Monday, 31 January 2011

10 Renewable Energy Sources that Save the World

Energy is an inevitable requirement where we want development to take place. Many naturally occurring phenomenons contribute to producing this energy without damaging the environment. They are called renewable energy sources and they help to avoid pollution; both in urban and inaccessible locations on large and small scales. They form a sort of cycle without the deduction of any resource to generate the energy.

10. Tidal Power

tidal-energy-power

The tidal power is not a very popular energy source, but has immense potential of becoming one in the near future. Tidal stream generators and barrage generation make use of tidal power. It is Eco-friendly and does not harm the environment at all. It follows the same principle as wind turbines, but instead of air, the generators rotate in water. Unlike wind and solar energy, tides can be predicted. Since time immemorial, tide mills have been driven directly from the relative motions of the Earth–Moon system and to a lesser extent from the Earth–Sun system. Lunar Energy, a British company was the first to establish a tidal farm in the coast of Pembrokshire in Wales, providing electricity to thousands of houses.

9. Wave Power

wave-power

Predicting the direction of ocean and wave is a very difficult job, but is not impossible. Wave power is the transport of energy by ocean surface waves, and the capture of that energy for pumping or desalinating water and generating electricity. In Europe, wave farms have been introduced, using floating Pelamis Wave Energy converters. They use a floating buoyed device and generate energy through a snaking motion, or by mechanical movement from the wave’s peaks and troughs. Wave power is not the same as the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents, although it is confused to be so often. We have been pursuing this technology since 1890 and the world’s first commercial wave farm is based in Portugal, at the Agu├žadora Wave Park, which consists of three 750 kilowatt Pelamis devices.

8. Solar Power

solar-energy

Producing electricity by making use of the sun’s energy and the photovoltaic (PV) cells is called the Solar Technology. Solar cells are becoming more efficient, transportable and even flexible, allowing for easy installation. Let it be a calculator powered by a single solar cell or off-grid homes powered by photovoltaic disarray; PV can power applications of all sizes. The 1973 oil crisis stimulated a rapid rise in the production of PV during the 1970s and early 1980s. Steadily falling oil prices during the early 1980s, however, led to a reduction in funding for photovoltaic R&D and a discontinuation of the tax credits associated with the Energy Tax Act of 1978. These factors moderated growth to approximately 15% per year from 1984 through 1996. Since the mid-1990s, leadership in the PV sector has shifted from the US to Japan and Germany.

7. Wind Power

wind-energy

Wind farms installed on agricultural land or grazing areas, have one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources. Wind turbines are used to convert wind energy into electrical or mechanical energy. Wind energy has historically been used directly to propel sailing ships or converted into mechanical energy for pumping water or grinding grain, but the principal application of wind power today is the generation of electricity. Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ireland; Europe is leading the world in the production of offshore wind power. United States and China’s priority was on land wind resources where construction costs are lower but transmission costs are less where population centers along coastlines are near offshore wind sources.

6. Hydroelectricity

hydro-energy

This is the most widely used form of renewable energy. The gravitation force of falling water is the key point in hydroelectricity generation. In remote areas, small scale hydro plants are installed in rivers and streams with little effect to the fish or environment. Instead of dams to diverge the water, water wheels generate energy for specific industrial purposes. Dedicated hydroelectric projects are often built to provide the substantial amounts of electricity needed for aluminium electrolytic plants, for example. In Suriname, the Brokopondo Reservoir was constructed to provide electricity for the Alcoa aluminium industry. New Zealand’s Manapouri Power Station was constructed to supply electricity to the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point.

5. Radiant Energy

radial-energy

99% of the cost of normal electricity can be saved by the use of radiant energy. It performs the same functions, but does not possess behavior identical to electricity. The Methernitha Community in Switzerland currently has 5 or 6 working models of fuel less, self-running devices that tap this energy. Nikola Tesla’s magnifying transmitter, T. Henry Moray’s radiant energy device, Edwin Gray’s EMA motor, and Paul Baumann’s Testatika machine all run on radiant energy. Fractionation is a method of collecting natural energy from surroundings or extracting it from electricity. Nikola Tesla built one of the earliest wireless telephones to be based on radiant energy. The resonances of the transmitters and receivers of the device were tuned to the same frequency, allowing them to communicate.

