Lose yourself in a sea of scent and colour as you witness the first flushes of 500,000 freshly planted bulbs bursting into life – all part of a new garden display for spring and summer.
Nestled in Ham’s atmospheric 17th century garden, on the banks of the Thames, the planting is the creation of head gardener Rosie Fyles. Inspired by the garden’s history, Rosie has transformed the mansion’s vast manicured lawns – each the size of centre court at Wimbledon – and filled them with crocus, tulips, muscari and wildflowers to create a show of colour and scent throughout the warmer months.
Rosie Fyles said: ‘From the grand entrance to the extravagant interiors, everything about Ham House was designed to impress. The gardens were no exception. To the 17th century eye, kept lawns were a truly awe-inspiring sight, possible only through the dedication of an entire team of gardeners. We set out to create a garden area that inspires that same ‘wow’ from today’s garden lovers.'
Ham House has had a focus on natural gardening for over a decade and Rosie’s team also manages nearby Ham House and Petersham Meadows. All the new plants have been chosen with wildlife in mind as well as for their display.
‘We hope the new garden will give people a tranquil place to enjoy nature and spend time together. The ideas we’ve used could easily work in any garden so we hope that visitors can get inspired by what they see too.’
Ham House and Garden is open 7 days a week, with the garden open from 10am-5pm. Adult entry for the house and garden is £12.50 (National Trust Members go free). Free thirty minute Garden History tours are also available at 11.30am and 1:30pm on weekdays and 11.30, 1.30 and 2.30 at weekends. (Booking not necessary, admission applies).
Garden highlights for spring and summer
Spring show bursts into life for bees and butterflies
Discover the sights and scents of a vast changing display of intense, natural drifts of colour, including early purple crocus, romantic pastel-coloured tulips and vivid blue muscari. Influenced by the checkerboard marble floor of Ham House's Great Hall, four of the 900m2 grass lawns - known as 'plats' have been planted with 500,000 bulbs.
By June, these plats will be returned to the 17th century formality of short-mown grass, to create the perfect space to relax and enjoy the garden over the summer.
Summer meadows to transform the space for people and wildlife
From May to July, four more grass plats will transform into vibrant wildflower meadows full of colour. Rosie is encouraging the pre-existing wildflowers in the turf, and adding other native species to encourage new bio diversity, insects, butterflies and birds.