Dyrham delights

[All photos: National Trust]

Despite the wet and rather cold weather, thousands of tulips are starting to bloom at Dyrham Park, bringing an explosion of spring colour to the garden.

Visitors to the South Gloucestershire National Trust site are being rewarded with pops of colour springing up in the long borders in the Avenue, by the house in Sphynx Court and throughout the orchard.

Some 12,000 carefully selected tulip bulbs, imported from Holland, were planted in December in a two-week planting extravaganza. The team of staff and volunteers planted the bulbs in groups, both for visual impact but also ease of planting, removal and reuse around the garden.

There’s a huge range of tulip cultivars being grown with interesting names such as Amazing Parrot, Blue Diamond, Texas Gold, Kingsblood and Fire Wings. Grand Perfection and Estella Rijnveld are both similar cultivars to 17th-century varieties represented in artwork in the house.

Tim Jones, Gardener at Dyrham Park, said: ‘Every year our tulips offer a beautiful burst of spring colour to the garden. Winter planting is always a mammoth task that could not have been achieved without the hard work of our volunteers, both in the garden and behind the scenes translating the design into easy-to-read planting plans. All that hard work is starting to pay off as the flowers are coming into bloom. As you turn into the Avenue the sight of the flowers can honestly take your breath away; I’ve heard lots of gasps and wows as it really is a sight to behold.’

Dutch tulips have a special link to Dyrham Park as Holland was where William Blathwayt, the creator of the current house at Dyrham Park, spent his formative years as a government administrator at the British embassy in The Hague. He learned Dutch and developed an enthusiasm for Dutch art and blue and white Delftware, much of which remains in the house today.

Inspired by the 17th-century Johannes Kip engraving, Dyrham Park gardeners are working on an ongoing project to transform the garden into a vibrant 21st-century garden with echoes of the past. The garden project also draws on modern day examples from sites such as the gardens at Versailles in France and at Het Loo in the Netherlands.

Dyrham Park is situated just off junction 18 of the M4 – 8 miles north of Bath and 12 miles east of Bristol. The park is open daily from 10am-5pm (last entry one hour before close). 

More information is available at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/DyrhamPark