Hampton Court Palace has just started their annual Tulip Festival, which is the UK’s biggest display of planted tulips! It happens between 14th April until 1st May. It is an excellent chance to not only visit the regal Palace gardens but to also see the incredibly impressive display of tulips that the gardeners spend weeks planting up in the autumn. With over 110,000 tulips to emerge around the palace, it’s a joyous celebration of spring. Tulips were introduced to England in the 1630s when ‘tulipmania’ swept through the gardens of wealthy Europeans. Prices of Tulips jumped and some paid as much as the equivalent for a house at the time for the most prized bulbs. Present day excitement for Tulips hasn’t faded though, and these plants are a cheerful reminder that spring really is upon us.
More information about the Hampton Court Palace Tulip Fesitival can be found here.
Sissinghurst Castle in Kent also has a spectacular display of spring flowering bulbs and perennials that celebrate the change of season. The Orchard, in particular, has a beautiful combination of Daffodils as well as the later flowering crab-apple trees where 1,100 trees present a canopy of blossom during spring. The Lime Walk at Sissinghurst is another highlight. Originally designed by Harold Nicholson (who created the gardens with his wife Vita Sackville-West) this beautiful pathway really looks its best in March, April and May. You’ll find yourself enveloped in an avenue of Lime trees which are underplanted with bulbs like Daffodils and Fritillaries. If you’re looking for even more Tulips at Sissinghurst, then the Purple Border has a spectacular array of Tulips in the spring too.
More information about visiting Sissinghurst in Kent can be found here.
Finally, we return to our previous Garden of the Month, RHS Wisley as it is another one of the many gardens that signals spring and, like the above two, is easily accessibly from London by car or public transport with a bit of planning. The Conifer Lawn, in particular, which shows the earliest signs of spring colour displays a carpet of white, lilac and purple crocuses. The Cottage garden also houses an avenue showcasing the shell-pink blossoms of Prunus pendula trees which are swiftly followed by Allium and Syringa bulbs.
More information about Wisley and their tulip celebration can be found here.