​Discover the gardens at Blickling Estate

The garden at Blickling in springtime

Spring is the season of flowers and the garden and wider estate turn into an abundance of vibrant colour with narcissus, hyacinths and tulips bursting into life. In April and May, Blickling is famous for its beautiful bluebells throughout the Great Wood and tree lined avenues in the garden.

Beautiful bluebells

In the 1930s, thousands of bluebell bulbs were taken from the Great Wood to be planted in Blickling's formal gardens.  You can't miss the carpets of blue under the plane trees in the garden. With a beautiful view of the house and lake too, what a perfect spot for your bluebell pics.

Head up Temple Walk in the gardens and look out for bluebell displays along the tree lined avenues.

Temple Walk

As you walk up to the Temple, your path will be lined with rhododendrons and azaleas in pinks and oranges.

Vibrant colours in the double borders

The double borders lie along the south side of the parterre, with shades ranging from hot to cool. The tulips there are in full bloom, offering a spectrum of colour from black to white and all shades in between.  There's also a pretty display of tulips in the Walled Garden, flaunting splashes of vibrant colour and planting to reflect the national flag of India in celebration of our India theme this year.

Tulips are a colourful sign that spring has arrived
Red tulips growing in springtime

In front of the double borders, spring brings a spectacular display of 2,000 blue jacket hyacinths. When these have finished flowering, they're lifted and stored in our greenhouses until they are re-planted in November.

The empty beds are then ready to receive the summer penstemons. Amongst the varieties we choose are Snow Storm (white), Raven (black), Sour Grapes (purple), King George (red) and Garnet (wine) which mingle together to produce a riot of colour throughout the summer months.

The penstemons sit alongside 44 varieties of annuals in the double borders.  These include Nicotiana, Verbascum, Nasturtiums, Helianthus, Calendula and Antirrhinum, as well as herbs such as Fennel, Sage and Basil.

Discoveries to make in the garden

Secret spaces & places 

Our garden team have created two secret tunnels in the garden for families to enjoy.  Find the animals of Blickling wood inside or enjoy a game of hide and seek.  The larger tunnel has tree stump seats - perfect for a secret picnic.

The secret garden is a place for quiet contemplation or a good read. It is on the east side of the wilderness, surrounded by beech hedges. The trellis seat was probably put there for Lady Suffield by John Adey Repton.

The acre & parade

Take a stroll on the Acre, watch the birds on the lake, play a game of croquet or wander to the picnic tables on the parade where children can have fun with our giant games.

The lime trees and the turkey oak have been 'stopped' to allow them to spread. The branches of the lime trees have rooted and almost look to be individual trees.

Parterre 

Garden Designer Norah Lindsey
Garden Designer Norah Lindsay in 1890

The planting of the parterre was radically simplified by Norah Lindsay for the 11th Marquess of Lothian in 1932. She retained the yew hedge topiary but replaced the intricacies of the Victorian planting with four large herbaceous plots in cool and hot colours, surrounded by beds of old roses and catmint.

You can join Norah Lindsay's tour of the garden to find out more about her work here.

Orangery

The site of the Orangery was chosen in 1781. In 1793 it contained 15 large, 11 young and six dwarf orange trees. Unheated today, it houses hardier citrus trees. The statue of Hercules is probably a Nicholas Stone figure and the majolica plaques, in the style of Luca della Robbia, are 19th-century.

Temple

This building is first mentioned in 1738 but it was probably built some 10 years before. In the frieze the monograms of Sir John Hobart (later 1st Earl of Buckinghamshire) alternate with the Hobart bull. The temple is built in the Doric style and dominates an imposing vista down to the house.

Wilderness

The concept of the 'wilderness' is much more structured than its name implies. It dates from the earliest Jacobean garden.During the 1987 gales many trees were lost overnight. All have now been replaced with new trees planted to fill earlier gaps.

Topiary and yew hedges

The yew hedges line the front drive leading to the house. The annual trimming begins in August with the topiary of the parterre. The great hedges are tackled next. Nowadays, the task is completed in little over a fortnight with mechanical cutters, a cherry picker and constant attention to line and form.