Show-stopping snowdrops at Shaftesbury and Kingston Lacy

THE weather in February can be grim – there’s a reason it’s called “February fill-dike” in old weather lore – but the spectacular snowdrop displays around Shaftesbury, during the town’s Snowdrop Festival, and at the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate bring a smile to every face.

Visitors to Kingston Lacy can enjoy the one and a half mile snowdrop walk through the 40-acre garden, while Shaftesbury has drifts of snowdrops in many locations, and there are Snowdrop Walks led by Peter Wells on Sundays 9th February at noon and Sunday 16th at 10am, both starting at the Bell Street car park at noon.

Other events at Shaftesbury include a snowdrop study day at the arts centre on Saturday 8th, a lantern parade on Sunday 9th at 6.15pm, open garden day at Springhead on Thursday 13th, and a children’s fun and activity day at Shaftesbury Library on Monday 17th.

For more information pick up a Shaftesbury Snowdrops leaflet or visit www.shaftesburysnowdrops.org

At Kingston Lacy there are more than 40 different varieties of snowdrop on show. As head gardener Andrew Hunt says, there will be lots “for any avid galanthophiles to spot.”

Many of the snowdrops grow among the sleeping tree ferns in the Victorian Fernery – with fun names like Ding Dong and Heffalump, the Fernery is home to more than 35 different varieties. More of the diamond-white flowers can be spotted along the Lime Avenue and on to Lady’s Walk, where passionate horticulturalist Henrietta Bankes first had her gardener plant snowdrops in the early 1900s.

In the Japanese garden, snowdrops carpet the banks either side of the path. The juxtaposition of the bamboo and traditional snowdrops is unique in this National Trust garden.

The Kingston Lacy gardeners are leading guided walks on 12th and 26th February. Booking is essential – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

National Trust photographs by James Dawson and Andrew Chorley.