|A sure sign of spring, when the daffodils begin to flower|
There's no doubt about it - spring is in the air and the daffodils are beginning to bloom around the country. The nights are still cold, but if you listen, you'll hear the birds singing and on sunny days, the countryside looks as though it's waking up after winter, with the last vestiges of snowdrops in the hedgerows and crocuses adding colour to the landscape. All sure signs that the cold weather is behind us at last!
|Painshill Park, Surrey|
There's just a week to go and it's Mother's Day, so what better gift for families to give Mum than a visit to a British garden this year? The best news is that several around the country are offering free admission to mothers on Sunday, 18th March. National Trust properties offering free entry include Painshill Park in Surrey; Scotney Castle and Sheffield Park in East Sussex; and Mottistone Manor, Isle of Wight. All will be wearing their spring colours for this special day.
|Sheffield Park, East Sussex|
Many of the Cornish gardens are already in bloom, with fine displays of camellias and magnolias, including Caerhays Castle and Trewithen, but Trebah is the one that's offering free admission to Mums next Sunday to celebrate their special day. Nestling on the Roseland Peninsular, this is a spectacular garden to visit at any time of year, and has the added bonus of beach access if you're taking the kids along.
|Trebah Cornwall - famous for its spring flower displays and fernery|
The Savill Garden is also making a special effort for Mothers next week by offering free entry next Sunday. This garden is part of the Royal Landscape and particularly famous for its fabulous rhododendron displays and autumn colours - you'll also find plenty of spring bulbs in bloom here.
|Scotney Castle, East Sussex|
The National Botanic Garden of Wales offers colour throughout the year, thanks to its magnificent glass house (below). It is also celebrating Mums next weekend by offering them the chance to enjoy the gardens inside and out, free of charge on 18th March. And I suspect that if you visit once, you'll return, because this garden is quite exceptional!
|National Botanic Garden of Wales - where there's always something in flower in the massive glass house|
Other venues around the country making a special effort for mothers include Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire and the Trentham Estate in Staffordshire. I haven't visited either, but both are on my Wish List for later this year. In most cases, free admission is dependent on being accompanied by a paying visitor.