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.
Explore the garden
Snowdrops and winter aconites
In January and February snowdrops valiantly emerge from the frosty ground. At Polesden Lacey an early show of snowdrops meanders down both sides of Lime Walk. The Winter Garden is also great spot to find snowdrops and winter aconites during the winter months.
One of the highlights of the year is the amazing display along New Lime Walk, where there are over 15,000 ‘Split Corona Mix’ daffodils lining both sides of the path. We planted a cyclamineus mix of daffs on the West Lawn, creating a bright yellow carpet.
The woodland areas across the wider estate are full of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) in April. In Preserve Copse you can see vast carpets of them without having to venture too far from the rest of the garden displays. See if you can spot any early Pyramidal Orchids here too.
Visit Home Farm Orchard to enjoy apple blossom in April and May. Why not bring a picnic?
In April and May, you'll find displays of camassia, anemones and irises in the Dairy Courtyard. Discover camassia on the May House banks and in the Upper Sunken Garden, too.
Varieties of the beautiful iris, named for the goddess of the rainbow, bloom from early spring to early summer. You'll find beautiful irises in the Spring Borders, Rock Garden, Dairy Courtyard and later in The Iris Garden. Find bright iris reticulata from late February in the Spring Borders and the dog grave borders.
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.
Spring Flower Celebration
Follow your nose to the Spring Flower Celebration at Polesden Lacey April 23 – May 30. Discover beautiful blooms in the gardens including fabulous arrangements of handmade flowers created by our volunteers over the last few months at home.
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 all across the garden here, with the West Lawn, New Lime Walk and Theatre Lawn being particular highlights this year.
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 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.
The hidden-away Rock Garden was never completed - Mrs Greville had a disagreement with the contractors. We're improving the display here and the first step has been the addition of bulbs such as Iris reticulata ‘Pixie’, as well as Narcissus ‘Topolino’ and Anemone blanda. You'll also find beautiful Irises in the Spring Borders, Rock Garden, Dairy Courtyard and later in the Iris Garden. Find bright iris reticulata from late February in the Spring Borders and the dog grave borders.
In April and May, Home Farm Orchard is filled with blossom. There are 30 different types of apple grown here - desert apples, cooking apples and dual purpose apples. In the autumn, the team will use them in the kitchen. But in spring, why not bring a picnic and find a spot under an apple tree. Just don't forget to take a moment to quietly sit and breathe in the delicate apple blossom fragrance.
Tulips and grape hyacinths
The house borders and containers are packed with amazing tulip displays from late March to early May. Look out for Grape Hyacinths in the Dairy Courtyard too.
Other hotspots for spring flowers...
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.
The Rose Garden
It’s not just roses stealing the show in The Rose Garden. Before they bloom from June until September, the outer beds will be filled with several varieties of alliums, fritillaria, some new groups of delicate species daffodils and masses of snowdrops and crocus blooms. Look for the fascinating foxtail lilies (Eremurus) in the exotic border on the north side of this area.