6 Beautiful Blossoms in Bucks, Berks and Oxon

This top guide to 6 beautiful blossoms and where to see them across Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire is easy to follow and one of the best parts of spring. Take part in:

Blossom Watch – National Trust

23 April 2022

by Emma McNamara, National Trust gardens consultant in London and the South East

A number of our native woodland and hedgerow trees celebrate the arrival of warm weather with blossom. It provides food for pollinating insects and brightens the area with fountains of white, cream and pink flowers with a delicate fragrance.

In Japan ‘Hanami’, or ‘flower viewing’, is all about enjoying the fleeting beauty of blossom trees as they come into bloom. Join in the UK’s very own blossom celebration in the run-up to the National Trust’s #BlossomWatch day on 23 April 2022. On this day we’ll be asking you to share your pictures of beautiful blossom on social media.

To get you started, here are our favourite types of blossoms to look out for throughout spring and where to see them at National Trust places nearby:

Blossom Watch Blossoms to Look Out For

1.Blackthorn – from March

For an early dose of blossom lookout for wild blackthorn in countryside hedgerows. Clouds of pure white flowers provide welcome relief to the stark winter landscape. This type of blossom is identifiable by its black-purple twigs, and its white flowers that appear on short stalks before the leaves, either singularly or in pairs.

Blackthorn plays an important role for wildlife; it’s a vital source of pollen for the Blackthorn Mining Bee which collects pollen mainly from its namesake for its larvae nests. Birds also nest in the dense bracken and butterflies favour the bush later in the year.

As well as being the UK’s earliest blossom, many people use blackthorn’s rich, inky, dark fruits to make sloe gin.

Where to see it:

  • In the mature hedgerows next to the visitor car park at Hughenden (Buckinghamshire)
  • In the parkland at Stowe (Buckinghamshire)
  • Coombe Hill and Pulpit Hill in (Bucks)
  • On the estate at Greys Court (Oxfordshire)
  • Near the entrance to the garden at Basildon Park (Berkshire)

2. Plum – late March to April

Plum blossom is similar to cherry blossom, but if you look closely at the flowers, there’s a slight split in the petal of a cherry, whereas the plum petals are whole. Their blossoms have a really strong, sweet fragrance.

There are many different types of plum, including sweet and cooking varieties; damsons, gages, mirabelles and sloes are a member of the plum family. Plums flower quite early, so you have to protect them from frost if you’re wanting to harvest fruit in the autumn.

Because of its early flowering, plum blossom symbolises vitality, hope and renewal in Japan, born out of the winter cold, it’s a reminder that spring is on its way.

Where to see it:

  • When Nuffield Place (Oxfordshire) reopens on Wednesday 30 March, the purple plum avenue should be starting to blossom. It’s a great way to start the blossom season.
  • In the walled garden at Hughenden
  • In the walled garden car park at Cliveden (Bucks/Berks border)

3. CherryApril to May

Cherry blossom is a term used for many different species of the cherry tree, including the fleeting Japanese ‘Sakura’ and wild cherry blossom more commonly found in hedgerows or woodland edges.

Wild cherry can be recognised by the small baubles of white flowers covering the tree. The bark is reddish-brown marked with horizontal ‘scars’. Bees love its pollen, and song thrush and blackbird will devour the cherries. As with most fruit badgers and mice will quickly eat any fruit falling to the ground.

The blooming Sakura trees synonymous with spring in Japan are most commonly a shade of pale pink. However there are many different species and they can be white, dark pink, or even yellow.

Where to see it:

  • The cherry garden at Greys Court re-opens after redesign and restoration with several new Sakura cherry trees planted to eventually create a cherry tunnel effect.
  • In the garden at Stowe, the most magnificent specimen is by the statue of Queen Caroline
  • In the 18th and 19th century, cherry orchards were cultivated in the Chilterns. There are 30ft specimens in the woods at Hughenden and a small cherry orchard in the garden
  • Particularly noticeable at woodland edges on the Bradenham estate (Bucks)
  • The newly planted Tai Haku cherry should put on a good show in the Water Garden at Cliveden this year, plus the Mount Fuji cherry near the footpath at the entrance to the garden has huge snow-white blossom and is a great low-growing tree for selfies.

