Castle gardeners plant a record 72,000 bulbs

Planting bulbs at Arundel Castle SUS-151125-110212001
Planting bulbs at Arundel Castle SUS-151125-110212001

Although Arundel Castle’s gates have now closed for the winter period, this is in fact the busiest time of year for the castle’s garden team.

It has been all hands on trowels for the past two months with the team busily planting a record number of spring bulbs – 72,000 in total throughout the 40 acres of stunning gardens and grounds.

With such a big task at hand, the team enlisted the help of the West Sussex Girl Guides, who turn up in all weather to help plant tulip bulbs in large Italianate terracotta pots.

This year’s selection includes 50 different types of tulips such as ‘Lilac Time’ and ‘Purple Prince’ with 24 brand new varieties for 2016.

The walled area of the gardens will showcase a staggering 30,000 tulips in vibrant colours this spring - the biggest display the Castle has ever presented.

New varieties will include the pink ruffled ‘Auxerre’, the big-headed ‘Wow’ variety, the cabbage lookalike ‘Reems Favourite’ as well as the spikey purple ‘Labrador’.

Other spring bulbs that have been planted include ‘Snake’s Head Fritillaries’, ‘Scillas’, ‘Galanthus’ – ‘Snowdrops’, ‘Eranthis’ as well as the nation’s favourite, numerous varieties of ‘Narcissus’ – Daffodils.

Martin Duncan, head gardener commented: “The garden team has worked tirelessly to plant even more bulbs this year and it was great to have the West Sussex Girl Guides on hand to help!

I’m sure I speak for everybody when I say how much we’re looking forward to showing off the fruits of our labour with visitors come spring 2016!”

To add to the tulip splendour, The Organic Kitchen is currently being prepped and planted with ‘Negrita’, ‘Francoise’ and the stunning ‘Curly Sue’, a glorious mixture of spring blooms.

“Make sure you look out for my personal favourites in the English Herbaceous Borders – the ‘Angelique’, a peony flowered tulip with lovely soft pink petals, as well as the elegant white and pointy ‘Triumphator’” Martin continued.

Arundel Castle is now closed to visitors for the winter period and will re-open on Good Friday 25 March 2016.

For more information on the Castle or to arrange a private tour of the gardens, please visit www.arundelcastle.org

Report and pictures contributed by Flo Powell.