Winter can be a difficult time for many, and after the New Year celebrations, the dark, cold days, can get just too much. Well my friends, its okay, as a little flower will soon be appearing in its thousands to remind us that spring is just around the corner!
As Julie Andrews sings ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ from The Sound of Music’ – I have a list of my favourite things that I look forward to every year. High up on this list features the arrival of the snowdrop. Snowdrops are associated with the month of January, with the first sightings often as early as Christmas, but this year due to the extreme cold, I think I will need to wait just a bit longer to see one of nature’s finest displays. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I get, as I look forward to seeing this beauty every year.
Last year I visited the beautiful East Lambrook gardens in Somerset, and what a treat it was! As they specialise in snowdrops, they have a dedicated area with different varieties of snowdrops, such as the wonderfully named – Galanthus Nivalis Blewbury Tart, to help you identify them. I also had the pleasure of meeting other snowdrop enthusiasts in the garden, as we stood in awe of this delicate beauty. There is something about this flower that brings me great peace. As I sit and enjoy the moment, I often feel so happy, I can’t help but smile.
I have also had conversations with some people, who don’t know what all the fuss is about: I always encourage people to get up close and personal with these flowers, as normally you can’t see the delicate features inside the bell, unless you get close to them. What could seem like thousands of boring white and green flowers, can suddenly change into delight, as you admire the patterns, twists and twirls of the petals. One tip I heard many years ago, was to use a dental mirror, as they are angled perfectly to see inside the flower.
In the language of flowers the snowdrop stands for –
* A friend in adversity
‘I simply remember my favourite things and then I don’t feel so bad’
Just what we need at this time of year!
Do you know someone who is having a tough time? How about taking them to one of the many gardens around the country, which have special snowdrop days? A day out may help to bring a little joy into their dark days.
Want to know more about this fantastic flower?
- Snowdrops are known as Galanthus
- There are more than 100 species – you have to get close to these lovely flowers to appreciate the difference.
- There are single and doubled flower varieties
- Snowdrops grow best in dappled sunlight/shade under trees or shrubs, particularly deciduous.
- They can be grown in containers, so if you don’t have a garden, there is no need to miss out on this beauty.
- They prefer a well drained soil.
- Even though they flower at the beginning of the year, it’s important to care for them through the warmer months, making sure they don’t dry out.
- You can buy snowdrops as bulbs or ‘in the green.’ I have tried both and have to say we have been more successful planting snowdrops in the green. The term ‘in the green’ is snowdrops just after flowering.
- Over time snowdrops will spread naturally.
- A snowdrop enthusiast is known as a galanthophile
Gardens to visit to see the splendour of the snowdrop
Check the following websites for special snowdrop days.
- Aberglasney in Llangathen Wales
- Brandy Mount House in Hampshire – they hold the national collection.
- Cambro Estate in Fife Scotland – largest snowdrop collection in Scotland
- Colesbourne Park in Cheltenham
- East Lambrook Gardens in Somerset
- Finlaystone Country Estate – in Renfrewshire Scotland
- Heale House in Wiltshire – (they have a nice café too)
- Hodsock Priory Garden in Nottinghamshire – who have a special snowdrops by starlight event.
- Kew Gardens in Surrey
- RHS Gardens – Wisley holds the national collection,
- Painswick Rococo Gardens in Gloucestershire
- Snowdrop Valley in Exmoor
- Stourton Gardens in Wiltshire
- The Gardens of Easton Lodge in Essex
- The National Trust Kingston Lacey for example, in Dorset
- Welford Park in Berkshire
- Check out old church grounds – they are a perfect habitat for them
Fancy adding the glorious snowdrop to your garden or patio?
Here are some nurseries –
I encourage you to get out there to see the beauty of the snowdrop; it will make a great day out and bring a little hope to the cold dark days.
If you love snowdrops, where do you like to visit each year? Please add details and a link if possible, in the comments section below to let others know – many thanks.
If you are looking for me, you will probably find me surrounded by snowdrops, with Matt, my camera, sweetpea wellies and my little dog Brinkley (if he’s allowed)
‘These are a few of my favourite things’ lyrics quoted from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ‘The Sound Of Music’
Snowdrop image © Nita Joy Designs
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