The National Trust is today (Monday 20 March) launching its annual blossom campaign, which aims to bring the beauty of blossom to more people and to celebrate the start of spring.

 However, due to repeated cold snaps particular in recent weeks and the driest February in thirty years, Britons may need to wait a little longer than usual to be able to enjoy nature’s most beautiful displays, as cold temperatures, wind and snow lead to difficult conditions for flowering trees and hedgerows across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 Fortunately, the British public should not have to wait long for nature to give its great show of blossom, as a milder and wetter April should counteract the past dryness and the snow is unlikely to have any effects on the beauty of blossom once the trees are in full flower.

 Andy Jasper, Head of Gardens and Parklands at the National Trust said: “A number of factors can influence the timing of the emergence of blossom, temperature being the principal one.  While we had a mild winter overall, the recent cold snaps have affected how quickly nature progresses, and we can see the effects of this across many of our gardens with blooms delayed.

 “Luckily, snow doesn’t generally affect the blossom in the long run – it’s late frost that can really impact the display of blossom, fruiting and harvests – and the cold snap has happened before the buds have tried to bloom in most cases, so we are still in line for a truly incredible show where the delayed blossom will burst forth in waves across the country like an amazing Mexican floral wave – marking the reassuring moment that spring has arrived.

 “I hope that when temperatures start rising again, the National Trust’s blossom campaign will play a part in encouraging everyone to take ten minutes to step outside and to really stop and look at the new life bustling all around us, as it greatly enriches all of our lives.”

 Despite many blooms being on ‘pause’, gardens in the south-west appear to be bucking the trend, remaining a haven for early blossom.  Cornish gardens in particular have been largely unaffected.

David Bouch, Head Gardener at Cotehele in the Tamar Valley said: “Although many parts of the country have seen a recent snowy cold snap, fortunately due to the slightly protected Tamar valley we’ve managed to escape this at Cotehele. Although the north easterly winds have possibly paused the onset of spring by a few days/weeks, we are already starting to see emerging buds of blossom on our magnolias and blackthorns  in our shelter belts around Mother Orchard and the greater estate.

“There’s nothing like a cold snap for thrusting the magnificent spots of colour that daffodils bring to early spring gardens and this year more than ever they seem to be peeking their heads above the cold and hard ground.  Though no snow has touched the ground at Cotehele so far, drifts of white snowdrops are making way to the thousands of crocus coming into full flower with quick succession of snakeshead fritillaries, daffodils and then eventually bluebells will create a tapestry of colours over the coming weeks

“We expect spring with all its blooms to create a wonderful display, the cold weather is holding back the grass so we expect there to be no competition spoiling an exciting display. Springtime at Cotehele is a season not to be missed and will not disappoint.”

 Will Woodman, Head Gardener for Knightshayes in Devon said: “The Magnolias on Holly's Lawn have started to bloom and are likely to look amazing. We're keeping our fingers crossed for less snow as once things bloom, they can be very sensitive to changes in the temperature, likewise for heavy rain.

 “This follows on from rhododendrons and camelias, which have been out for a while in the most sheltered areas of the garden where they're more protected from poor weather – these are usually the places you find my gardens team hiding when the weather is poorer too. We're hoping for a nice warm Easter now, as with a little more warmth and encouragement, the display should be amazing.”

 James Grainger, Head Gardener at Coleton Fishacre in South Devon said: “The buds in our garden are currently swelling, but I'd expect the peak display to be perhaps a week later than usual this year. A dip in temperatures towards the end of February and beginning of March has slowed the pace of growth somewhat in the garden. February was also an unusually dry month this year, so the reduced availability of water at the start of the growing season may also have an impact on the rate at which the flower buds develop.

“I'd anticipate the blossom peaking around Easter this year, but this is dependent on what weather we experience between now and the start of April.”

 Lauren Hutchinson at Greenway in South Devon said: “The banks are full of bright spring colour, from primroses to daffodils and narcissus. Overhead, the large petals of magnolia trees bloom in shades of pink and white, while in the Peach House the early blossom from the almond trees is in display. Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie's husband has a Magnolia at Greenway which is always magnificently in bloom this time of year, and despite the winds is still going strong. It came out just in time for the opening of the property this year and has lasted a lot longer than previous years.

Aby Davis at Lacock in Wiltshire said: "The blossom in the courtyard is blooming beautifully, with the garden team hopeful for the apricot blossom to prove fruitful this summer. Lots of discussion as to whether jam or crumble is preferable! Meanwhile the apple trees in the orchard are showing early signs of blossom getting ready to appear in the next month or so. We also have magnolia by the Great Hall looking ready to bloom."