Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography 

Ann Evans is eagerly awaiting the first signs of spring when those snowdrops start peeking through.

 

Pic Snowdrops at Ragley Hall Warwickshire Photo by Rob Tysall

Snowdrops at Ragley Hall Warwickshire Photo by Rob Tysall

We know spring is on the way when the green shoots of snowdrops push their way through the cold wintery earth. And what could be better to blow away any winter blues than to wrap up warm and visit a beautiful garden with its carpet of snowdrops, hellebores and other early spring flowers.

The National Garden Scheme Snowdrop Festival features over 100 gardens throughout England and Wales where you can enjoy this wondrous display through the chilly months of January, February and March. And in addition to having a refreshing walk to blow away the winter cobwebs, your visit to a NGS garden will be helping to raise money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cakes.

 

Pic So delicate yet so robust Photo by Rob Tysall

So delicate yet so robust Photo by Rob Tysall

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme, says: “Over the last few years the National Garden Scheme’s Snowdrop Festival has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to gardens. But garden visiting at this time of year isn’t just for galanthophiles who are looking to discover a rare variety of snowdrop in gardens they may never otherwise find.  Snowdrops are the perfect antidote to the winter blues and spending the afternoon at one of our Snowdrop Festival gardens is the ideal opportunity to get outside and enjoy some spectacular scenes at an otherwise gloomy time of year.”

George Plumptre goes on to say: “What is it about snowdrops? Every year they reappear with unfailing regularity, popping up just as winter has got to the stage when we all long for it to end, to tell us that there really is something cheerful about February. And despite their apparent delicacy, small white flowers on short slender stems, they are unfailingly robust; often pushing through inches of snow and flowering for weeks on end, showing none of the weather-affected temperamentality that makes growing so many plants a nail-biting exercise.

 

Pic Enjoy early spring flowers Photo by Rob Tysall

Enjoy early spring flowers Photo by Rob Tysall

“They also provide one of the most memorable links between gardens and our natural landscape. Because of their ability to spread or ‘naturalise’ over large areas if left undisturbed, especially in favourable sites such as typical native English woodland, they can produce spectacular carpets of white that are made all the more enthralling by the starkness that surrounds them.

“With such enticement, it is not surprising that people will put on hats, gloves and wellies and head out to enjoy such heart-warming pleasure at a time of year when often they have been confined indoors for weeks on end. And over the coming weeks there are gardens opening all over England and Wales, more than 100 in all, which will welcome you and enable you to enjoy one of our great garden-visiting treats.”

 

Pic First signs of spring Photo by Rob Tysall

First signs of spring Photo by Rob Tysall

Founded in 1927 to support district nurses, the National Garden Scheme has since donated a total of £58 million to nursing and health charities. They are in fact, the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK. Their beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The NGS gives visitors unique access to over 3,700 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, but it isn’t just about opening beautiful gardens for charity – they are passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of gardens too. They also fund projects which promote gardens and gardening as therapy, and in 2017, they launched their annual Gardens and Health Week to raise awareness of the topic.

The NGS Snowdrop Festival runs between 1st-28th February however a few gardens are open for snowdrops in late January and early March too.

To find your perfect snowdrop garden, visit ngs.org.uk/snowdrops