Gar­dens Snow­drops in spring

RTÉ Guide - - Contents -

One of the best-loved spring flow­ers has to be the snow­drop. It’s one of those flow­ers guar­an­teed to bring a smile, es­pe­cially on a cold win­ter’s morn­ing. Snow­drops aren’t dif­fi­cult to grow and if you have an over­crowded group, di­vide and trans­plant im­me­di­ately af­ter flow­ers have fin­ished. This method is known as mov­ing them ‘in the green’. Just pre­pare a spot for plant­ing by adding some well-rot­ted home­made com­post or leaf mould. Snow­drops ap­pre­ci­ate a po­si­tion in sun­light but they will also grow in semi-shade. Good drainage is es­sen­tial – if they’re left in soil that re­tains too much wa­ter the bulbs may rot. There are many hun­dreds of snow­drop va­ri­eties and avid col­lec­tors are are known as ‘galan­thophiles’ – de­rived from the sci­en­tific name Galan­thus. Galan­thophiles have for many years at­tended the an­nual Car­low Snow­drop Fes­ti­val, which this year has been ex­tended to run through the en­tire month of Fe­bru­ary. The fes­ti­val gives vis­i­tors a chance to see the ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of snow­drops held in the beau­ti­ful Al­ta­mont Gar­dens near Tul­low in Co Car­low. This unique col­lec­tion was started by the gar­den’s orig­i­nal owner Corona North and now has over 100 named va­ri­eties. An evening of talks dur­ing the fes­ti­val will take place on Fe­bru­ary 1 at Bal­lykealy Manor Ho­tel, with con­tri­bu­tions from head gar­dener at Al­ta­mont, Paul Cut­ler and gar­dener and galan­thophile, As­sumpta Broom­field.

The an­nual Snow­drop Gala, or­gan­ised by Ro­be­trt Miller of Al­ta­mont Plant Sales and Hester Forde of Coosheen Gar­dens, takes place at Bal­lykealy Manor Ho­tel on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 2. It show­cases snow­drops and other spring plants with talks by ex­perts and a chance to buy some rare and un­usual spring flow­er­ing gems – the per­fect way to emerge from win­ter hi­ber­na­tion. Pre-book­ing is es­sen­tial at [email protected]­ta­mont­ or hes­ter­[email protected]

Al­ta­mont Gar­dens are open daily with free ad­mis­sion from 9am to 4.30pm. The Old Yard Café at the Walled Gar­den is open for hot drinks and home­made cakes through­out the month. Paul Cut­ler will con­duct tours of the gar­den’s snow­drop col­lec­tion each Mon­day, Wed­nes­day, and Fri­day through­out Fe­bru­ary at 2pm, cost­ing just €3 per per­son.

Tweet Der­mot @der­mot­gar­dens

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