 4. Crab apple April to May

Crab apple produces a white blossom with a tinge of pink and is sweetly scented. The gnarled ‘crabbed’ shape of the greyish-brown flecked bark gives it its name.

Crab apple trees are one of nature’s favourites; moth caterpillars eat the leaves, bees love the pollen and blackbirds and thrushes are known to feast on the crab apples themselves.  In addition, badgers, voles, mice and foxes love to eat any fruit that has dropped to the ground.

Crab apple is a historic variety, with lots of uses over the centuries. The apples can be used in cooking, the wood was good for making things and firewood. Bark is a great source for making yellow dye.

Where to see it:

  • Greys Court has a beautiful crab apple tunnel. The crab apple has been trained over hoops and entwined with clematis to create a scented flowery tunnel for visitors to walk through.
  • In the National Trust car park at Smalldean near Saunderton in Bucks
  • In the walled garden car park at Cliveden

5. Applelate April to May

There is a huge variety of apple trees that have slightly different blossoms and fruiting dates. Most apple blossoms have five petals and are pink when the flower first blooms, fading to white as the season progresses.

Apple trees are one of the most popular and widely grown garden fruit trees in the UK. They are generally 2m to 4.5m tall, or up to 9m in the wild. Its oval leaves are slightly woolly above and densely woolly below, whilst bark is typically grey in colour and often has bumps, scales or ridges. The fruits themselves vary from green to red and are much larger than crab apples.

Apple trees make good nesting for birds and some feed on the fallen fruit too.

Where to see it:

  • The orchard, where there are more than 50 old apple varieties, at Hughenden
  • In the Walled Garden car park at Cliveden, there are domestic heritage apple varieties trained in cordon, espaliers and fans to show off the fruit to the best advantage. The Round Garden orchard with its ornamental circular design and fruit trees trained over 7ft high iron hoops is a sight to behold in spring.
  • There are small varieties of apple in the orchard in the walled garden at Greys Court
  • In the orchard at Sandham Memorial Chapel (nr. Newbury)

6. HawthornMay

Hawthorn or May blossom is named after the month in which it blooms. For many, it’s a sign that spring is turning to summer. You will most commonly find it in hedgerows in the countryside. Look for the pale green leaves and pretty pale-pink blossom.

Hawthorn trees can grow up to 15m tall and have brown-grey, knotted bark with thorny twigs. There are also deep red berries, or ‘haws’.

The highly scented flowers grow in flat-topped clusters.

Up to 300 insects can call a hawthorn tree home, including caterpillars of moths. Birds eat the berries and dormice feast on the blossom itself.

Where to see it:

  • Near the entrance to the garden at Basildon Park
  • On the estate at Greys Court
  • In the hedgerows and woodland edges in the Central Chilterns Countryside (Bucks)
  • In the parkland at Stowe
  • On the slopes of Watlington Hill (Bucks/Ox border)

3 Blossom Trees to Plant now from our Gardens Consultant

You can create your very own garden Blossom Watch experience with these beautiful trees.

1.Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ (Fuji cherry tree)

Blossom trees come in all sizes, and whatever sized outdoor space you have, there is a blossom tree that will suit. Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is a very small Fuji cherry tree with zig-zagging branches and masses of flowers – perfect for growing in pots. As winter ends in early March, ‘Kojo-no-mai’ bursts into an abundance of blossom.”

2. Malus baccata var. mandshurica (Manchurian Siberian crab apple)

As the seasons’ pass, the pure white blossom of mid-April makes way for an abundance of cherry-like deep red apples that take centre stage in autumnal and Christmas displays – they last into the new year. Requiring only basic tree husbandry with little or no pruning, this fully hardy tree, native to eastern Asia, is perfect for all garden lovers. Gardners often use them in orchards as a pollinator tree.

3. Pyrus communis (pear cultivars)

In April, white pear blossom clothes these trees and pollinators love them. Plant spring-flowering bulbs and perennials such as Scilla litardierei, Symphytum ibericum, bluebells and tulips underneath them, where they’ll be successful.

For more details about Blossom Watch go to:

Blossom Watch Website: National Trust Blossom Watch

For local National Trust properties:

Website: Spring in Stowe

About the National Trust

The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people: Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley, who saw the importance of the nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. Today, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we continue to look after places so people and nature can thrive.

Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust cares for more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 780 miles of coastline and 500 historic properties, gardens and nature reserves.