Liberation, Escape and Rhapsody of Smiles on show at Spring Bulb Festival

Nature, well-being and the Great Outdoors are set to combine this spring as award-winning Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire prepares for its annual Bulb Festival with an inspirational theme of renewal and freedom.

After a winter of lockdowns, Trentham aims to literally push the boat out with a sensory explosion of colour, fragrance, and a sense of freedom from enjoying the outdoors by creating a stunning floral display for Spring 2021.

One of England’s most visited paid for gardens, Trentham is promising an even bigger display with thousands of extra bulbs – including six new ‘hanging basket’ boat displays on the Capability Brown-designed lake.

A kaleidoscope of jewel colours combined with fragrant flowers will fill the garden with the sights and smells of Spring in pots dotted around the 10 acres of Italianate Gardens, with bees and early season butterflies flitting amongst the flowers.

Launched in 2019 with a riot of colour, the annual Spring Bulb Festival became a ‘must see’ event, and even though Trentham had to take the event online in 2020 because of lockdown, virtual visitors still flocked to check out the time lapse videos and images.

Now, hopes are high that Trentham will once again be able to welcome visitors for 2021’s spring spectacular, although there are plans in place to go virtual, if necessary.

And the popular tourist attraction, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, hopes to offer visitors a chance to escape into the Great Outdoors and enjoy time together outside the house, while being ‘wowed’ by the sights, sounds and smells of spring.

Trentham’s talented team of gardeners has been busy throughout autumn adding more than 61,000 extra bulbs, and little did they know how the names of the chosen varieties would resonate so much in 2021 with ‘Liberation’, ‘Escape’, ‘Happy Family’, ‘Day Dream’ and ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’ being amongst the aptly-named bulbs to spot.

Every year, nature provides its own special display at this time of year, thanks to the natural planting around the gardens and woodlands, but hundreds of pots brimming with colourful flowers, create an even more stunning sight for visitors.

Spring colour from renowned garden designer Nigel Dunnett’s mosaic woodland meadows bring the joy of nature to Trentham, with thousands of spring flowering primroses, wood anemones and woodland garden favourites in pastel harmonies,

Adding extra colour and fragrance, the Trentham 2021 Bulb Festival, which is centred around Trentham’s famed Italian Gardens, is rich and vibrant in colour and fragrances, aimed at helping to create a much-needed uplifting mindfulness moment for visitors.

New bulb planting over the winter comes on top of the 77,000-plus bulbs planted for the last two festivals. Tulips in a whole range of colours will, of course, be among the stars of the show, but other highlights will be new displays in the Rose Border and Trellis Walk. The Rose Border is a favourite sunny location for photos and outdoor socialising, with 5,000 spring and early summer flowering bulbs combined with more than 12,000 bulbs planted in British manufactured pots to create the highly popular ‘pink walk’.

For the Perseus Walk, more than 12,000 bulbs, combined with spring bedding and foliage perennials, will provide a rich colour palette. In addition, benches will be surrounded by pots filled with scented and colourful displays, offering the perfect spot for visitors to sit and enjoy views across the lake, woodlands and the Italian Gardens.

Adding the fragrance of spring will be sweetly scented Narcissus and Hyacinths planted into the Balustrade borders to create a permanent Spring display, alongside 2,000 bulbs in pots banked on the Balustrade Steps.

Making Memories’ photo points will appear around the gardens too, surrounded by pots of different coloured flowers as the season matures – offering a ‘living’ photo frame for family snaps, with special arrangements for Mother’s Day and at Easter.

Trentham’s famous fairy sculptures will also be joining in the fun, with ‘Tranquil’ surrounded by 700 bulbs planted into the grass around her sunbathing area.

As well as creating dazzling displays, Trentham hopes the Bulb Festival will also inspire visitors to create their own displays too, with bulbs zoned in different colour palettes to offer ideas to try at home. Throughout the garden, menus for the planters are displayed to inspire visitors for their own plantings next Autumn.

For 2021, a Spring Activity Pack for children will also be available to pre-book or purchase on arrival, which includes a History Hunt, Fairy Trail, Pencil, sticker, and Spring Spotter which has a Spring Flower Rainbow and a Wildlife Spring baby theme.

For more spring sights, Trentham’s heritage breeds of sheep have been brought in from their conservation grazing on the estates Woodland Pastures to lamb adjacent to the main gardens on what were once Trentham’s Georgian Deer Lawns. The flocks of Herdwick, Jacob and Hebridean sheep will be lambing in April with special socially distanced arrangements in place enabling families to see the lambs and ewes.

The best time to see the Spring Bulb Festival in full bloom is April-May.

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