4. Geothermal Power

geothermal-power

Geothermal power extracts earthly energy through natural processes providing heat to either a single residential unit or producing energy through a geothermal power plant. Its cost effectiveness, reliability, and environmental friendliness has no longer limited it to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Home heating has encouraged the range and size of viable resources to expand considerably. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California, United States. Most of the cost of electrical plants goes to drilling since it does not require any fuel. At present 24 countries are making use of this technology and potential sites are into consideration.

3. Biomass

biomass

Living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production can be classified as biomass. Dead trees, branches, yard clippings, woodchips bio-fuel, biodegradable wastes, many types of plants including miscanthus, switch grass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil), all come under the flag of biomass. The type of plant affects the process, although the end products are pretty much the same. This industry is growing, reducing the reliance on oil by more than one million barrels per year, and by recycling sugar cane and wood waste, preserves landfill space in urban communities. 0.5 percent of the U.S. electricity supply comes from biomass power generating establishments.

2. Compressed Natural Gas

If you need fossil fuel replacement for gasoline, diesel, or propane, Compressed Natural Gas is the solution for you. It is cleaner and safer to use as it diffuses easily into the surroundings if leaked. However, burning it does release a few greenhouse gases in the air. CNG is used in traditional gasoline internal combustion engine cars that have been converted into bi-fuel vehicles (gasoline/CNG). These are becoming widely known in Europe and South America due to increasing gasoline costs. Light-duty passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, medium-duty delivery trucks, transit and school buses, and trains are also making use of CNG as a result ofhigh fuel prices and environmental concerns.

1. Nuclear Power

Nuclear-Power

Nuclear fission is used to extract usable energy from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions. Utility scale reactors are use to produce steam which is then converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion. Some say that Nuclear power reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing dependence on foreign oil while others argue that nuclear power is a potentially dangerous energy source. Much debate is going on about its usage although in 2007 14% of the world’s electricity came fromnuclear power; US, France and Japan playing a major role in this. France reprocesses its nuclear waste to reduce its mass and make more energy. Reprocessing can potentially recover up to 95% of the remaining uranium and plutonium in spent nuclear fuel, putting it into new mixed oxide fuel.

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Saturday, 29 January 2011

5-ft Monitor Lizard Found Wandering the Streets of California

Lizardjpg 01

Tuesday, Jan. 25th, 2011: A 5-ft black-throated monitor lizard was found wandering around a residential neighbourhood in Riverside, California. People from Massachusetts Avenue were shocked to find a huge alligator-like creature sharing the sidewalk with them that afternoon.

Elmerjpg 02

The Riverside County Department of animal services received a call in the late afternoon about this wandering lizard. Later that day, the ‘Godzilla-like’ lizard was all over news, including a prominent placement as one of Yahoo’s top stories of the day.

Spokesman John Welsh said: "People were stunned by the size of this thing.” It took a while to catch the lizard and put the hissing monster with a sharp, lashing tail back in the truck. Back at the shelter house, the lizard was well behaved, which made animal services believe that perhaps the lizard was someone’s pet and might have managed to escape its cage somehow.

The black-throated monitor lizard is a carnivorous animal and native to the African grasslands and some parts of Asia. Though it is legal to own a lizard as a pet in California, its size was way too big to even think of it as a pet. However, later the next day, the lizard's owner Tom Casarez Jr. came forward and was reunited with his beloved pet, known as Elmer.

Surprisingly, Elmer had been missing since Sunday, when he must have escaped while his tank was being cleaned. Officers from animal services visited Tom’s house to make sure the lizard was safe, happy and being cared for properly. All's well that ends well.

source

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Animals With Amazing Powers

gal_super_collage

Meet Mother Nature's version of Marvel's Justice League: From the shape-shifting octopus that changes color (and even texture) at the first inkling of danger, to the lighting quick cheetah that runs faster than a speeding b*llet, the natural world is full of animals with super hero powers that put Iron Man to shame. Click to meet these marvels that do everything from spewing boiling hot p*ison to turning invisible.

