Spring flowers at Polesden Lacey
Despite the frost that glitters on the south lawn here at Polesden Lacey, the days are getting longer and it’s the flowers that herald the arrival of spring in the garden. Read on to discover the best places to catch snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells in our gardens and the wider estate.
These tiny white flowers are hardy, despite their delicate appearance, and they symbolise hope, no doubt due to being the first sign of new life in the midst of winter, reminding us that spring will return.
Snowdrops typically appear in February, though they can often be found as early as January depending on variations in climate and temperature.
You’ll notice snowdrops lining Lime Walk leading from Visitor Reception down to the back of the house and the formal gardens. But perhaps the best place to admire the snowdrops is in the Winter Garden, which you’ll find next to Gardeners Cottage in the formal gardens.
The Winter Garden was designed by Graham Stuart Thomas and boasts a carpet of snowdrops and bright yellow aconites, which grow in the shade of 3 elegant Ironwood trees.
Move over hot cross buns! In our opinion, there’s no more appropriate symbol for spring than the sunny yellow daffodil. Our gardeners work tirelessly in the autumn planting thousands of bulbs and, come spring, their efforts prove worthwhile as the daffodils bloom in swathes of yellow, cream and orange.
Typically blooming between late February and early May, you can catch them in our gardens on Walnut Lawn and Lime Walk, just outside visitor reception. You’ll also see them at the edge of the orchard.
Our gardeners work hard to cultivate these beautiful floral displays, so we'd be very grateful if parents could please discourage any trampling among young (or old) mischief makers.
Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Bluebells are a wildflower and, as such, you’ll have to walk a little further afield to find them. Within the gardens you’ll find them scattered through Preserve Copse. Otherwise, the best way to find them is by following one of the four way-marked walks across our 1400-acre estate.
You’re most likely to find the bluebells in the shadier parts of the ancient woodland. Our rangers recommend the Ranmore Common walk, which is way-marked with blue markers and butterflies on the paths. When you find yourself well into the woodland, why not venture off the beaten track to discover patches of these fairy tale flowers?
For extra guidance, pick up an estate walks booklet from Visitor Reception.
Not many gardens are lucky enough to have dedicated beds for spring interest, but here at Polesden Lacey we have a series of four such borders running down from the holiday cottage at the west end of the formal gardens. Always labelled as the Spring Borders on old plans of the garden, we completely redesigned and replanted them back in autumn 2015. Although designed to be of interest all year round, they really come into their own from February onwards. You’ll find trees like the Manchurian Cherry tree (Prunus mackii), shrubs like Winged Spindle (Euonymus alatus) and Euphorbias, as well as a whole host of herbaceous perennials and bulbs to please the eye before summer takes off.
One of the key areas of the formal gardens at the tail end of spring, the Iris Garden is a fascinating garden room found on the other side of the Herbaceous Border wall. In May the beds here will be a exploding with a selection of historic Iris varieties all blooming en masse to create a carpet of colour. It can be a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ with Iris’ however, as they have a very short window of flowering, so make sure you catch them while you can.