Spring tulips at Emmetts Garden

Striking black, pink and red tulips in flower

As spring begins to flourish and the flowers return at Emmetts Garden, the tulip meadow is not one to be missed as it bursts into life and colour.

Tulip meadow

As you head out around the Rose Garden and up past the Wildflower Meadow, 6,000 - 7,000 tulip bulbs are waiting for you this spring at Emmetts Garden, sitting out underneath the cherry blossoms.

Planted at approximately 70 bulbs per square metre, the dense colour packs a punch of seasonal delight as the colours mix together. Tulipa ‘Pink Diamond’, tulipa ‘Kingsblood’ and tulipa ‘Queen of the night’ – pink, red and black respectively – all form together to create the dazzling spring colour spectacle of tulips in full bloom.

When

Predicting when they will flower is always a tricky question but we expect to see them out at the beginning of May. As always this is dependent on the weather, otherwise they may be a bit later.

All of these varieties will only flower once every year before new bulbs need to be planted over the following winter, ensuring each display is a truly unique experience. They all also have a fairly short display, looking their best for only three weeks before they’re over for another year – so it truly is a case of catch them while you can!

Fritillaria in bloom at Emmetts Garden, a National Trust property in Kent

Spring Colour at Emmetts Garden

From English bluebells to tulips, there is so much to see so why not join us for some seasonal highlights. Find out about what you can see here.

Caring for tulips

During the winter months when the ground is soft, our garden teams plant somewhere in the region of 6,000 – 7,000 bulbs, all naturalised underneath the cherry groves. No additional fertiliser or feed is required for the tulips, they just need a good depth for planting - the rule of thumb being to plant them at a depth of around 3 times the height of the bulb.

It can also be a tricky business growing the tulips as our local badgers love to eat the bulbs (particularly the red ones)!

Last year in November 2019, you may have joined us out in the meadow to help plant some of the many thousands of spring bulbs as part of a visiteering event we ran. Keep an eye on our website for any similar events that may run in winter this year for your chance to take part in helping spring bloom.

Cherry blossom and tulips at Emmetts Garden
A view across the gardens at Emmetts Garden with multi colour tulips covering the ground and pink cherry blossom on the trees
Cherry blossom and tulips at Emmetts Garden

The tradition of tulips at Emmetts

The tulips sit out under the prunus fugenzo, a cherry tree native to Japan that are worked into the shape of lollipops, which are dotted all around to blend and merge with each other.

The tradition of planting the tulips underneath the blossom goes all the way back to at least 1910 and the Lubbock family. Thanks to a discovery of stereoscopic glass slides dating back to this era, we were able to determine that having both the tulips and the blossom flowering at the same time had always been the Lubbock’s intention and is a tradition we are proud to continue for Emmetts Garden. 

From the slides, we were able to determine both the location of the tulip meadow – which is where you will see it today – and the pink, red and black colour scheme as well. The space gives wide-sweeping views out over the Wildflower Meadow and onwards across the Kent countryside, allowing for a full immersion in nature.

Wild cherry blossom

Emmetts Garden in blossom

The wonderful lollipop-shaped cherry trees stand tall over the tulip meadows at Emmetts Garden every spring, filling the air and ground with the sweet sights and smells of blossom.