Gardens in East Anglia

Daffodils in the foreground, with Wimpole Hall behind

In East Anglia, we’re lucky to have so many gardens that showcase the very best of this seasons blooms. See for yourself and enjoy a little beauty, as we head into spring.

Our gardens

Please make sure you check web pages for individual places before you travel for booking details and the most up to date information about visiting.

Gardens in Cambridgeshire

Gardens in Norfolk and Suffolk

Gardening tips for spring

Today we are increasingly aware of the therapeutic benefits gardening brings us: fresh air, exercise, a shared hobby, a connection to the seasons and the natural world, and a constant source of joy and hope. Never have there been more reasons to dedicate time to gardening, whether you have been growing for years or are just becoming interested. 

Volunteer working in the Walled Garden at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Tip 1. Get weeding

The key time to tackle weeds is spring. Keeping on top of weeds at this time of year can really pay off, preventing them from weakening your favourite plants or becoming entangled with them. Pull out those early weeds, before adding a layer of mulch to feed the soil and prevent more weeds from growing.

Essential gardening tools from the National Trust online shop

Tip 2: Plant your borders

Spring is the best time to plant a border, so now is the time to start planning the layout, plant and colour choices, and preparing the ground. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse, it’s best to be patient and wait until the risk of late frosts have passed before adding your flowering plants.

three women planting seedlings into pots in the greenhouse

Tip 3. Sow your seeds

Spring is the traditional time for sowing most seeds, if you’re not sure, seed packets will usually let you know when’s best. Vegetables originating from colder parts of the world, including cabbages, peas, lettuces, carrots and beetroot, can be sown directly into the ground in spring. Plants from warmer parts of the world, such as runner beans, tomatoes and courgettes, cannot be planted into the soil until the risk of frost has passed.

Pink aster in the gardens at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Tip 4. Divide and conquer

If you missed or forgot to divide any of your herbaceous perennials last autumn, spring is an ideal time to redeem yourself. Best done on a dry day, once divided, plant in their final position as soon as possible and give them plenty of water. So, take a look at your hostas, asters and daylilies.

Slug at Morden Hall Park

Tip 5. Pick out pests

Whilst working in your borders, inspect plants for sheltering pests such as slugs and snails. Check for aphids on roses and rub them off before they develop into major infestations. Vine weevil larvae may also be lurking within the compost of overwinter pots. Whatever you find be sure to act fast and the sooner it’s under control, the better it’ll be for establishing your plants. 

Volunteer in the garden at Oxburgh Hall

Tip 6. Get deadheading

This is a bit of a marmite job, you either love it or hate it, but it is key to ensure your bulbs flower well year after year. Once your daffodils or tulips have flowered, simply remove the bloom before or just as the seed pod develops. This will ensure the plant puts all of its energy back into the bulb instead of producing seed.

School of Gardening

The National Trust School of Gardening

From herbaceous borders to sustainable gardening, The National Trust School of Gardening by Rebecca Bevan is inspired by 300 years of horticultural history and top tips from our gardeners. With clear and practical advice for garden development and beautiful pictures, this guide is suitable for all experience levels. Buy a copy from our online shop.


Latest updates

22 Apr 21

The historical uses of beautiful bluebells

The bluebell is one of our best-loved British flowers. They don’t like change or disturbance, preferring ancient woods where the ground has lain undisturbed for years, like those at Ashridge and Blickling. The British bluebell has had many practical uses throughout the ages. Did you know that the bluebell’s bulb contains muselage and inulin, which was used as a glue for fixing feathers to arrows and for bookbinding? The Elizabethans used the starch-like juice from the bluebell bulb to stiffen their fancy ruff collars. 

Carpet of bluebells in Dockey Wood at Ashridge, Herts

15 Apr 21

The symbolic meaning of tulip colours

Colourful displays of tulips have to be one of the highlights of spring. Bold and beautiful, they create quite the impact when planted together, but also make the perfect gift for friends and loved ones. There are thousands of these bulbs planted in the gardens at Anglesey Abbey, Wimpole, Blickling, Felbrigg, Peckover and Ickworth. However, did you know that different colours symbolise different things? Red tulips represent true love, white tulips say 'I'm sorry' and purple tulips symbolize royalty.

Peckover House with tulips in the foreground

30 Mar 21

The legend of hyacinth

The hyacinth is a spring favourite for many. However did you know that their origin can be traced back to Greek mythology? Legend has it that Apollo, the sun god, and Zephyr, the god of the west wind, both competed for the attention of a young man named Hyakinthos. The story goes that Hyakinthos was unintentionally killed and the blue flower that grew from his blood was named “Hyacinth” to symbolise constancy and sincerity. We plant them in large blocks at Anglesey Abbey and Blickling Estate to create even more of a colourful impact.

Hyacinths in the garden at Blickling