Life

Gardening: Four of the best places in Britain to check out tulips this spring

Tulips at Great Dixter, family home of the late Christopher Lloyd

1. Yeo Valley Organic Garden (yeovalley.co.uk), Holt Farm, Blagdon, Somerset: Feast your eyes on the red tulips at the Yeo Valley (yes, the yogurt-related one) organic garden at its six-and-a-half acre family farm, where last year staff planted 35,000 bulbs. Attractions include camassias in the meadow, imaginative sculptures and modern planting, as well as an impressive vegetable garden and a glasshouse.

:: Open for the National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk) on Sunday April 28, 2-5pm.

2. Blackland House, Calne, Wiltshire

A series of walled gardens jam-packed with top notch plants and specialist displays of historic tulips has proved invaluable to the owner of the 18th century house and flower grower, Polly Nicholson. She's opening her four-and-a-half acre garden adjacent to the River Marden as part of the National Garden Scheme. As well as seeing breathtaking clouds of blossom, visitors can also admire the contrasting tones of the pink and green tulip 'Virichic' and the deep, dark 'Black Hero', among others.

:: Open for NGS on Wednesday, May 1, 2-5pm.

3. Great Dixter House, Gardens & Nursery (greatdixter.co.uk), Northiam, East Sussex:

Spring bulb displays are spectacular in the family home of the late, great gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd, who made the garden one of the most experimental and constantly changing gardens of our time. The garden is awash with tulips in bloom in April and May in a variety of situations. Some pop up between bedding including polyanthus, lupins and wallflowers, others make their mark in bold sweeps in the borders. More still are visible in pots around the front door.

:: House and gardens throughout the year.

4. Abbotsford (scottsabbotsford.com), Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scottish Borders: Famous for being the home of historical novelist Sir Walter Scott, who designed the garden with advice from artists, architects and friends, each year visitors are invited to its tulip festival (April 19-May 26). More than 8,000 tulips have been planted to create the spectacular display in Abbotsford's walled garden, featuring more than 20 varieties ranging from subtle pastel colours to a rainbow of rich tones. The garden at Abbotsford is distinct in character, with a layout that forms three outdoor 'rooms' designed to offer picturesque settings for the main house.

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