What to look for in February

Rainforest Biome

On cold February days, the rainforest offers a warm and luxuriant refuge from the weather outside. This month the cola tree, Cola acuminata, is in bloom, displaying its beautiful, white, bell-shaped flowers with deep red centres.  The glorybower, Clerodendrum, is also in flower, along with the golden-flowered Solandra maxima. A new collection of bromeliads adorn the Canopy walkway, and for chocolate lovers, cocoa pods are ripening on the lower terraces of the Biome. 

Mediterranean Biome

Spring arrives early in the Mediterranean biome and South Africa is already in bloom. Many bulb species are flowering, including delicate Cyrtanthus and the dramatic Chasmanthe, with bright orange or creamy yellow flowers, adapted for pollination by sunbirds in its native land.

South African shrubs are also blooming, like the water heath, Erica caffra, the blue, pea-flowered Psoralia and the aromatic Agathosma, known as ‘the scent of Africa’. Aloe arborescens is flowering majestically opposite the Pepsi pool, and Teucrium fruticans is blooming in the Mediterranean landscape, along with early bulb species. If you missed them over the holiday period, the dazzling array of chillies still looks great on the Med terrace.

Outdoor gardens

It may feel chilly outside, but even now, signs of spring are all around us. Delicate clusters of hellebores, in soft shades of pink, creamy white and yellow, adorn path edges, while drifts of early spring bulbs decorate beds and borders. The wonderful scent of winter-flowering shrubs, like Daphne, Lonicera and Hammamelis, still lingers in the air as you descend the Zig-zag Steps, and fiery dogwood stems continue to illuminate Eco-engineering and Myth and Folklore.

What to look out for in the coming months

Outdoor Gardens

The labours of autumn and winter begin to bear fruit, and new life springs from the earth and the branches of trees and shrubs. Drifts of fresh spring bulbs and early wildflowers decorate beds and borders, while fragrant magnolias fill the air with their delicious scent. Look out for Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’, and M. ‘Star Wars’. 

Rainforest Biome

From the tropical forests of the Philippines, the stunning jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys, will be working its magic again, followed by Thumbergia mysorens flowering into early summer by the Malaysian home garden.

Mediterranean Biome

The floral landscape of Southwest Australia is an exciting new development here while the familiar vibrant colours of spring are provided by stunning displays of tulips, followed by exotic Persian buttercups, Ranunculus asiaticus. May sees the return of the bird of paradise, Strelitzia reginae and the beautiful Madeira cranesbill, Geranium maderense.

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