Spring time in the UK is signaled for many people with the arrival of the snowdrop.
With it’s blue green foliage and delicate white flower, the snowdrop ( Galanthus ) is one of the first flowers to peep above the ice and snow of winter.
Throughout England, Scotland and Wales many villages, houses and public places celebrate the snowdrop with festivals and activities.
One of the major events, held for many years, is the Snowdrop Festival in Scotland.
This year the festival takes place from the 1 February to the 15 March.
Snowdrop walks and events
Ragley Hall, Warwickshire – Early in the season the bank boasts a spectacular show of welcome colour.
Colesbourne Park -near Cheltenham – Every Saturday and Sunday in February plus Saturday 5th March and Sunday 6th March 2011
Chippenham Park – Cambridgeshire – is a large country house with substantial gardens, lakes, woodland walks and parkland dating back to the 17th century. The display of naturalised snowdrops at Chippenham Park is probably the finest in East Anglia.
For years Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, was a local secret. Wheddon Cross is the highest village on Exmoor. You can now visit the area, and the snowdrops, using the Park and Ride scheme.
Rode Hall – Cheshire – A spectacular snowdrop display with over fifty varieties set in a Repton landscape. The mile-long Snowdrop Walk is a perfect stroll out in the fresh air for the whole family, amidst swathes of cascading white flowers.
Welford Park – Berkshire – Welford Park is at the heart of the Lambourn Valley and is home to the extraordinary seven acre drift of snowdrops.
Howick Hall Gardens – Visit the stunning Snowdrop Walks from 6th February onwards. The gardens and tea room are open every Wednesday – Sunday 10.30am – 4.00pm until 27th March. There is a large collection of snowdrops mainly planted between the wars by Lady Grey, who was a great bulb enthusiast; over time, a number of natural hybrid’s have evolved and multiplied.
Painswick Rococo Garden – The Rococo Garden has one of the largest naturalistic plantings of snowdrops in the country and is in many ways the spiritual home of Galanthus Atkinsii.
Benington Lordship Gardens – The gardens are famous for the huge drifts of naturalised Snowdrops that cover most of the moat and the grounds around the Norman castle and house in February & March.
Chelsea Physic Garden – The Garden boasts a collection of over 75 species, largely grouped together as a tribute to some of the most famous snowdrop breeders of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Goldsborough Hall’s first ever snowdrop day – Sunday, 20 February 2011 – This will be the first time the Hall will be open to visitors so early in the year and they are keen to attract Galanthophiles and gardeners with a keen interest in snowdrops, in the hope that they might be able to help identify some rare varieties in the 11 acres of garden.
National Trust properties
Many National Trust properties feature snowdrop walks. From Wiltshire to Yorkshire the dark, cold woodland floors will soon be carpeted with thousands of white blooms.
Stourhead – Wiltshire – Follow criss-crossing paths to enchanting temples, enjoy lakeside walks and spot the first signs of spring all around you.
Nymans – West Sussex – At the start of spring, wonderful displays of snowdrops as well as camellias and magnolias underplanted with a host of daffodils and grape hyacinths.
NGS – The National Garden Scheme has a few early opening gardens, some with over 50 species of snowdrop as well as cyclamen and helebores.
Orkney – Perhaps the most northerly of the snowdrop walks can be found at Binscarth Wood on mainland Orkney.
Gardening For Health – Find out more information about Snowdrops and how to grow them.