Spring highlights in the garden

Soak up the sights and sounds of spring with a visit to Acorn Bank’s tranquil gardens.

A carpet of daffodils in the Walled Garden at Acorn Bank

Edwardian daffodils

In April and May the Walled Garden grows a yellow carpet as Acorn Bank’s collection of Edwardian daffodils spring up beneath the fruit trees. The woods are also illuminated with thousands of daffodils in April, mostly planted by our donor, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, in the 1930s with some varieties dating back to 1600s.

Delicate apple blossom blooming in the Walled Garden at Acorn Bank

Apple blossom in the walled garden

The Orchards are awash with blossom and busy bees collecting pollen in May. There are 175 types of apple tree, forming a significant collection of heritage varieties which grow well in the north of England. This is alongside eight pear varieties and some large mature cherry trees, filling the Top Orchard and the Walled Garden with shades of white and pink blossom. We recently planted 'Malus niedswetskyana' – a species of apple which is becoming very rare in its native habitat – look out for its deep pink blossom in May/June?

Snowdrops in the woodlands at Acorn Bank

Wildflowers in the woodlands

As the daffodils fade dozens of other species of wildflowers follow in the woods, such as wild garlic and bluebells. Dorothy Una Ratcliffe enclosed the woods to create a wildflower reserve following advice from Kew Gardens, who also supplied seeds for 30 wildflower species which would thrive in the Cumbrian climate.

The Portuguese Quince tree at the heart of the herb garden at Acorn Bank

Herb garden

The Herb Garden springs into life in May, representing the largest collection of herbs in any National Trust Garden. These plants have uses ranging from medicinal, culinary, dyeing, strewing and folklore and all grow in harmony within this peaceful enclosed garden.

Newt in Sunken Garden pond at Acorn Bank

Newts in the Sunken Garden

All three native species of UK Newt live in the ornamental Lily Pond in the Sunken garden; Smooth, Palmate and Great Crested. They can be spotted from early April but a warm sunny day in May is often the best time to see them near to the surface.