OCTOPUS: Shape-shifting, invisibility

gal_super_octopus_3split

This deep sea shape-shifter is equipped with the best defenses Mother Nature has to offer. The eight-tentacled wonder hides from potential predators in plain sight using its amazing powers of camouflage. It uses pigment cells and specialized muscles to adopt the color, pattern and texture of its surroundings – making it all but invisible. If discovered, the wily creature spews a cloud of ink that both creates a diversion so it can flee, AND dulls its attacker's senses making it harder to track. As a last resort, the fast-swimming octopus can morph its body to squeeze through narrow cracks and crevices, or give up a limb if nabbed and grow a new one later. Bottom line – don't mess with it.

GECKO: Anti-gravity glue grip feet

gal_super_gecko_inset

The gecko – nature’s Spiderman – has many special powers, including its own specialized chirping language decipherable only to others in its family and among its defensive arsenal is the ability to shed its tail should a potential captor latch on. The tiny lizard also has a built in feces catapult reflex to repel attackers. But the gecko's most celebrated super power is anti-gravitational suction toes that allow it easily to climb up vertical surfaces and even across ceilings. But it's not a sticky web that gives the gecko its power - it is a complex system of microscopic hair-like strands called setae clustered on each toe that trigger a molecular pull allowing the gecko to adhere to (almost) any surface. The lizard does, however, have a Kryptonite - it can't stick to Teflon.

PUFFERFISH: Inflatability, d**dly poison

gal_super_blowfish

Don't be fooled by its cute face. The pufferfish, also called the blowfish, may not blessed with speed or agility, but the unassuming and clumsy fish has the miraculous skill if increasing its size by several times to intimidate potential predators. The fish has a stretchy, elastic stomach, and "inflates" by gulping water and air to morph into a ball. Pufferfish, though considered a delicacy in Japan (think fugu), is also highly poisonous. The fish contains the toxic tetrodotoxin, a p*ison up to 1,200 times more p*isonous than cyanide and always fatal to humans. In fact, one fish holds enough poison to k*ll 30 adult humans.

CHAMELEON: Invisibility

gal_super_chameleon

Chameleons are in the running for best superhero costume of the animal kingdom – and they don’t even need to rush into a phone booth before making a quick change to hues of brown, black, gold, green and even pink or turquoise. The unique ability to blend in with their natural surroundings, thanks to special skin cells called chromatophores, makes these lizards incredibly difficult for predators to spot. Chameleons are also master climbers and have stereoscopic vision, allowing them to zero in on their prey with warp speed.

CHEETAH: Speed on land

gal_super_cheetah

This cool cat is the fastest land mammal on earth, with the ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds. Its speed, coupled with its razor-sharp eyesight, let cheetah terrorize the grasslands in which it lives h*nting for pr*y -- and earn it the status of super beast.

PEREGRINE FALCON: Speed in air

gal_super_falcon

Faster than a speeding b*llet - you betcha! Superman's got nothing on this rad raptor. Equipped with a razor sharp beak and talons, peregrine falcons – also known as duck hawks – are the fastest-flying birds on earth. They mate for life, meaning the birds pair off in dynamic duos that bring d**th from above to their pr*y – bats, songbirds and ducks – at speeds of up to 200 mph.

SEA DRAGON: Camouflage

gal_super_seadragon

Is it flora or fauna? To hungry pr*dators, it's almost impossible to pick out the well-disguised sea dragon from the plants in which it lives. The sea dragon has some of nature's most elaborate camouflage costumes. The graceful creature floats through the leafy seaweed on the ocean floor and looks just like the gently waving kelp. The willowy sea dragons live in waters off south and east Australia – and may or may not be pictured above. Like we said, flora or fauna? It's tough to tell.

