What to look out for in the gardens

Tulips in pots on the terrace

The garden comes alive with colour from early spring. See the new lovely spring shade on the terrace and a pink, white and purple colour scheme in Lady Bearsted's garden.

Tulips on the terraces

Welcoming you to the garden are the orange tulips. The west terraces are planted with these colourful spring bulbs.  In contrast the east side show how every plot was used in the wartime dig for victory campaign. Read the Ministry of Agricultures advice and see what’s been planted as the year progresses.

A swimming pool

For the Bank staff working at Upton, the highlight for the garden was the Swimming Pool in summer. Built in 1936. This was perfect for an early morning swim before work, but if the air raid siren sounded, day or night, the staff would gather beneath it in the plant room for safety.

Having lived in a big city all their lives it was lovely to be in the countryside; although they did all miss and worry about their families at home. The bank bought the staff a pair of wellington boots, as well as a bicycle or two, to explore the local countryside.

Victory colours in Lady Bearsted's garden

New for 2016, in celebration of our victory year, we have planted our tulips in only three colours – pink, white and purples. In contrast to the Dig for Victory planting in the kitchen gardens nearby, Lady Bearsted's garden will be sporting a very ladylike show of pinks, whites and purples.

Conservation of the Mirror Pool

The clay lining of the pool was put in before the 1930s and over the years has gradually worn away. The water has now penetrated the thin lining of clay resulting in several leaks. To enable us to carry out any repairs a site survey will need to be undertaken followed by a program of works; before we take on the major task of any repairs.

Significant work took place in 2017 to restore the reflections in the Mirror Pool
View of yellow digger working in pond
Significant work took place in 2017 to restore the reflections in the Mirror Pool

Conservation work is at the heart of what we do

To enable us to conserve this delicate garden we need to be able to manage the greater numbers of people visiting in our twelve month opening period, which can be very challenging at times. Part of that management scheme which has been carefully thought through is to rotate the garden areas as they come into season; for example throughout the winter and into early spring we enable visitors to follow the spring bulbs.  Walking on hard pathways, with other areas being viewed from a distance to show of the structure of the plants. This will be followed by the first early herbaceous border coming into flower and other areas will open as the year goes on.

Plant your own spring displays

Tulips are one of the most versatile of all spring bulbs and will thrive in almost any position and type of soil where reasonable drainage is provided. From careful selection they can provide colour from as early as February until late May. Planting should take place between October and December and by following the simple rule of planting bulbs at twice their depth and of course the right way up, you should be guaranteed a wonderful display in the spring.

Can’t wait until next year?

A selection of the tulips showcased in the garden is available to buy at Upton Stores and ready to take home after your visit. If you are inspired by the gardens and want to plan for your own displays you can also buy a range of heritage seeds.