This famous historic garden is awash with colorful spring tulips

Erin Browne

Gardening the grounds of the monumental Norman stronghold of Arundel Castle  is not for the faint hearted, and a bold and inventive approach has realized a series of astonishing gardens.

While on an immense scale, many of the design elements can be reduced down to a domestic scale and incorporated alongside other garden ideas to inspire your own planting plans.

tulips beds and clipped topiary hedges at arundel castle gardens in spring

(Image credit: Marianne majerus)

The 18th Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, Edward and Georgina Fitzalan-Howard have, since 2002, revolutionized the traditionally classical english garden of Arundel Castle

The Howards commissioned garden design partners, Isobel and Julian Bannerman, to create some fabulous head turners.

arundel castle gardens labyrinth of red and white tulips

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The subtropical Labyrinth Garden is one of these. Previously a large lawn, the Bannerman’s introduced exotic windmill palms, Trachycarpus fortunei and the lawn now forms a grassy labyrinth planted with swirls of more than 20,000 flame-red Tulipa ‘Oxford’ and ‘Apeldoorn’ against masses of ash-white, scented Narcissus ‘Thalia’. 

In a nod to naturalistic planting design, ‘The spring bulbs are left to naturalize; many tulips come back, surviving around 3 years. The 5,000 strong annuals plug those gaps,’ explains head gardener, Martin Duncan.

wisteria and tulips pots in mediterranean garden borders at arundel castle gardens in spring

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Running with the tropical garden ideas, Martin quadrupled the palms in the Collector Earl’s Garden and piled in hundreds more exotics, such as huge cannas, banana plants and echium. ‘Size, shape and texture are key; color adds the final wow,’ he explains. 

tiered tulip displays in box parterre at arundel castle gardens in spring

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Martin takes full credit for Arundel’s spectacular spring bulb bonanza, with his team of seven gardeners plus volunteers planting a massive 1.3 million bulbs in a single decade.

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