TARSIER: Night vision

gal_super_tasier

These huge, freakish eyes see all. The tasier's eyeballs are each as big as its brain (about 16 mm in diameter) and allow the tiny nocturnal primate to h*nt by night. The critters – which have been endangered in recent years – are native to East and South Asian Island areas and its estimated only 5,000 to 10,000 still exist. The minuscule creature also has acute hearing, thanks to its oversized ears – and reminiscent of "The Exorcist," is able to swivel its head 180 degrees in either direction to seek out its prey. On other words, you can run, but you can't hide.

PLATYPUS: Electroreception!

gal_super_platypus

This awkward duck-mammal may seem an unlikely animal super hero, but don’t be fooled! The web-footed creature has an amazing sixth sense: electoreception. This power allows the platypus – which has poor vision – to detect prey by sensing electric fields generated by muscle movement. Translation – even in a dark room wearing a blindfold and ear plugs, the platypus will hunt you down. Animals with this power are called monotremes. They're also naturally packing some powerful heat: sharp v*n*mous talons on their heels allow the platypus to deliver a toxic kick to predators in hot pursuit, so moral – keep your distance.

DOLPHINS: Ultrasonic hearing

gal_super_dolphin

Dolphins look like they’re smiling, and the 1960s TV show “Flipper” cemented their reputation as affable, social sea mammals with a keen ability to communicate with humans. But it’s their mode of communicating among their own pods that makes them special. Dolphins have super-developed hearing and can detect frequencies at least ten times above what most humans hear – and, they hear with their teeth! Dolphin teeth function like well-tuned antenna and serve the dolphin like an internal GPS system.

RHINOCEROS BEETLE: Amazing strength

gal_super_beetle

It's the tiny tank of the insect world. The Rhinoceros Beetle is considered the world’s strongest creature and can carry up to 850 times its own body weight. Comparably, a human would have to lift about 65 tons to match the minuscule bug's might. The beetle’s name is inspired by its fierce horn – and it's not just ornamental. Like gladiators in the ring, male beetles use them joust to over mates – may the best beetle win.

HUMMINGBIRD: Helicopter hover flight

gal_super_hummingbird

Hummingbirds have wings that beat so fast – up to 90 times per second – that they can hover in mid-air. They’re also the only birds in the animal kingdom that can fly backwards. How do they get so much energy for their feats? Their diet consists of super-sweet nectar, which they must consume about every 10 minutes, as well as insects and spiders for protein. Watch out, Peter Parker.

SPITTLE BUG: World's greatest leaper

gal_super_froghopper

Superman leaps tall buildings in a single bound- a feat the little spittle bug can match. Also called the froghopper, this tiny .2-inch insect can hurl itself a whopping 28-inches. Doing so, it catapults itself with a force 400 times greater than gravity - compared to the 2 to 3 times humans use. They're called spittle bugs because vulnerable young bugs hide from predators in a mucus cocoon expectorate - just one more reason they've made our list of super critters.

FLYING SQUIRREL: It flies!

gal_super_squirrel

For these tree-dwelling rodents, the sky’s really the limit. Flying squirrels don’t really fly – they glide from tree to tree. These amazing rodents have been known to glide for over 200 feet before landing. The tautness of the patagium, the webbed-parachute-like membrane keeps them in the air and their tail acts as a brake.

ARCHERFISH: Expert sharp-sh*oter

gal_super_archer_fish

If Green Arrow had gills, he would likely be dubbed the archerfish, a zebra-like underwater dweller that can be found in salt and fresh water. The archerfish is an expert marksman and preys not in its own water world, but on land-based insects. The sharp-sh**ting fish has a unique talent is as able to pick off its marks with quick f*re spit att*cks up to six feet away. The fish fires off water droplets using its limber tongue and strong gills, which allow it to sh**t a stream of water from beneath the water's surface. Its keen eyesight allows it to target its prey, even through the refracted light of the water. Of course, like Green Arrow, the archerfish doesn't rely on its keen eyesight alone - it can also leap from the water to snatch up insects if they make the mistake of coming too close.

