No results found

Oxfordshire Care Homes Digital Banners 1110x120 08012024 epo6gf
Lifestyle

Places In and Around Oxfordshire to See Stunning Snowdrops Drifts

divider
Snowdrops xj9cca

For me, seeing the first shoots of the snowdrops coming through the grass or soil fills my heart with joy as I know spring will soon be upon us. There was a time when their beautiful white flowerheads did not appear until well into February, flowering into March. However, as our winters get milder, teardrops of white can appear early in the New Year – in fact, snowdrops are the official flower for those with January birthdays.

Native to Central and Southern Europe, snowdrops are thought to have been brought to this country by the Romans with the first reference to their cultivation made by John Gerard in 1597. Nowadays they are widely found throughout the United Kingdom with many Oxfordshire gardens giving forth glorious displays in the spring. Their Latin name is Galanthus nivalis meaning ‘milk flower of the snow’; named by Swedish botanist responsible for creating the binomial system of naming plants and animals, Carl Linnaeus, in 1753.

Like many plants, snowdrops have many myths and symbolism associated with them. As they are often found growing in cemeteries and around gravesites, they are associated with sympathy and consolation. The pure white of their petals also symbolises innocence and purity and – given they are one of the first flowers to bloom in spring – they also symbolise hope.

Whilst the flowers are particularly pretty and dainty, snowdrops are from the Amaryllidaceae family and like daffodils, they are extremely toxic to both humans and our pets. They also contain a naturally occurring substance, Galantamine, which has been used to create a medication to help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease since it received NICE approval in 2010. 

Planting Snowdrops

These flowers grow best when planted in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in light, in dappled shade unless you are looking to plant the more unusual autumn flowering varieties. Consider siting them under trees and shrubs which will act as a canopy. Autumn varieties such as Galanthus ‘Barnes’ require a sunny spot and a good layer of grit and sand under the bulb as they do not like to sit in wet soil.

Traditionally snowdrop bulbs were sold once they had finished flowering but were still ‘in the green’, to be planted in the spring. However, you will find dried snowdrop bulbs available to plant in October or November. If you have heavy clay soil, add sand or grit to improve drainage and incorporate some well-rotted garden compost to the planting hole. The planting hole needs to be 10-15 cm deep, planting six to eight bulbs in each hole. If you are planting snowdrops with their leaves ‘in the green’, do not be tempted to cut the leaves back. Instead let them die back naturally to allow the goodness to be absorbed back into the bulbs, feeding next year’s buds. 

When it comes to selecting your bulbs, you have around 20 species and more than 2,500 recognised varieties or cultivars to choose from. The flower heads can be single with one layer of petals, or double with multiple layers of petals. Many varieties of snowdrop flowers hang down from their stem, like a lantern, with the outer three tepals curved into a tight pointed oval which may appear solid. When temperatures drop severely, the flower heads collapse but will reopen when it warms up again. Their grass-like foliage can be glaucous, vibrant green and even variegated. Natural variations do occur with double flowers and green-tinged petals or differently shaped petals. Many varieties have a pleasing, almost honey-like scent.

As you delve into the different species and varieties of snowdrops, you will begin to realise that building a collection of these exquisite plants can bring much joy to a late winter/early spring garden. Whilst the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis is relatively inexpensive to buy, rarer forms cost considerably more. Once a new variety has been identified, its propagation is a slow process as they do not reproduce easily. For extremely rare varieties which are in short supply, with many collectors keen to have it in their garden, prices can reach as much as £1,850 as happened when Galanthus plicatus Golden Tears which sold at auction in February 2022.

If you have a particular interest and are keen to become a Galanthophile, you may like to consider joining the Cottage Garden Society where you can also join the Snowdrop Group. Members receive two newsletters annually, a visit to a Snowdrop Day (at extra charge) with snowdrop sales and talks.

For further information please visit  thecgs.org.uk/specialist-group-details/snowdrop-group.

