Sunday, 23 January 2011

Top 10 National Trust Gardens For Snowdrops

In the dark months of January and February, delicate snowdrops join the evergreens to liven up the landscape. Watch the woodland floor transform as swathes of pure white snowdrops spring to life. Experience nature’s new beginnings and lift your spirits with a refreshing snowdrop stroll. Here are the National Trust’s top 10 gardens promising spectacular displays of snowdrops.

10. Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead, Wiltshire

In February, the grasslands are carpeted with the brilliant white at one of the most famous landscaped gardens in the world. Follow criss-crossing paths to enchanting temples, enjoy lakeside walks and spot the first signs of spring all around you.

9. Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

During Anglesey’s snowdrop season (24 January to 27 February) visit the grounds of this Jacobean house where 240 varieties of these lovely flowers flourish in the garden. There’s also the winter garden to enjoy with its coloured tree barks, winter flowering shrubs and ground cover plants.

8. Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Take a stroll in one of the North’s greatest gardens and discover the delights of Britain’s largest winter garden, where the white carpet will be rolled out for visitors. The garden contains almost 700 different plant species and a further 1,600 shrubs specifically bred for the 7 acre wonder.

January heralds the first early signs of spring with the delicate charms of snowdrops, where clusters of over 100,000 double and single snowdrops and 20,000 narcissi bloom amongst the trees.

7. The Argory, Co. Armagh

The Argory, Co. Armagh

With a backdrop of sweeping vistas, scenic walks and fascinating courtyard displays, come and see the stunning display of snowdrops and other superb spring bulbs on this riverside estate. Enjoy a gentle snowdrop walk as the frost thaws while children enjoy the adventure playground.

6. Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans, West Sussex

This 20th-century garden is famed for its amazing collection of rare and important plants. At the start of spring, spot wonderful displays of snowdrops as well as camellias and magnolias underplanted with a host of daffodils and grape hyacinths.

The bulb meadow in the Wall Garden is full of snowdrops and early narcissus and there are rare hellebores all around the garden.

5. Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

While the weather forecasters can't promise snow, Kingston Lacy can predict a dazzling blanket of snowdrops each winter. The garden wakes up in spectacular fashion in January and February when thousands of this favourite flower burst through the soil transforming the garden into a sea of white. Special snowdrop openings are a tradition at Kingston Lacy so visitors can wander through the displays and salute this first welcome sign of spring.

4. Belton House, Lincolnshire

Belton House, Lincolnshire

With delightful gardens, a luxuriantly planted Orangery and lakeside walks, Belton is a pleasure to explore all year round and never more so as the early signs of spring creep in. Don’t miss delicate displays of snowdrops that melt away winter.

3. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire

This World Heritage Site, set in 323 hectares of beautiful countryside, offers an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the range of England's heritage and natural beauty.

Walk on a white carpet of snowdrops in early spring as you explore the magnificent 12th-century abbey ruins and amble through the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal, complete with Neo-classical statues, follies and breathtaking views.

2. Attingham Park, Shropshire

Attingham Park, Shropshire

During Attingham’s snowdrop season (22 January - 27 February), watch the woodland floor transform into a stunning carpet of snowdrops.

Stroll around this great estate between Shrewsbury and the River Severn and enjoy abundant sprinkles of the delicate flowers in beautiful parkland, designed to impress.

1. Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

These award-winning gardens contain clipped yews, herbaceous borders, shrub and rock gardens, as well as a terrace with stunning views over the Cheshire and Salop plains. In early spring, don’t miss the drifts of snowdrops that dance through the woodland.

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