Where to enjoy the snowdrops in and around Cambridgeshire
It’s peak snowdrop season this month and there are several places in Cambridgeshire to enjoy a sumptuous display of the flowers.
The snowdrop collection at the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey hosts more than 270 individual varieties in their winter garden and along the woodland path. Enthusiasts can also sign up for a guided tour of the abbey’s specialist collection which contains rare snowdrops, including varieties directly linked with the abbey.
David Jordan, senior gardener at Anglesey Abbey, said: “We always say the best time to see the snowdrops is half-term, which is next week, but they are already looking wonderful.
“I think people are attracted to our specialist collection because of the variation you can see in the flowers. You’ve got a typical flower with three outer petals and three inner petals. Then you’ve got a whole lot of variations in between. So you can have green markings on the inner petals or outer petals or yellow markings.
“They are one of the first signs of spring. We’ve usually been through a cold and wet period and all of a sudden they offer a bit of hope. And of course Candlemass on February 2 is associated with snowdrops and that’s the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.”
Anglesey Abbey now has so many varieties of the flowers that they can be spotted between October and March blooming in the grounds.
Mr Jordan explained: “People have been hybridising autumn flowering snowdrops with the spring ones so we’ve we start seeing snowdrops in October. The plants start growing in August. So although some people think they have spotted an early snowdrop due to the climate changing, actually the different varieties can come out sooner than expected.”
He reveals the secret to a successful snowdrop season is to make sure they are planted in the right spot.
“They don’t like to be kept in deep shade, so they’re best grown in dappled shade, under a deciduous tree. They also don’t like to grow in grass too much, because there’s too much competition. So plant them in bare soil and regular mulching with compost that helps them a lot.”
Anglesey Abbey’s specialist guided tours are all now fully booked, but you can see the snowdrops on a regular visit.
There are also huge displays at Chippenham Park, which is open until April 1 for visitors to view the vast carpets of snowdrops, followed by daffodils, miniature iris and hellebores. The entrance fee is cash only. Visit chippenhamparkgardens.info.
Wimpole Estate boasts a large collection of snowdrops in its grounds too, along with aconites throughout the Pleasure Grounds. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate.
And visitors to Wandlebury Country park can also spot several varieties of the delicate flower in its woodlands. Visit cambridgeppf.org.