of yellow blossom covers each bush. There are two forms, the common single flowered gorse and the double flowered form – Ulex europaus ‘Flore Plena’. Both can be seen in many locations throughout the Royal Pavilion Gardens.
The photographs are of the double flowers. Gorse brings to the Gardens that touch of natural influence so admired by gardeners in Regency times.
Finally, a tip for gardeners: when pruning your gorse into shape, save the clippings to strew around your choice new plants. The spiny prickles are a strong deterrent for slugs and snails with their supersoft bodies.
Veronica, Volunteer Gardener, Royal Pavilion Gardens