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Breathtaking blossom on show at Batsford

Where: Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton-in-Marsh

When: Open daily 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sundays and bank holidays

If you thought arboretums were only for autumn, think again. It's in the spring that the tree collection at Batsford Arboretum really comes into its own - and this year is no exception.

After a relatively mild winter and a warm start to the spring this year, the north Cotswolds' attraction is already experiencing a spectacular display of colour thanks to its magnolia and early flowering cherry collections.

From mid-April, Batsford's blossom display will really reach its peak when star of the show - its Japanese flowering cherry collection - comes into full bloom. Batsford holds the National Collection of Prunus (Sato-Zakura group) cherries, known as Japanese village cherries, with over 120 trees in clusters around the 56 acre arboretum.

The collection was established at Batsford in the 1950s by the then owner, the 2nd Lord Dulverton, and added to over the years. There are also a number of incisa cherries - a mountain variety of Japanese cherry - offering even more colour.

Both Japanese village and incisa cherries are available to buy from the Plant Centre at Batsford which means visitors can take a piece of the arboretum home with them.

Batsford's head gardener Matthew Hall said: "The early warm weather in February and the mild weather throughout March has contributed to the perfect flowering conditions we are currently witnessing.

"On a sunny day with a clear sky, the blossom is breathtaking; each day brings different shades of white and pink. Now is the time to witness spring at its best!"

Batsford is open daily and is just a mile from Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire. More information, including updates on the cherry blossom, is available from Batsford Arboretum's website.

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