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Snowdrop days


by Kate Bradbury

I always get so much more from garden visiting in winter. It's such a novelty being outside and there's so much promise of things to come...


Galanthus 'S. Arnott' Last weekend my partner and I attended one of the special snowdrop days at Chelsea Physic Garden. Saturday was a beautiful, clear sunny day and it was great being outside among catkins, unfurling leaf buds, early bees and, of course, snowdrops (Galanthus spp.).

There were no vast swathes of naturalised snowdrops at Chelsea, but small clumps of different cultivars planted in a 'trail', which took us around the garden as we followed it. My favourite was 'S. Arnott', a lovely long-stemmed variety with a large flower and a subtle honey scent, but there were many different types, including double-flowered 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' and snowflakes, which aren't snowdrops at all but belong to the same family.

There was plenty more to see besides snowdrops. The wonderful scent of wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) was almost overpowering and there was a fantastic winter-flowering clematis, (Clematis cirrhosa) which put mine to shame. There were crocuses galore, hellebores, dwarf irises and - a special mention for James Alexander-Sinclair - winter aconites.

I always get so much more from garden visiting in winter. It's such a novelty being outside and there's such promise of things to come. I almost take gardens for granted in summer - I expect borders to be heaving with lush foliage and beautiful flowers - but it's the simple sight of something emerging from bare soil or a lone bee on a crocus in February that really lifts my spirits.

While snowdrop days at Chelsea Physic Garden are over for another year, there are plenty of snowdrop days still going on up and down the country. But be quick - most of them only run for another week.

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Cambo Estate, Scotland

Eastern Walled Gardens, Lincolnshire

Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire

Painswick Rocco Garden, Gloucestershire

Rode Hall, Congleton

Snowdrop Valley, Somerset



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Gardeners' World Web User 18/02/2011 at 13:17

Hackthorn Estate in Lincoln are having one on Sunday. http://www.hackthorn-estate.co.uk/13755.html

Gardeners' World Web User 18/02/2011 at 20:02

When does gardeners world return to for a new series, i'm missing it so bad

Gardeners' World Web User 18/02/2011 at 21:24

Don't you just love the site of all these beautiful early flowers popping up all over the place, whilst it's still freezing your socks off.

Gardeners' World Web User 19/02/2011 at 09:09

I love this time of year as well, although I'm too much of a wuss to go out if it's too cold or rainy! Given some winter sun, enough to recurve the petals of the crocuses and I'm in heaven. :)

Gardeners' World Web User 19/02/2011 at 11:49

A. Arnott is our favourite here too!!! We got some from a friend, who has since died, but the snowdrops live on, and we think of our friend every year when they come out.

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