Stunning displays greet new season Castle visitors

WHAT a fantastic start to spring, we opened with record numbers of visitors and now our tulip extravaganza is in full swing. All the hard work of the castle garden team in planting our 14,000 additional tulips has produced a stunning display of colour in every shade imaginable from reds, oranges and yellows to blues, purples, and pinks and even white and black.

Each variety has been carefully chosen to enhance different areas of the gardens.

In the Collector Earl’s Garden we have planted pots full of beautiful Pink Impression, Purple Flag tulips inter planted with forget-me-nots, which work well alongside the water rills. At the bottom of the cascade we have vibrant golden Apeldoorn tulips planted with centre pieces of orange Crown Imperials.

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In the organic kitchen garden there is a spectacular array of tulips; lining the Victorian Vinehouse we have Triumph Mixed full of bright colours. The Cut Flower garden has been designed in the shape of two Bow Ties, half full of Darwin Hybrid Mixed and the other half with lavender which will come out later.

Some tulips will be lifted once they’re over and replaced with summer bedding, the main bulk of the tulips will remain in situ for next year.

In the “Fledge Garden” (a mixture between a flower and vegetable garden) you will find Apeldoorn Elite tulips which contrast dramatically with our curly kale.

We all associate tulips with the Netherlands, which is an obvious choice, do you know they originally came to Europe from Turkey?

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Tulips were prized by sultans and the nobility for many centuries, as a form of opulence, beautiful single blooms were shown off in special vases. This gave us the inspiration to provide our visitors with a tulip festival for everyone to enjoy.

Tulips were traded throughout Europe and became all the rage by the 1630s. Fantastic sums of money being paid for a single bulb, the money equated to twelve times the annual wage of a carpenter, literally worth more than their weight in gold. By the seventeenth century the Dutch tulip traders created a futures market, bearing in mind they were trading with a living thing, and on someone else’s care of it, they gambled on the future price of tulips, this business was mainly conducted in taverns with the aid of large amounts of alcohol (I suspect not very different to city traders of today)!

A few tips from the castle garden team:

Roses will grow rapidly towards the end of the month so this is a good time to top dress with manure or an organic fertilizer.

Directly sow hardy annuals, such as Cornflowers, Larkspurs and Calendulas in well prepared soil, this is a good way to fill in gaps.

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Plant main crop potatoes; make sure you earth up shoots from your early potatoes to protect them from frost.

Finish dividing and planting perennials.

This is a good time to sow basil on your windowsill.

Happy Gardening!

For further information on the castle, garden tours, opening times visit our website at

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