Flower numbers up at annual National Trust Valentines Day count

There were 17 per cent more flowers counted by volunteers at this year's National Trust Valentines Flower Count than in 2014.

Bryony Wilde counts Cyclamen at Killerton House, Devon. Image: Steven Haywood for NT
Bryony Wilde counts Cyclamen at Killerton House, Devon. Image: Steven Haywood for NT

Gardens in the South West are usually the furthest advanced in the UK with early spring blooms and, this year, thanks to the mild and calm weather, there are 158 more blooms across the south west than in 2014, an increase of 17 per cent.  

Despite the recent cold snap spring is on the way in many gardens. In Cornwall, Camellias have been in flower since November and there is a good showing of snowdrops and aconites in many gardens.

In Cornwall 545 blooms were counted compared to 554 in 2014. In Devon there were 800 blooms this year compared to 651 in 2014. 

This year 1,345 plants were recorded in 18 gardens in Devon and Cornwall compared to 1,205 in 18 gardens in 2014. 

In 2008 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded, marking the earliest spring so far recorded and 1,622 plants were recorded in gardens across the whole of the South West this year compared 1,454 in 2014.

The highest numbers of flowers recorded in the South West were recorded at Lanhydrock with 146 blooms,

Head gardener at Lanhdydrock Tommy Teagle said: "We’ve had 146 plants in flower this year, over 100 of the plants in bloom are Camellias and the Daphne is smelling superb. 

"Overall there is a plethora of buds on the plants and it promises to be a colourful spring providing the weather is good."

Conversely Glendurgan saw the biggest drop in numbers of blooms from 73 this year compared to 98 in 2014. 

Head gardener at Glendurgan John Lanyon said: "The reason our figures are lower is because the recent cold weather has slowed everything down.  Before the cold snap it was the earliest season I have ever observed.  As usual it is the set of weather patterns that stimulated, then halted growth."

National Trust gardens advisor in the South West Ian Wright said it was almost possible to map the progress of spring as it travels from west to east and south to north by way flowers in trust gardens

"Comparing the number of plants across our gardens on a set day every year gives us a real insight into how our gardens respond to weather patterns, and is a useful ‘barometer’ for the season ahead."

National Trust also ran a vote for the most popular spring flower for the second year. The snowdrop came out on top, followed by the primrose.

National Trust gardens at Cotehele, Stourhead and Killerton were voted the most popular places to see spring blooms.

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