Twenty years ago, an enterprising garden lover decided to create a small exhibition to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first tulips to be grown in the UK. To mark the event, he planted 3000 tulips in his garden. His event was such a success that James Sellick decided to create an annual Tulip Festival and currently his garden at Pashley Manor in East Sussex, has a staggering 26,000 tulips in full bloom!
We filmed it this week for a special show to be broadcast on QVC in September. It was a gloriously sunny day and the tulips looked simply spectacular. I interviewed the Head Gardener, Keith Boylett, who is an inspiration to any youngster considering gardening as a career. Keith started at Pashley Manor as a weekend lad at the age of 15, joined full time when he left school, worked through the ranks and was appointed Head Gardener at the incredibly young age of 22!
He and his team are tending one of the most beautiful and most atmospheric gardens in the UK, and they're doing it proud! Do visit it if you can, when the tulips finish, cosmos and other bedding annuals take over, followed by cannas and dahlias for mid-to-late summer colour. It's got a great cafe and some stunning statues too.
Back home, I've been planting up my summer containers and growing them on in my greenhouse until the last frosts finish (hopefully quite soon). My tomato plants are romping away and need planting into their final pots but I won't start feeding them Flower Power until the first truss starts to set.
Everything else is being fed though, from sweet peas to blackberries. My main challenge for the Bank Holiday weekend was getting on top of the weeding so I sprayed my Double Action weed killer because thankfully the weather was dry enough. Slugs and snails are a nightmare too, luckily I got in a batch of my special pet and wildlife-safe slug pellets in, so I'll be scattering those everywhere, especially around the young shoots of my dahlias.