World’s largest collection of hyacinths bloom


These dazzling pictures show the world’s largest collection of hyacinths bursting into bloom – proving that Spring has arrived in Britain at last.

World's largest collection of hyacinths bloom

Green-fingered Alan Shipp, 73, has been custodian of one of only two National Collections of Hyacinths since 1989 and has more than 200,000 flowering bulbs.

He grows over 180 different varieties on his two-acre farm, including eight new varieties grown from bulbs sent to him from enthusiasts in Lithuania and Holland.

Grandfather-of-one Alan said: ”Growing and looking after these flowers is my absolute pride and joy.

”I didn’t have any flowers 25 years ago but now I’ve got thousands and to be one of the foremost experts on the oldest varieties is something which makes me very proud.”

Alan was the third generation owner of a struggling potato farm when he began growing and selling a handful of hyacinth blooms in 1985.

He started out by buying 200kg of bulbs from Holland for around £500, but began to splice his own unique varieties as his gardening skills improved.

Within a few years he was exporting them to impressed experts and collectors in the US from his farm in Waterbeach, Cambs.

Alan’s collection is open to the public this weekend from 11am to 5pm.


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