Flowering snowdrops traditionally herald the end of winter and provide welcome assurance that the brighter days of spring are on their way. Their latin name, Galanthus, means milk flower and on warm days they release a fragrance.
Matthew Oates, Nature and Wildlife expert for the National Trust, comments: “It is always a joy when the first snowdrops break through the frozen ground. Along with aconites and primroses, they are the harbingers of spring. The flowers themselves arrive later in pure white glory and, on mild, late winter days, are beloved by honey bees. They are best seen in half-light and, of course, amidst the winter snow.”
For a landscape designed without flowers, there are an awful lot of snowdrops at Stowe. So many, that there’s even a season named after them. Stowedrop season can start as early as New Year’s Day and go on until late February. The gardeners think the tiny white flowers appeared naturally, and have allowed them to remain and proliferate because they provide such a welcome spectacle at the beginning of the year.
Stowe has a snowdrop watch article on its website so that visitors can track their progress for peak blooming. Stowe has also produced a map with the best places to see the snowdrops in the garden which visitors can pick up from reception or download from the website.
Before Cliveden’s fantastic spring bedding displays burst into bloom, you can console yourself on a winter walk with gentle drifts of snowdrops, including the double-petalled variety, Flore Pleno. The snowdrops are mostly found on the west-facing side of the garden. They bloom on high ground on top of an escarpment that runs down to the edge of the River Thames on the Berkshire/Buckinghamshire border.
Cliveden has a snowdrop watch article on its website so that visitors can track their progress for peak blooming.