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Where to find the best spring flowers in Kent

PUBLISHED: 10:16 15 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 15 May 2016

Emmetts Garden

Emmetts Garden

Archant

May is all about welcoming back vibrant, sweet-smelling flowers all over the countryside. Here are a few places to see some of the loveliest, most colourful spring flowers that Kent has to offer.

Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst

Lovers of rhododendrons and azaleas can enjoy dazzling displays at Scotney Castle this month, with red, pink and purple blooms adding welcome colour to the garden. Wisteria and old English roses add to the traditional rural feel, as they wind themselves around the sandstone ruins of the old medieval castle in the heart of the garden.

Visit during special evening openings in June to see this spectacular display reflected in the water’s edge in dappled evening sunlight.

On the wider estate, bluebells scatter the woodlands, still in flower in early May, and the last of the daffodils provide cheerful bursts of yellow in various nooks and crannies.

Make the most of evening openings until 8pm every Saturday in June.

Knole, Sevenoaks

In May, the 200-year-old private walled garden of Lord Sackville opens to the public on selected dates only. It’s just in time to see Knole’s famous wisteria wall at its loveliest, with the sweet-smelling purple flowers taking over the smooth, grey Kentish ragstone and covering it completely. It’s the longest wall of wisteria anywhere in the UK, so don’t miss this fabulous spectacle.

Writer and gardener, Vita Sackville-West, who was born at Knole in 1892, wrote about the plant in her famous book about the estate, fondly recalling it ‘dripping its fountains’ over the walls. Other floral delights in the garden include crocuses and anemones.

Knole’s walled garden is open Tuesdays only from 5 April until 27 September.

Emmetts Garden, Westerham

This charming hilltop garden is well known for its beautiful May flowers, with swathes of tulips, cherry blossom in bloom and roses coming into bud. An historically accurate Edwardian rose garden was painstakingly restored last year, containing dozens of beautifully scented, pink and cream-coloured roses. Dwarf varieties sit alongside larger blooms, with a co-ordinating underplanting of spring bulbs, including crocuses and alliums, to complete the scene.

The rose garden helps throw the rest of the seasonal colour in the garden into sharp focus, with a vivid show of more than 3,000 red, pink and black tulips, bright yellow daffodils and colourful rhododendrons, all flowering beneath 26 cherry trees.

More May highlights at Emmetts Garden can be seen in the guise of bluebells and anemone in the ancient woods.

White Cliffs

The coastal position of Britain’s most iconic landmark offers the perfect backdrop for more unusual seasonal plants, including the elusive bee orchid, which pops up now and again. There is also oxtongue broomrape – a rare parasitic plant that lives on the host plant, hawkwood oxtongue. Wild cabbage is a common sight in the area, but is restricted to the coast.

50 spring adventures

While the flowers are blooming, it’s also the perfect opportunity to get the family geared up to complete as many outdoor challenges as they can from the National Trust’s official list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4’. There are dozens of exciting free or low-cost ideas to have fun, including hunting for bugs, making dens, going for cycle rides, flying kites and spending an evening stargazing. wFind out more

For the full list, go to www.50things.org.uk. Or, to find out about more spring beauty spots, walks and other events in Kent and beyond, go online to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast.

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