SEA CUCUMBER: Body liquefication

gal_super_sea_cucumber

When the sea cucumber senses danger, it melts – literally. These oblong echinoderms are able to loosen or tighten their outer body armor at will – allowing them squeeze through tiny cracks and pour into narrow crevices to take shelter from en*mies.

MOTH: Love connector

gal_super_moth

Next Valentine’s Day, forget Cupid – consider employing a moth in your quest to find love. The winged insects – there are thought to be as many as 250,000 different species – emit chemicals called pheromones in order to attract and find the opposite s*x, even from miles away. There’s also their penchant for candlelight, which some scientists believe is because candle flames send out waves of light in vibrations similar to how female moths send out their pheremones. Whew … is it getting hot in here?

ELECTRIC EEL: Zaps adversaries with electric shocks

gal_super_electric_eel

This slithery sparker is isn’t actually an eel. It’s a knifefish. The electric eel uses its current to incapacitate its prey. These shocks aren’t just tiny tingles either. An electric eel is capable of producing a 500 volt shock – enough to k*ll an adult human. They also use these shocks to protect themselves from predators.

ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE: Immortality (well, nearly)

gal_super_tortoise

If slow and steady wins the race, then it’s no wonder why this tortoise can live to be nearly 200 years old. Zookeepers in India believe their tortoise, who d**d in 2006, was 255 years old. Esmeralda, an Aldabra Giant Tortoise celebrated her 170th birthday on Bird Island in the Seychelles. They can weigh as much as 600 lbs – but despite that heft are excellent swimmers.

SEA STAR: Limb regeneration

gal_super_starfish

Starfish, or sea stars, fend off predators with bony body armor and also come in a rainbow of colors to blend in with their sea environments – but when they are injured or m*til*ted, the echinoderms possess the miraculous power to grow new limbs. They have more in common perhaps with a horror flick zombie that just w*n’t d** than a comic caper super hero. A new sea star can grow even from one severed limb. It would be the stuff of freaky sci-fi if it weren’t true.

BATS: Echolocation, hyper-healing

gal_super_bats

Besides the fact that bats are they only mammal that truly flies – they possess an ultrasonic echolocation power that allows them to discern the layout of a pitch black room and to locate hidden prey. The bat’s wings are very thin – allowing for precise and sharp maneuvers – they beat birds by a long shot for flight skills. The thin membrane of webbing on the wings heals quickly if torn and its echo powers are highly sophisticated. The bat emits a sound intended to create an echo – the bat measures the pulse, and creates a mental blueprint of its surroundings.

LEAF CUTTER ANT: Amazing strength

gal_super_ant

These tiny powerhouses are the Incredible Hulks of the insect world. These ants can carry up to 20 times their own weight and have powerfully sharp jaws that tear through leaves with the greatest of ease. The ants carry large pieces of leaves to their nests in order to create the fungus that sustains them. In its lifetime, a colony of these ants may move over 20 tons of soil.

source

Monday, 24 January 2011

Australia's Best Rock Pools

LORD HOWE ISLAND NSW

World Heritage Listed Lord Howe Island is a remnant of a now-extinct shield volcano, dating back seven million years. Eleven kilometres long and 2km wide at its widest point, the island has been eroded to one-fortieth its original size.

LORD HOWE ISLAND

The island's crescent shape embraces a sheltered lagoon and the southernmost coral reef on the planet, and there are hundreds of rock pools scattered throughout the island. The calm waters surrounding them are ideal for children: paddle at the edge, or snorkel above colourful corals just metres from the shore.

HANCOCK GORGE
Karijini National Park, WA

HANCOCK GORGE

Two billion years in the making, Karijini National Park, a two hour drive from Newman, is one of Western Australia's most spectacular natural attractions offering amazing hiking trails through gorges, rock pools and waterfalls. Explore tunnels of marbled rock, clamber over boulders, squeeze through narrow tunnels, paddle through waterways and descend deep into ancient chasms - and the permanent water pools means there's always the chance for a swim.

