So quiet, you could hear a snowdrop
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