Spring in the garden at Bateman's

Field of scilla and a tree in the middle

If you've visited Bateman's before, then you might be planning to visit again this Spring as you know what the garden has in store. If you haven't been here before, then be prepared for the explosion of colour that awaits you.

Springtime in the garden

The garden at Bateman's has well and truly come to life. The birds are singing and getting ready for nesting, the frogs and toads are on the move to their favourite ponds, and a succession of spring flowers are bursting forth to delight the senses from our earliest snowdrops and Narcissi to our flowering trees and shrubs.

Orchard and vegetable garden

As you enter the garden, a sweeping view across the orchard, with its recently pruned apple and pear trees, provides an architectural framework with the promise of blossom in late April and May as the fruit buds swell.

Our vegetable garden, a remnant of the World War Two 'Dig for Victory' campaign, lies ready to receive the earliest sowings of our vegetables which we grow for our tea room so that you can have the freshest and most local produce possible. Our greenhouse is already bulging with seedlings; the earliest will be planted in April under cloches.

Spring at Bateman's
A view of the lily pond at Bateman's in East Sussex with blossoming trees behind.
Spring at Bateman's

"A beautiful cup in a saucer to match"

This is how Kipling described his house and garden. At this time of year you can get a real feel for the structure of Rudyard Kipling's garden; the soft sandstone house sits beautifully within the garden and the valley beyond, ever present and providing a backdrop to the garden he created for his children to play in and his family and friends to enjoy, just as we want you to enjoy it today.

There's nothing too ostentatious here, and that's how Kipling wanted it, the layout of the paths and formal hedges surrounding and dividing the garden lead you gently past flowering shrubs and trees such as Chaenomeles speciosa and Magnolia x vietchii and the spring borders which lead you towards the wild garden with the River Dudwell running through it.

In the springtime the borders are a riot of colour with Pulmonaria rubra, Brunnera macrophylla, primroses and hellebores mingling with the bright blue flowers of Scilla siberica and the most unusual green and black flower of the Widow Iris, Hermodactyllus tuberosus.

You can also admire the skeletal form of our pleached lime hedges before the leaves start growing. But it's beyond this, in the wild garden that you will be truly captivated.

Chaenomeles x speciosa
A beautiful bright red chaenomeles x speciosa in flower at Bateman's National Trust in East Sussex
Chaenomeles x speciosa

The wild garden

One after another the colours of our spring bulbs unfold until they appear to be tumbling over themselves in their eagerness to open and dazzle; white snowdrops, yellow narcissi, blue scilla, checkerboard fritillaries, bluebells and wood anemones, like white jewels carpeting the ground under flowering cherries and the white peaks of Snowy Mespilus.

From March until the end of May a non-stop riot of colour greets your eyes but the smells of spring in our garden are an unexpected bonus; from the subtle fragrance of masses of Narcissi, to the heady scent of the azaleas and the intoxicating perfume produced by the Balsam Poplar as its leaves unfurl.

Spring flowers
Pretty blue spring flowers in the wildflower meadow at Bateman's in East Sussex
Spring flowers

Home-grown to take-away

To complement your garden displays, you can now take a piece of Bateman's home with you as we have produced a selection of bulbs and plants from our own garden for you to buy at the Oast house shop. Our friendly garden staff and dedicated team of volunteers are always happy to chat and explain what they're doing or what gems are worth seeing.

We hope to see you soon.