Spring, loaded with colour

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We feel the year has started when the bulbs take centre stage everywhere and the woodland garden really comes into its own around the time the clocks change in March. The Parterre looks at its best in April and our iconic Judas tree is a stunning sight in May. As soon as we’ve been able to cut the grass in April you can come along and try your hand at croquet.

Woodland wonders
On a warm day you can enjoy the scent of mahonia in the woodland garden as you stroll through. We've worked with Crug Farm Plants to introduce many rare and unusual varieties into this area, so that our visitors can experience the sense of surprise that Mary Elizabeth's Victorian guests would have enjoyed.

Coming into flower now are erythroniums, also known as dog's-tooth violets (despite looking nothing like traditional violets) with their nodding heads - like pixie hats or fairy skirts perhaps, if you’re with children.

We’ve planted lots of Uvularia grandiflora, which you’ll spot with its drooping yellow bell flowers. Look out too for the fluffy flower heads of Fothergilla major, an attractive shrub which gives fantastic autumn foliage colour.

Take a closer look

The magnificent wisteria on the front of the house looks at its best in late spring - we prune only once a year when we have a cherry-picker here to cut the hedges. Walk through the blue gates on your right - along the north wall of the house beside the croquet lawn there are pretty blue brunnera with its forget-me-not-like flowers - ideal for a shady spot like this and it doesn’t self-seed invasively.

Colour and scents for your senses
There’s scent from hyacinths in pots in the Orangery restaurant and fragrant wallflowers in the Parterre among hundreds of glorious tulips.

At the end of spring all that new foliage bursts into life and the butter-yellow flowers of the tree peony and the alliums are at their best along the Long Border.

The Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum) by the croquet lawn looks magnificent in full flower before its foliage appears, and really heralds the start of summer.

What’s happening in the garden
We've undertaken a new project to double the width of the croquet lawn borders and replant with a soft colour palette of cottage garden favourites. We've also completely revamped the Tea Garden borders with lots of colourful annuals ready to be planted when the soil warms up a little.

Keeping us busy at the start of spring is potting up thousands of newly-delivered bedding plants in the greenhouse, ready for hardening off. Just a few weeks later we'll be ready to replant the parterre with our new summer scheme. With hard work and organisation we can complete all this in just three days.