Spring is on the way; you can smell it

National Trust garden teams have just conducted their annual flower count for Valentine’s Day and although this year spring seems to be on the way, just as we would normally expect, but what is noticeable is how many scented plants are out in flower at this early time of year.

National Trust gardeners reported 1,737 plants blooming in this year’s 12th annual Valentine’s Flower count, 34% down on last year’s figure of 2,644. Although numbers are down on 2016, they are still higher than the previous three years.

For the second year running, Saltram had the highest number of flowers recorded with 176 blooms (193 in 2016).

The snowdrop has been voted the top spring flower for the fourth year running in a survey run with National Trust supporters on social media. The gardens at Cotehele, Lanhydrock, Kingston Lacy and Saltram have been voted the most popular places to see spring blooms.  Continue reading…

Snowdrops at Kingston Lacy

Snowdrops flowering in the garden at Kingston Lacy Dorset ©National Trust / Images James Dobson

Kingston lacy, a National Trust estate near Wimborne, Dorset, is famous for its snowdrop display.  The snowdrop walk stretches through the 40-acre garden for one and a half miles.  Even without the cold weather needed to encourage the snowdrops to bloom the team are still expecting a good display throughout late January and February.

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Making a house a home – volunteers needed at Max Gate, Hardy’s Cottage, and Clouds Hill, Dorset

National Trust volunteer, Annette Joyce, at Clouds Hill ©National Trust/Martin Stephen

The small cottages near Dorchester where Thomas Hardy and Lawrence of Arabia lived are charming to look at, but it’s the warm welcome of the volunteer guides there that turn them from houses into homes.  On 1 March the National Trust will be opening the doors of Hardy’s Cottage, Clouds Hill and Max Gate, Hardy’s other home in the area, to visitors and the conservation charity is looking for more volunteers to help them do it.

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Discover the benefits of volunteering at Snowshill Manor and Garden

Visitors and room guide in the Turquoise Room at Snowshill Manor and Garden ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Would you like to make new friends?  Need a fresh challenge in your life?  Or want to develop your interests?

On 28 January, between 10am and 12.30pm, Snowshill Manor, just a couple of miles away from Broadway, will be hosting a drop in New Volunteer Day where you can discover what being a National Trust volunteer is all about and have an informal chat with staff and volunteers.

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Preparing for a blooming New Year at Dyrham Park

Tulips in the borders at Dyrham Park in previous years ©National Trust

Staff and volunteers have spent the last fortnight on the mammoth task of planting more than fourteen thousand spring bulbs at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire.

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Freezing conditions and heavy rain haven’t deterred their efforts to get the hyacinths and tulips in the ground ahead of the Christmas break so they’re ready to bloom next spring from March to May. Continue reading…

Cotehele’s garland celebrates diamond anniversary

Cotehele’s annual tradition of building a 60ft Christmas garland made up of thousands of flowers grown on the estate is turning 60 years old, and the team at the National Trust House and garden are celebrating.

In honour of its diamond year, the gardeners have been sowing secret plans all year to give it a new look, which today was revealed.

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ahhh!

picture by James Robbins

picture by James Robbins

Cotehele Ranger James Robbins discovered a dormouse in ‘a torpid state’ in a nest box on the National Trust estate nr Saltash in Cornwall,

during his autumn dormouse-check recently.

‘Dormice are fattening up for winter now,’ says James. ‘They gorge like mad on berries and nuts, especially hazel nuts, which they open in a characteristic fashion, then they sleep, then eat some more until finally they crawl under leaf litter at the base of trees for the winter hibernation. They’ll become active again in spring.’

The Wildlife Trust classifies dormice as a priority species in the UK.

Halloween fun with the National Trust

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

The mysteries of Halloween have brought out the creativity of the National Trust which is celebrating the end of October in very different ways.

Children are being invited to solve a mystery of missing beasts at Lacock, join a Halloween trail at Dyrham or explore a cat trail at Avebury during the half term fun.

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

Avebury Spooky Adventure (c)National Trust/Abby George

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