Places In and Around Oxfordshire to See Stunning Snowdrops Drifts

Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley has more than 60 different snowdrop varieties carpeting the ornamental gardens, with a spectacular show along the River walk. You will also be able to purchase a selection of varieties and their knowledgeable staff will be on hand to offer advice too. The event runs from the 1 – 28 February.

waterperrygardens.co.uk

Kingston Bagpuize House and Gardens is the stunning venue for a Snowdrop and Plant Fair which is held in February.

kbhevents.uk

Thenford Arboretum in Banbury is home to Lord and Lady Heseltine and they have been encouraged by Henry and Carolyn Elwes of Colesbourne Park near Cheltenham, to broaden their collection of snowdrops at Thenford. With snowdrop walks through parts of the garden it is certainly worth visiting. Spring snowdrops can be seen on 2,10, 17 and 21 February 2024.

thenfordarboretum.com

Welford Park, near Newbury, has one of the finest snowdrop collections in the UK. Growing amongst a five acre beech wood, with enchanting riverbanks of the River Lambourn and the glorious gardens this is the perfect place for a springtime visit.

welfordpark.co.uk

RECOMMENDED

New build houses
Thu 18 Jul 2024

Congratulations! Buying a new home is such an exciting moment. Whether it is your very first home or you are upgrading your current property for something a bit nicer, there is no feeling like it. New build homes are such a great investment. Not only are they brand new for your family but you can feel confident that they have been designed with the future in mind. Many properties come with eco-friendly features which are great for safeguarding your family. Financing a new home can be a bit of a minefield. Let’s take a look at how you could buy your new home as well as some things to look out for along the way. Mortgage Mortgages are the most common financing option when buying a home. Buyers of new builds can benefit from mortgages designed for the intricacies of the new build process. Lenders may be a lot more critical when looking at your application as there is less security for them with a new build. As construction timelines can be subject to delays and issues, be sure to keep in touch with your lender and see if you can extend your mortgage in principal agreement. You may be able to get some help with buying a new build home. If you are a first-time buyer, look into whether you are eligible for a discount under the First Homes Scheme. Incentives from builders It is in the best interest of building developers to sell their new homes, so some may offer you incentives. You may be offered cash towards your deposit which will be transferred to your solicitor on completion. If you do take advantage of this, remember to inform your mortgage lender. For people who have already purchased a home, developers may be able to help you sell your old house. A developer-assisted sale is one where they will aid you with independent valuations, appropriate deals or the actual sale. This is often free, and they may pay for your estate agency fees. Hidden costs Buying a house can come with hidden costs such as stamp duty and moving costs. Delays in the construction of your new build can often be costly too. When thinking about your moving budget, it is wise to incorporate a buffer zone for additional expenses. Advice The home-buying process is not a straightforward one, so seeking help from professionals is prudent. A lot of the process includes legal intricacies which will be beyond your capabilities. Mortgage brokers, for example, will be invaluable when it comes to getting you a mortgage in principle that works for your situation. Not only will you be able to get the best deal and save money, but a broker will save you so much time. Instructing a firm of solicitors will also be worth the expense. They can do land searches, deed transfers and keep everything above board for you going forward.

Endellion Lycett Green - you drifted by
Mon 15 Jul 2024

This summer the Laura Lopes Gallery presents works by botanical artist Endellion Lycett Green in the Tithe Barn at Thyme. Through her art, Lycett Green pays testament to the inspiration she finds in the natural world.

Lydia Millen
Mon 15 Jul 2024

For anyone who hasn’t come across Lydia Millen, she is an influencer-turned-writer who has embraced a life of bucolic bliss. Her debut book, Evergreen: Discover the Joy in Every Season, came out last autumn and encourage readers to be inspired and soothed by connecting with the natural world.

Urban winner   Danny Kidby Hunter
Mon 15 Jul 2024

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) has opened its annual nature photography competition for 2024 with new categories and prizes.