April 24th-28th and May 2nd-7th (Excluding bank holiday weekend)
Please note – This is a third-party event, out of the Kew Guild’s control. Visitors should check details with the organisers.
Hever Castle & Gardens | Hever | Edenbridge | Kent TN8 7NG
01732 865224 | hevercastle.co.uk
Hever Castle & Gardens in Kent will be hosting their first ever Tulip Celebration in April and May 2017. The eleven-strong gardening team at Hever Castle in Kent are gearing up for their inaugural Tulip Celebration. Visitors to the brand new event at the Castle in Kent will be able to enjoy a tulip trail either self-guided or with Hever’s head gardener Neil Miller and marvel at the 7,000 tulips, in 60 varieties planted along the Pergola Walk, Pompeiian Wall, Tudor Garden and Italian Garden.
The tulip has been beloved by the Italians since the 1500s so it’s perhaps fitting that the dramatic Italian Garden at Hever will play host to the largest of the tulip planting displays. This part of the garden was designed and built in 1904-1908 to showcase William Waldorf Astor’s unique collection of statuary and sculpture which stretches to 200 pieces, some of them over 2,000 years old.
Inspired by the gardens of the Italian Renaissance, the design of the Italian Garden includes the Pompeiian Wall, which stretches for an eighth of a mile and is divided into bays or ‘rooms’ depicting a different scene of the ruin of Pompeii following the eruption of Vesuvius. The tulips with their vivid colouring will be planted in formal block colours with each of the ten Pompeiian scenes showcasing a single coloured tulip.
The grottoes and fountains of the Pergola Walk on the opposite, southern side, of the garden, will also provide an impressive backdrop for the thousands of tulips planted in a kaleidoscope of pinks, purples and yellows.
Speaking about the new event, head gardener Neil Miller says: “the whole team have caught tulip fever and excitement is growing as we approach our first ever Tulip Celebration at the Castle. The tulip is the ultimate in elegance – standing to attention they look spectacular planted en masse in either a kaleidoscope of mixed colours or in uniform. Lots of plants have a limited colour palette but the tulip comes in every colour from purple to green.
“We have planted 3,500 tulips around the Castle walls themselves using ‘Orange Lion’ interplanted with Erysimum ‘Vulcan’ a dwarf variety of wallflower with velvety crimson flowers. The Italian Garden will look stunning with 2,000 tulips planted in wonderful formal displays including some unusual green varieties such as ‘Spring Green’ (white with a green stripe), ‘Evergreen’ (green with a yellow stripe) and ‘Green Jay’.”
Neil Miller says: “We have completed the planting of most of the 7,000 bulbs and will be protecting the pots and troughs from squirrels by using chicken wire and we will maintain a watching brief in the Italian Garden during the winter months to try to stay one step ahead of the little blighters!”
Tulips with a talking point such as ‘Ice Cream’ with its peony-like flower will be planted in troughs and pots and displayed in the rotundas and on the Castle forecourt.
The team, led by Neil Miller will also experiment with the husbandry of a couple of the bulbs. Neil Miller adds: “we will run a couple of experiments with bulbs we are planting in pots by dunking them in paraffin before planting them to see if this deters the squirrels! We have also chosen some wacky coloured bulbs, some bronzy ones and more avant-garde stripy blooms to feature as talking points around the areas that visitors congregate such as the restaurant and forecourt. We have also planted up the bed in front of the Yew Maze in the shape of a tulip.”
The interior of the Castle itself will be dressed with tulips by talented in-house florist Pamela Brise.
It could be said that Hever Castle & Gardens is the perfect place for a Tulip Celebration because its most famous occupants Anne Boleyn and later Anne of Cleves would have been resident as the tulip bulb made its arrival into Europe via Turkey.
All images credited to: Hever Castle & Gardens
Announcement courtesy of Vikki Rimmer