How to enjoy May at Kent’s National Trust sites

PUBLISHED: 12:35 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:35 25 April 2019

The Bluebell Bank in May at Emmetts Garden (photo: National Trust Images/David Sellman)

The Bluebell Bank in May at Emmetts Garden (photo: National Trust Images/David Sellman)

©National Trust Images/David Sellman

From a gentle stroll to admire the flowers to expert-led walks, there’s something for every May garden fan to enjoy

Flower beds bursting with tulips and irises, trees brimming with blossom and woodlands carpeted with bluebells are all clear signs that spring is truly underway.

There is plenty to keep flower fans happy at the Kent houses, gardens and countryside areas cared for by the National Trust. Visitors can take advantage of two Bank Holidays this month to come and enjoy the beautiful blooms.

Terrific tulips

Gardeners at Emmetts have spent weeks planting thousands of bulbs in the tulip meadow, resulting in a spectacular display of tulips in shades of pink and red spreading out into the distance.

At Sissinghurst Castle Garden, the Lime Walk has been populated with not only vivid tulips but also fritillaries and hyacinths, which blend together in a stunning mix of pinks and purples.

Winding wisteria

Our cover star Scotney Castle offers moat-side views of purple wisteria winding its way across the walls of the Old Castle in the heart of the estate. Or wander around Lady Churchill's rose garden at Chartwell to enjoy the cascading wisteria in full blossom.

Beautiful bluebells

Great places to see woodland bluebells in Kent include Emmetts Garden, where you can also take in extensive views across the High Weald. Scotney Castle and Ightham Mote also boast large wooded areas covered in bluebells. Take care when walking in the woods not to step on the bluebells and never dig up any bulbs; leave them for others to enjoy.

Rhododendrons and roses

Scotney Castle's displays of more than 80 species of rhododendron and azalea are at their best later on in May. Combined with the first early roses coming into flower, it's a stunning show.

At Emmetts Garden the Edwardian rose garden contains dozens of dwarf and larger varieties designed to complement each other as buds begin to open.

Try this at home

Paul Micklewright, Garden and Estate Manager at Scotney Castle, has some useful tips if you are now inspired to rethink your own seasonal planting schemes.

He says: “Look at the area you want to refresh and choose the correct plants to suit it. Think about what you want the area for. Do you want year-round interest or is the garden only used in spring and summer? Do you want to attract wildlife? If so, choose plants such as lavender and catmint. If you have a bigger garden, plant a buddleia or a hebe, as bees love these.

“My final advice would be to be adventurous and push your imagination. If it doesn't work, you can always lift the plants, give them to a neighbour and try something else instead!”

Find out more

More information about seasonal flowers and where to find them at the National Trust in Kent at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kent.

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