So quiet, you could hear a snow­drop

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country - Edited by An­nun­ci­ata Wal­ton

MANY, many wel­comes,/fe­bru­ary fair-maid!’: never did Ten­nyson pen a truer sen­ti­ment. Af­ter months of dark days, we ap­plaud the ar­rival of cheer­fully nod­ding snow­drops to en­liven the sod­den path to spring.

As ever, the Chelsea Physic Gar­den will boast an abun­dance (more than 120 cul­ti­vars) ear­lier than the rest of the coun­try, be­cause of its uniquely warm mi­cro­cli­mate —talks, walks and work­shops from Jan­uary 28 to Fe­bru­ary 3 (www.chelsea­physic­gar­den.co.uk).

Be­yond the cap­i­tal and thrilled with 2016’s turnout, the NGS will con­tinue its new tra­di­tion with a sec­ond an­nual Snow­drop Fes­ti­val. More than 80 NGS gar­dens across the coun­try will open their gates dur­ing Fe­bru­ary, some of which have as many as 300 va­ri­eties. De­tails can be found at www.ngs.org.uk.

More than 50 gar­dens will open for the Scot­tish Snow­drop Fes­ti­val (Jan­uary 28 to March 12), in­clud­ing Scone Palace, Culzean Cas­tle and Dry­burgh Abbey (www.visits­cot­land.com) and de­mure ‘milk flow­ers’, as the Latin name Galan­thus trans­lates, will pop­u­late Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties in all their glory. These in­clude An­gle­sey Abbey, Cam­bridgeshire, with more than 300 va­ri­eties (Jan­uary 23 to Fe­bru­ary 26); Pet­worth House’s 700 acres in West Sus­sex, where pure white is in­ter­min­gled with wild yel­low prim­roses, cro­cuses and win­ter aconites (un­til early March); Hard­wick, Der­byshire, where snow­drop plant­ing orig­i­nally spelled out the names of the 6th Duke’s nieces—blanche, Anne, Dorothy and Maud (now more of an il­leg­i­ble, but beau­ti­ful sprawl); Dun­ham Massey, Cheshire, home to more than 1,600 win­ter shrubs, trees and ever­greens cho­sen for scent, colour and tex­ture; and Springhill, Co Lon­don­derry, with walks and talks (Fe­bru­ary 4 to 26). Visit www.na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/lists/top-spots-for-snow­drops for in­for­ma­tion on these and more. The web­site www. greatbri­tish­gar­dens.co.uk also has ex­cel­lent list­ings.

Snow­drops can be en­joyed at fes­ti­vals and dis­plays through­out the coun­try

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