One of the big attractions of Karijini National Park is that its scenery is easily accessible -you can pull into a car park, walk 50 metres and peer into a 100 metre canyon to see waterfalls and emerald-coloured rock pools.

KANGAROO ISLAND
Stokes Bay, SA

KANGAROO ISLAND 
On Kangaroo Island, walk to the east of Stokes Bay, follow the signs pointing to the 'beach' and make your way through the headland of boulders. There you'll find a white-sand beach surrounded by cliffs, a large rock-enclosed pool that provides protection from the surf, and a safe swimming spot for all the family. And if you don't want to get wet, don't worry - there is even a Rockpool Cafe.

GUNLOM TOP POOLS
Kakadu National Park, NT

GUNLOM TOP POOLS 
Gunlom, located on Waterfall Creek in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, has a waterfall and plunge pool, with shady gums cooling the picnic areas. The steep climb to the top of the waterfall is tough but worth it, as it provides sweeping views of the southern-most parts of Kakadu National Park.
Gunlom is off a dirt track close to the border of Kakadu National Park, about four hours from Darwin or 2.5 hours from Jabiru.

MIMOSA ROCKS NATIONAL PARK
Bermagui, NSW

MIMOSA ROCKS NATIONAL PARK
There are many little delights hidden around Bermagui, like the large ocean rock pool known as Blue Pool, off Scenic Drive, which is good for snorkelling. But if you drive 18 km south of Bermagui to Aragunnu in the Mimosa Rocks National Park, you'll find some on the most tranquil rock pools around.
The coastal scenery is spectacular with boardwalks to boulder beaches, wildflowers, great fishing and camping and, of course, abundant rock pools.

BULEY ROCKHOLE
Litchfield National Park, NT

BULEY ROCKHOLE 
For convenience that doesn't sacrifice authenticity, you can't go past Buley Rockhole. A series of cascades and rockholes are located just 80 metres from the carpark in Litchfield National Park, and as the pools are spread out, there are plenty of private places to stretch out with a book. It's a great area to play and explore among the plunge pools, or relax and enjoy nature's 5-star spa. There are also several bush walks beginning at Buley Rockhole.
Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park is 140km - or, a 1.5 hour drive - from Darwin.

FRASER ISLAND
Champagne Pools, QLD

FRASER ISLAND 
Fraser Island's Champagne Pools are bubbling swimming holes at low tide, and are located at Middle Rocks. These naturally formed volcanic rock recreational pools make this a popular salt water swimming destination, and the foaming water crashing over the rocks is where the name Champagne Pools comes from.
The Champagne pools are situated between Indian Head and Waddy Point. Access to the beach is via wooden paths and this spot is considered a must-do on your Fraser Island tour.

EDITH FALLS
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), NT

EDITH FALLS 
The paperbark and pandanus-fringed natural pool at the base of Edith Falls is open for swimming throughout most of the year, and the scenic bush surrounds make Edith Falls an idyllic spot for camping.
The area is also great for bushwalking, with several trails available that can take you through many other natural delights. Edith Falls is located on the western boundary of Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).

VENUS BATHS
Grampians National Park, VIC

VENUS BATHS
If you want to experience the ethereal Victorian rock pools known as the Venus Baths, you'll have to walk to get there. Known as the Venus Baths Loop, this family walk starts from the Halls Gap shops and is a little over a 2km return trip. It's well worth the effort once you reach the pools - just take care on slippery rocks and steps.

THE BOGEY HOLE
Mollymook, NSW

THE BOGEY HOLE 
Mollymook is home to the Bogey Hole, a large circular rock pool located on the Mollymook headland. The safe shallow waters of the Bogey Hole make it an ideal location for families with young children and for those people who prefer a calm spot for a dip. It also offers safe snorkelling and is a great spot for a picnic day out. You can easily walk to the Bogey Hole from the southern end of Mollymook Beach, or from the other side of the headland at Collers Beach (pictured), near Mollymook's Beachside Golf Course.

source

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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