AS one of the first flowers to break through the thawing ground and raise their head, the humble snowdrop signals the end of winter and the promise of brighter spring days.
With their early bloom, the delicate “flower of hope” carpets woodlands, meadows, churchyards, and gardens across the south-east of England. Here’s where to see some of them …
Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hampshire – Guided Tours: 7-8 & 14-15 February: Drifts of snowdrops appear along the banks of the Font stream of this former priory, where the warmer water creates its own micro-climate. Elsewhere, the open acres of the river garden are transformed by drifts of purest white.
Wakehurst, Haywards Heath, West Sussex: Wakehurst, Kew's country estate in West Sussex, has a mass planting of Galanthus Nivalis bulbs the common snowdrop.
Welford Park, West Berkshire: Snowdrops were often planted by Norman monks resulting in impressive displays at monastic sites including Welford Park in West Berkshire. The display in the beach wood covers five acres bordering the River Lambourn.
Sissinghurst, Cranbrook, Kent: The National Trust's Sissinghurst Estate is the place to explore at any time of year, and winter is no exception. The team at Sissinghurst has been bulking up a dozen other types of snowdrop in the nursery to add to the varieties already seen along the banks of the moat.
Gilbert White's House and Gardens, Selborne, East Hampshire – Snowdrop Weekend: 7-8 February: The display includes the Galanthus Nivalis, Galanthus Plicatus, and Galanthus Elwisii varieties.
Nymans, Handcross, West Sussex – Guided tour 30th January: An exclusive guided tour with the head gardener will ensure visitors catch all of the seasonal highlights of the garden and arboretum, including snowdrops, camellias, and magnolias. The bulb meadow in the walled garden is also full of snowdrops.
Runnymede, Old Windsor, Berkshire: There will be vast clusters of snowdrops in the historic meadow of Runnymede, where Magna Carta was signed and famed as the birthplace of modern democracy.
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Picture Credit: 'The House at Nymans, West Sussex' Richard Rogerson via Wikimedia Commons.