In spring National Trust gardens across Hampshire are bright with colour from spring bulbs and blossom, signalling the end of winter and the start of new life.
Drifts of daffodils and scented narcissi provide splashes of sunny colour at Mottisfont, Hinton Ampner, The Vyne and Uppark. A little later there are sumptuous displays of tulips too, and frothy blossom from apple and cherry trees.
PICTURED ABOVE: Mottisfont daffodils | National Trust Images Alison Marsh
ABOVE: Children walking past daffodils | National Trust Images
Here are some springtime highlights
Mottisfont, near Romsey
Mottisfont’s glorious Winter Garden, now fully matured, is still full of horticultural treasures in early spring. There’s brilliantly coloured bark from dogwood and silvery ornamental bramble, pink and purple bedding plants – cyclamen, crocus and anemone – and gullies of foliage plants, which appear to wind through the banks of willow like water and spill into the stream.
Across the gardens thousands of mixed, naturalising bulbs produce delicious splashes of colour. Drifts of daffodils and scented narcissi bloom beneath Mottisfont’s giant veteran trees. In April and May look out for tulips in shades of ivory, pink and deep purple in the parterre and rose garden. At this time of year the Lime Avenue is carpeted in thousands of lilac-blue chionodoxa flowers, and in the meadow you’ll spy nodding purple snakeshead fritillaries. By the stableyard, a magnificent magnolia displays creamy flowers.
The ‘bulk planting’ of single plant varieties like narcissi is a Mottisfont tradition that today’s garden team are keen to continue. They are following in the footsteps of former owner Maud Russell’s head gardener Mr Buckle, who began the trend in the early 20th-century.
ABOVE: Hinton Ampner cherry blossom | National Trust Images Stephen Robson
Hinton Ampner, Bramdean
A quintessentially English country house set in undulating gardens with views over the South Downs, Hinton Ampner comes into its own in spring. Creamy camellias reveal blowsy blooms, and the deep pink and white flowers of Magnolia x soulangeana stretch almost to the top of the house, from the elegant terrace.
Thousands of scented narcissi and tulips are on show throughout the gardens. In the orchard crisp white and yellow narcissi litter the long grass. In April look out for a gorgeous mix of yellow and deep red tulips by the walled garden, and in the Yew Garden you’ll find bright pink and white combinations like eye-catching stripy variety Holland Chic.
In Hinton’s Cherry Orchard, clusters of double-pink flowers from variety ‘Kanzan’ are interspersed with large, fragrant snowy blossoms of ‘Mount Fuji’, borne in long swaying clusters that droop towards the ground.
ABOVE: The Vyne – daffodils by the lake | National Trust Images, Robert Morris
The Vyne’s spacious grounds are a glorious place to be on a sunny spring day. In the historic walled garden, hundreds of daffodils line the path. There are fresh bunches for sale too – in the little wooden kiosk by its entrance. Further afield, you’ll see beautiful clusters beside The Vyne’s magnificent lake too, making a spring walk extra special. In the Wild Garden, drifts of daffodils bloom beneath the cherry trees, which later reveal soft pink blossom.
ABOVE: Orange tulips | National Trust Images, Justin Minns & Pink and white tulips | National Trust Images, Chris Lacey
This formal landscape garden is bright with pretty pastel shades this spring, courtesy of the thousands of narcissi which were planted here over the winter. Visitors to the gardens are in for a real treat – pure white scented species Thalia greet you just outside the main gates.
The driveway and café frontage are packed with fragrant creamy coloured variety W.P Milner, so you can enjoy the scent and colour of spring as you tuck into fresh home-made cake from Uppark’s café.
ABOVE: Cheese scones & Carrot cake | National Trust Images, William Shaw
Dining at the National Trust
After a stroll around a glorious spring garden, seek out the café and a chance to indulge in some home-made treats. Our catering teams change their menus regularly, so that visitors can enjoy seasonal delights using locally sourced produce as often as possible. In the case of Hinton Ampner and Mottisfont a lot of what you’ll find on offer comes from just feet away, harvested that day from the properties’ walled kitchen gardens.
Words by the National Trust.