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Announcing our Spring Flower Festival

30 Mar 2021

In autumn 2019, we planted 9360 tulips and daffodils amongst the perennials in our brand-new garden at The Hepworth Wakefield. These bulbs were intended as a celebratory display for our very first spring in 2020 – of course as things turned out – the coronavirus lockdown was announced just as the bulbs began to bloom. The gallery had to close its doors and all our special events were cancelled. However, as our garden is a uniquely free and open public space in the city centre, it has been able to remain open throughout the last turbulent year.

The sheer luminosity of the tulips and a sense of new life brought hope to those uncertain months and the bulbs were a joy for all who were able to see them. Fortunately our Cultural Gardener lives close to the garden and was able to continue tending to the young perennials during that unseasonably warm and dry spring. Having added another 40,000 flowering bulbs to the display last autumn, we are not taking any chances this year and will be bringing the garden to you in the form of an online festival celebrating our spring flowers. Over two weeks between 19 April and 2 May we will host a series of online talks and workshops, provide tips on caring for your own spring flowers and share gorgeous new photographs as the garden bursts into colour.

Creating year-round interest has been central to the design of our garden and during the first year, visitors have delighted in watching the planting change, such that every fortnight there is something new to see in bloom. The combination of the large number of new bulbs with those that we put in last year, bring spectacular waves of successional colour from the very earliest months of the year. We are incredibly grateful to the Finnis Scott Foundation who have supported us with a grant to buy this year’s bulbs, which are primarily Scilla sibirica, Chionodoxa luciliae, Puschkinia libanotica, Anemone blanda and Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’. We have also planted 2,000 extra tulips, including robust varieties such as ‘Mariette’ and ‘Negrita’ which we hope may be perennial for us. To complete the picture, 10,000 snowdrops were planted in-the-green, in January, which will reward us in future years with large carpets of white flowers at the beginning of each year.

We are very grateful to our brilliant team of committed garden volunteers who have helped us in this huge mission and have been vital in all stages of the process, from counting the bulbs in the shed, to digging thousands into the ground. As one of our volunteers said – with each bulb ‘we are digging our energy and care into the soil’ and this will come back to reward us with hope and new life, just when we need it in the still cold months of early spring.

We look forward to sharing The Hepworth Wakefield Garden’s second spectacular spring with you 19 April – 2 May 2021.