Helmingham Hall: What’s going on in the gardens this spring? Lady Tollemache reveals all

Lady Tollemache

Lady Tollemache - Credit: Archant

Varieties of daffodils at Helmingham are abundant and the moat banks are transformed to a sea of yellow and whites at this time of year. Narcissus ‘Spellbinder’ and ‘Ice Follies’ are in the walled garden where a limited plant palette is preferable. We time the daffodils in the new Woodland Garden having Spellbinder early and Narcissus poeticus for late flowering when the gardens open in early May. We are also having a special spring preview afternoon on Sunday, April 13 where more of the earlier spring delights may be able to be caught despite this unseasonably mild weather speeding things up!

Primroses are right up there in my favourite flower list, they pop up everywhere and are en masse on the banks and in the wild garden but they also nestle comfortably under the roses. They are trouble free and heart lifting!

I currently peer at my trees and shrubs to detect a sign of life and I breathe a sigh of relief when I find it! After being away, I race around the garden to see what has come up and I am always amazed to see the red tips of the tree peonies which take ones breath away from May to mid-June.

I think Chaenomeles are very much underrated. They look so showy grown against our fences. Our Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’ is in full flower, early for this lovely but ungainly shrub.

The best show in town here are the hellebores. We cut the old leaves down after Christmas and they rise up to look down on their neighbours, Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’ being the best but Pulmonaria ‘Cotton Cool’ is another favourite. Ribes laurifolium always look wonderful now but tend to look very straggly after flowering. Its destiny is still undecided.

I love ferns and the evergreen Polystichum Wollaston Var is stunningly smart in a shady damp area.

This week we are busy planting out perennials which we have ordered previously and have places for in the borders. We continue to tidy up beds and get rid of moss and I have cut down all our deciduous grasses this weekend.

For more information about Helmingham Hall visit www.helmingham.com or call 01473 890799.