Inspiration from Arundel Castle’s Tulip Festival

Inspiration from Arundel Castle's Tulip Festival

Display of tulips at Arundel Castle composed of a large planting with a central square of purple and white tulips surrounded by an outer square of bright pink tulips

The shimmering ‘Wedding Cake’ of tulips at Arundel Fortress
Picture: Annelise Brilli

In the course of this scorching summer season, it’s straightforward to overlook the darkish days of late winter, the determined await spring color and the immense pleasure when tulips emerge, studding naked borders like jewels. Gardening is all about planning forward, and though spring appears very far-off, you should begin fascinated with which spring bulbs you’d wish to develop now.  

Months of cautious planning at Arundel Castle in West Sussex creates one of many largest spring bulb shows within the UK – an explosion of over 120,000 tulips and greater than 150 varieties, all rigorously orchestrated to create a surprising succession of color all through April. The competition showcases the flexibility of tulips and different spring bulbs, with plantings in turf, borders and pots. I’ve been rifling by means of my photographs of final April’s occasion, gleaning inspiration for my tulip orders this month.

Naturalised tulips

Coming into the grounds by means of a portico, you’re instantly met with swathes of naturalised bulbs sweeping between blossoming cherries. Flowering bulbs dress the dry fortress moat, creating a surprising distinction between the austere gray fortress partitions and their jewelled banks.

The show contains 1000’s of white Narcissus ‘Thalia’,  blue Camassia and even naturalised tulips. Tulips from earlier years are recycled by transplanting them into the grass as soon as they’re previous their finest. Though hybrid tulips don’t naturalise in addition to species tulips, flowering for about three years earlier than fading, they make a rewarding show. Most of the naturalised tulips are Darwin hybrids. These are particularly large-flowered, tall tulips that are famend for being probably the most strong and long-lived of hybrid tulips.

close up of orange and yellow Darwin tulips

Darwin tulips are naturalised in grass
Picture: Annelise Brilli

The panorama is punctuated with specimen bushes, and at this level I used to be distracted by two gorgeous examples of Paulownia tomentosa in full bloom. This broadly spreading tree is a spring sensation, with upright panicles of sentimental purple, foxglove-like flowers showing earlier than the good-looking, heart-shaped leaves emerge.

Paulownia tomentosa tree in full flower with Arundel castle in the background

Paulownia tomentosa
Picture: Annelise Brilli


Erect panicle of pale purple flowers against a bright blue sky

The foxglove-like flowers of Paulownia tomentosa seem on naked branches earlier than the leaves
Picture: Annelise Brilli

Tulips in pots

Pots abound – actually, there are over 500 of them – and it’s a surprising demonstration of the benefits of displaying spring bulbs in containers. A lot of the pots are terracotta-coloured plastic, making them light-weight, transportable and requiring much less frequent watering. They’re simply shifted about to refresh earlier spent blooms, enliven naked or shady spots with color and artfully positioned to spotlight and body architectural options. The pots are rammed – keep in mind that in containers you may get away with a lot denser planting, leaving just a few centimetres between every bulb – creating concentrated blocks of color that are excessive impression.

A collage of 4 images showing containerised tulips at Arundel in a wide range of colours

There are over 500 pots of tulips offering loads of inspiration for the house gardener
Picture: Annelise Brilli

Designing with tulips

The crescendo of color reaches its climax in The Collector’s Backyard. What was as soon as an deserted kitchen backyard and automobile park was reworked in 2008 right into a Jacobean fantastical extravaganza. The realm is split right into a series of rooms every with its personal theatrical set piece carved out of inexperienced oak together with an enormous classical gateway, a temple topped with antlers. shell-studded grottos and gilded fountains.

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The tulip shows are rigorously designed to range in tone and depth, enhancing the character of every backyard room. Tulips provide an infinite vary of colors to go well with all tastes – from shimmering pastels to luxurious purples and maroons – and an unrivalled alternative to indulge your self with color and paint the backyard with flowers. Right here’s a style of a few of Arundel’s tulip colors and options of the way to recreate the take a look at house.

Jewel tones


Box parterres with each triangular section planted up with tulips

‘Bow Tie Bed’ with massed plantings of tulips
Picture: Annelise Brilli

A luxurious color scheme of purple, purple and maroon-black was used to nice impact within the natural kitchen backyard, the place it was planted into the ‘Bow-Tie Beds’ of neatly trimmed field.

Get the look

A snowy carpet with pops of purple

Concentric swirls of white Narcissus and red Tulips planted in a lawn with an ornate pergola and pool in the background

Tulips and daffodils within the ‘Labyrinth Garden’
Picture: Annelise Brilli


Close up of white narcissus and red tulips planted in the grass

The massed planting shimmers within the daylight
Picture: Annelise Brilli

Within the gorgeous Labyrinth Backyard, a big garden is planted up with concentric swirls of greater than 20,000 purple Darwin tulips in a sea of pure white, scented  Narcissus ‘Thalia’, all surrounded by unique windmill palms Trachycarpus fortunei.

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Stunning Pink


Pots of large-headed, surprising pink tulips actually made a splash beside the pool and cascade.

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Fruity shades of pink and yellow

They typically inform you to not combine pink and yellow, however this fruity cocktail defies the rule with magnificence.

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Fireplace & ice

These fiery tulips have been tastefully toned down with dashes of cream.

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Orange glow

Pots of those layered, peony-flowered tulips have been strategically positioned to radiate a glow of warming tangerine in shadier corners of the backyard.

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Tulip ‘Big Giant’

Lilac and lime

These pale purple tulips pair fantastically with the zingy lime inexperienced of the euphorbia, the show given a carry by the addition of orange crown imperial fritillaries.

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A ardour for purple

This harmonising mix of purples created a relaxed atmosphere, framing some seating.

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Sweetening up the veg patch

Tulips are an effective way to inject some early color into your veg plot while you’re ready for crops to bulk up. These tulips added a sugary candy flavour interplanted amongst beets within the natural kitchen backyard.

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Fairly pastels

These grouped containers have been a superbly toned show of pastel lotions and pinks balanced with deeper purple.

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Backyard crops which provide sundown colors are treasured as there are few examples. Hybrid tulips provide some beautiful selections – make sure to search them out.

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Impressed by Arundel’s magnificent show, I’m busy compiling my spring bulb order.  Daffodils needs to be planted by the tip of September, while tulips go in later from the tip of October onwards – however make sure to order early with the intention to get hold of the perfect picks and have enjoyable inventing your individual artistic color mixtures!


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