In late April/early May Pashley Manor’s spectacular Tulip Festival sees the garden, on the border of Sussex and Kent, carpeted with over 30,000 tulips, creating stunning scenes for visitors to enjoy.

Pashley Manor Gardens - Rose Garden by Kate WilsonTulips are followed by over 100 varieties of roses through June, hundreds of scented lilies, the kitchen garden showcasing an abundance of produce and a blaze of colour provided by hundreds of dazzling dahlias, during the Dahlia Days event in early September.

Pashley Manor Gardens - Tulip Festival by Kate WilsonMuch of the groundwork for these events is laid over the winter months. The thousands of tulips were all planted from December to February and are just poking the tips of their leaves above ground in March, which means our gardeners can tiptoe through the flower beds, now that they can see where each tulip is coming up so they don’t step on them, to finish pruning the shrub roses that are situated in the middle of flower beds. The rest of the climbing and shrub roses have already been pruned in February.

Sweet peas have just been sown in the greenhouse, ready to plant out in the garden later in the year, and all the seeds have arrived ready to plant up the Kitchen Garden for the new season. This year we are planting more edible flowers – nasturtiums, violas etc. to decorate the salads in the summer and make them look and taste really lovely.

Pashley Manor Gardens - Tulip Festival by Kate WilsonAt the moment we are still using the beautifully soft leaved corn salad from the kitchen garden as well as the last of 2016’s beetroots, parsnips and some lovely bright pink rhubarb – yum.  Beetroot and French bean salad is one of our summer favourites – picked fresh from the garden, cooked and sliced with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing – delicious, and so easy to upgrade it from a side salad to a full lunch just by adding some toasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled goats’ cheese.

Pashley Manor Gardens - Golden Beds by Kate WilsonThe next job in the garden is potting up dahlia tubers. Last year we planted many more dahlias ready for our new dahlia event – it went so well we are planning to hold the event, Dahlia Days, again in September – we have all the dahlias we dug out of the ground (so we could put the tulips in) nestled safe and warm, ready to plant out again once the tulips come out of the ground in late May/early June.

This year we have lots more dahlia tubers, that have just arrived from Bloms Bulbs, to pot up now so they will be ready to plant out at the same time – the display should be even more colourful and spectacular this autumn!

We open for the season on 1st April so the whole team is busy setting up. The gardens are complemented by a fantastic café with a beautiful terraced seating area, exhibitions of sculpture and art and a lovely gift shop – we hope you will be tempted to visit us for a day out in 2017.

With thanks to Kate Wilson at Pashley Manor Gardens for her behind the scenes view.