Belfast Telegraph

Glenarm Castle: It's time to tiptoe through tulips

By Linda Stewart

Hard-working gardeners at Glenarm Castle have planted more than 7,000 tulip bulbs in preparation for the estate's eighth annual Tulip Festival next weekend.

Head gardener James Wharry says the tulips are doing well this spring and everyone is hoping no big storms come along this weekend to undo all their hard work ahead of the event from May 3-5.

"It has been a mild winter and they are coming on very well," he said. "We're hoping we don't get a storm at the weekend."

The gardeners, brothers James and Billy, have worked hard to make sure the Glenarm Castle Tulip Festival grows in vibrancy every year, planting thousands of bulbs every autumn.

"I have worked at Glenarm Castle for many years. During this time I have had the privilege to service the beautiful gardens as head gardener along with my brother Billy," James said.

"In my opinion, Glenarm is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it's never more beautiful than during the Tulip Festival.

"Billy and I are lucky to work with the world-renowned Bloms Bulbs to pick out the best bulbs and to give them a specific location in the walled garden.

"Location is key as the tulip colours need to blend and work together if we are to create an effective display. It is such a delight to see visitors relax and enjoy our work during the festival."

James said his particular favourites this spring were Honeymoon, a white tulip with frilly ends, which looks breathtaking planted alongside the purple and white Rems Favourite.

It's looking good for next weekend as Glenarm Castle welcomed some 1,100 visitors on Easter Monday.

The festival also marks the official opening of the Walled Garden and tea room season.

On bank holiday Monday, the Glenarm Express will carry visitors to the castle for guided tours of the home of the Earls of Antrim by the castle butler and staff.

The festival will include local crafts, music, food and a representative from Bloms Bulbs to discuss bulb requirements for the year.

Reg Maxwell, former head gardener of Belfast's Botanic Gardens, will offer advice.

Ticket prices are adults £5, youth (12-16 years) £2.50 and children under 12 free. Guided tours of the castle on Monday are £6.

For more, log on to www.glenarmcastle.com.

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