Spring colour at Emmetts Garden

Emmetts Garden is renowned for its marvellous spring colour each year, from the sea of English native bluebells to the 80 species of rhododendron. Around every corner the beautiful blooms are filling the air with sweet scents and blushes of colour.

Special highlights of the spring colour season include…

The Tulip Meadow

Every year our busy team plant 4,000 tulip bulbs in this small meadow. It’s a tricky business growing them when the badgers love to eat the bulbs (particularly the red ones) but each spring the meadow manages to flourish in shades of pink, red and black.

Rhododendrons and azaleas

There’s over 80 species of rhododendron and azalea around the garden – that’s a lot of colour to be found.

As well as the usual suspects we also have some real obscure varieties, such as the orbiculare with its round shaped leaves and bell-shaped blossoms.

One of Head Gardener Matt's particular favourites is the cinnabarinum, a highly unusual rhododendron with long, drooping bell-shaped blossoms that don't conform to what you'd expect this plant to look like. Look out for this special rhody in the south garden.

Bluebell woods at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent

Bluebells at Emmetts Garden

Spotting bluebells is one of the best things about a spring walk and Emmetts Garden doesn't disappoint for this. The woods have even been designated a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) due to the English native bluebells that bloom here. Every year the hillside is smothered with the nations favourite wildflower creating a truly beautiful spectacle.

The Rock Garden

The rock garden truly is a garden for all seasons, but spring has to be when it really shines. Tulip species cover a large area of it, with other smaller blooms creating delightful colour contrasts. The tulip ‘batalinii bright gem’ mixed with lithospermum diffusum looks particularly distinctive.

A particular favourite of Gardener Alan Comb is the pasque flower. It shows off warm purple and pink colours whilst looking very delicate to the touch. Combined with the yellow dog’s tooth violet, it makes a striking show.

Enjoy spring colours in the Rock Garden
The Rock Garden in spring at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent
Enjoy spring colours in the Rock Garden


Avoid the crowds

There's no busier time for us here at Emmetts than the spring colour season. We can't blame you for wanting to visit though when the garden looks this fantastic.

Car park space can get very strained at this time of year, particularly at weekends. For a calmer experience we recommend visiting Monday-Friday, outside of the holidays if you can.

Bring a picnic, beat the queues

Our tea-room is only little, so it can get very busy during the spring colour season. Expect queues if you're visiting during the school holidays or at the weekend.

If it's a sunny day we recommend bringing a picnic along and dining al fresco in our meadow. 

The tulip meadow is full of colour in spring
Tulips in the meadow at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent
The tulip meadow is full of colour in spring

Over 800 hours of preparation

It’s no mean task getting ready for spring at Emmetts and this year our team have planted around 14,000 bulbs across the gardens.

New introductions include a mass swathe of early spring flowers including 2,500 snowdrops, 2,000 wood anemones, 2,000 wood aconites and 3,000 crocuses.

Camas, fritillaries, tulips and ranunculus peonies help make up the rest of the 14,000 bulbs that will greet you this season.

Overall this took three staff and 28 volunteers four weeks (that’s 800 hours) to plant.

The hard work doesn’t stop there though; the team also prepared the bluebell woodland for you by clearing debris, restoring paths and improving steps and access.

Around the gardens hedge lines have been reduced, scrub fence lines cleared and tree copse thinned out to open up light levels and sight lines out from the garden to the surrounding weald.


Explore Emmetts Garden this spring and discover colour
Rhododenrons in bloom at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent
Explore Emmetts Garden this spring and discover colour



Did you know...

4,000 tulip bulbs are planted in the meadow each year

Every visit today will help Emmetts spring to life again next year