Pat Holt is treated to trilliums and more in a unique Hampshire garden:

TRILLIUMS are just one of the treats in store at this time of year at Spinners, a beautiful woodland garden near Brockenhurst.

As their name suggests, trillums are constructed in threes: the striking, three-petalled flowers have three sepals, and each bloom grows within a neat whorl of three leaves - an unusual sight in the plant world.

Many people think of them as rare and "difficult" plants. Indeed, we have no native European trilliums. These plants originate from Asia and North America.

But in one Hampshire garden, they take pride of place.

At Spinners, you can see them flourishing in a wide range of colours and sizes, for this is home to a national collection of trilliums, with over 50 named forms.

"Most of them make good garden plants," said Spinners plant expert Kevin Hughes.

"They are very rewarding because the flowers last for such a long time. Most last for a month and some for up to two months."

One of these long-lasting varieties is Trillium chloropetalum, and owner Peter Chappell is particularly proud of the giant-sized Trillium chloropetalum 'Spinners', a form with huge, red-wine-coloured flowers, which appeared as a self-sown seedling in the gardens.

There are also many white and pink-flowered varieties, some quite large,

others very small and dainty.

Also at Spinners are many other

unusual shrubs and plants, all growing in an informal woodland setting.

Growing underneath the trees are masses of cyclamen, fritillaries, anemones, hellebores and bergenias, plus some very pretty pulmonarias, in a good range of colours. Erythroniums are

another spring speciality.

There is also a lawned area, with a backdrop of flowering magnolias and extensive beds of herbaceous plants.

Mediterranean plants have been grouped together in one of the dry areas, whereas the damp corners of the garden are used for the interesting collection of bog plants.

Visitors often notice that Spinners is a particularly peaceful garden and is

sheltered from the wind by the many tall trees.

It almost appears to be a natural clearing in the forest, although looks can be deceptive.

"It has been planned to look 'unplanned'," said Peter. "We like the wild look and we want the garden to look as natural as possible.

"At the same time, the planting has been very carefully thought out.

"We also aim to offer for sale a wide range of unusual plants.

"We don't sell bedding plants, or any of the more common shrubs, alpines or herbaceous plants. But we do have, for example, 72 different kinds of magnolia, lots of unusual rhododendrons and

masses of interesting herbaceous plants, ferns and woodland flowers."

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