Carpet of cyclamen is early sign of spring
The cyclamen are out at Killerton House, lifting the spirits with a glorious carpet of vivid purple.
Now is the perfect time to catch the display in the gardens around the chapel at the National Trust stately home.
The magnificent spread of flowers started with just two corms planted under two huge tulip trees by Lady Anne Acland in 1963. The Aclands gave the Killerton estate, near Exeter, to the National Trust after the Second World War.
Head gardener Kate Tuke said the display was particularly magnificent this year. "They have been amazing, they are just so vibrant and bright and they really gladden your heart on a grey day," she said.
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Each year, the cyclamen spread further, as the gardeners avoid mowing the shady area beneath the trees until late summer, to allow the seedheads the chance to disperse their seed.
"It really is the way we manage them that allows them to spread," says Kate. "They are increasing in number every year, and drifting down the hill."
The cyclamen cover the shady ground beneath the two huge trees, which were planted more than 200 years ago by John Veitch, who designed the gardens during the 1770s.