Spring in the gardens at Mottistone

Mottistone Gardens may be best known for its beautiful formal borders, but in spring, just as in nature, it’s the wilder areas of the gardens that really come to life. The warmer weather and sheltered location mean that across the gardens, bright and colourful petals unfurl. And with each new month, something different starts to bloom.

Spring favourites 

Taking a stroll through the orchard, under the fruit trees, is like walking through an avenue of pink and white confetti as the apple, cherry and crab apple trees blossom high above. Nestled around the trunks, and lining the path between the fruit trees, white and golden narcissi are opening their trumpets in the spring sunshine. And across the banks 'Little Witch' and jonquil narcissi fill the gardens with delicate colour and fragrance. From late April, at the very top of the gardens, a carpet of bluebells covers the woodland floor in Shearn Place.

Narcissi 'Little Witch' on the banks in Mottistone Gardens
Yellow Narcissi Little Witch on the banks in Mottistone Gardens
Narcissi 'Little Witch' on the banks in Mottistone Gardens

New arrivals

New life is an important feature of spring, so it’s only appropriate that we also have new spring flowers for the gardens. In autumn 2019 our team of gardeners were busy planting around 11,000 new daffodil bulbs. Up through the avenue of trees and under two old horse chestnut trees, ‘St Keverne’, ‘Ice Follies’ and ‘Unsurpassable’ will be bursting forth this spring, whilst the rich yellow trumpets of ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ will be brightening the shady gully, and in the tea garden the delicate yellow and white petals of ‘Cheerfulness’ bring rays of spring sunshine.

" The thousands of bulbs we planted last year will increase the colour throughout the gardens this spring."
- Ed, Gardener

Additionally, the garden team planted around 1,800 bulbs of delicate crocus and Leucojum vernum - a relative of the snowdrop, sharing its nodding white bells (and known as the 'spring snowdrop'). In May and June the elegant star-shaped flowers of Camassia will appear on the banks by the courtyard, accompanied by clusters of Leucojum aestivum ('summer snowdrop'). And if the April showers have been kind, purple-petalled Iris will also flower here, warmed by the May sunshine.

Just by the organic vegetable patch is our plant propagation area. Here our gardeners nurture new plants for the garden, and in spring you’ll see plenty of new growth.

Bright and shady

Even in the shady gully that runs along the edge of the gardens, spring colour is blooming. Follow the path behind the tea garden and you’ll come across vivid pink and white azaleas, and rhododendrons that bloom profusely. Camellias and deep purple hellebores have provided colour in the garden all though the winter, but are still producing their flowers to brighten the gully in spring.

Hellebore in Mottistone Gardens
Purple Hellebore with yellow daffodils in the background on the banks at Mottistone Gardens
Hellebore in Mottistone Gardens

Tranquil places to rest

Hidden around the gardens are quiet places to sit and breath-in the beauty of the natural world around you. If you’re looking to take some time out from it all, then these are some of our favourite places to escape to:

  • Head to the very top of the orchard and you’ll find a wooden bench nestled amongst spring daffodils. From here there’s a sweeping vista back through the avenue of blossoming fruit trees, with the ancient manor forming the backdrop to the gardens.
  • High on the banks by the olive grove is a quiet, sunny spot that lets you catch a warming glow on your face. If you sit on the wooden bench amongst the olive trees, you can listen to the hustle and bustle of the gardens below, knowing you’re pleasantly removed from it all.
  • Follow the winding path through the shrubs and high on the banks above the tea garden you’ll find a seat with a view that stretches all the way to the sea. Sitting here you can listen to spring bird song and the rustle of the newly opened leaves as you drink in the ocean beyond.

Although these are a few of our seasonal highlights, there are many other plants and flowers waiting for you to discover them this spring. And with each new day, another bud bursts open. So every time you visit, there'll be more to see, and you're helping us to plant extra colour for the future.