Where to see snowdrops
The Scottish Snowdrop Festival runs as part of the Homecoming 2014 until March 16 and begins on February 1. Snowdrops are very versatile and this is reflected in the regional spread of 54 gardens and places taking part, from Arbriachan Garden Nursery which overlooks Loch Ness, to the historic grounds of Dryburgh Abbey in The Scottish Borders.
Many of the gardens are opening especially for the festival,
including both private collections and places which are usually closed
in winter. Growing in size each year, this year's festival includes
eight new places to visit.
Taking part for the first time are Rossie House, Bruckhills Croft in Aberdeenshire, and Craichlaw in Dumfries & Galloway, the Islay Estate in Argyll & The Isles and West Plean House in Loch Lomond, The Trossachs.
For a walk with a difference-chilly but magical- there is Snowdrops by Starlight at the Cambo Estate, St Andrews, Fife, on February 12-16 at 5pm. Tickets cost £10 (01333 450313; www.snowdropsbystarlight com).
The popular Snowdrop Day at Dunblane, Perthshire, is on February 15 and speakers include Gerard Oud from the Netherlands and Sandy Leven on snowdrops in pots. Tickets are limited and cost £25 (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
For details of the many openings south of the border, visit the websites for the National Gardens Scheme (www.ngs.org.uk). The National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) has Fountains Abbey (Yorkshire), Kingston Lacy (Dorset), Anglesey Abbey (Cambridgeshire), The Argory (Co Armagh), Attingham Park (Shropshire), Chirk Castle (Shropshire), Dunham Massey (Cheshire), Ickworth (Suffolk), Mottisfont (Hampshire), Newark Park (Gloucestershire) and Nymans (West Sussex).
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February 14- March 2 The Garden House, Saxby, Lincolnshire, 11am-4pm, £4 (01673 878820; www.thegardenhousesaxby.co.uk). This garden's snopdrops may be relatively new but they've embaked upon an incredibly ambitious project, planting over 60,000 bulbs including some very rare examples of snowdrops.
February 16 and 23, Goldsborough Hall, North Yorkshire, 10am-4pm, £5 (01423 867321; www. goldsboroughhall.com)
February 1- March 2 Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Somerset, with park-and-ride system (fare £4.50) into the Exmoor valley and cafe run by local volunteers (07531 680445; www.wheddoncross.org.uk/snowdropvalley.htm)
Weekends throughout February and the first weekend in March: Colesbourne Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. More than 250 varieties of snowdrop, 1-4.30pm (last entry), (01242 870264; www.colesbournegardens.org.uk)
The Norfolk Snowdrop Trail is a Norfolk tradition that has attracted many followers over the years.
A "Snowdrop Walk" is to take place at Lexham Hall,
nr Litcham, launching the National Gardens Scheme "Norfolk Open Garden
Snowdrop Trail " on Sunday February 13th.
Four gardens are open for snowdrops this year,
one each weekend for consecutive weekends: Bagthorpe Hall, Sunday February 20th; new garden Horstead House, Saturday 26th February and Chestnut Farm on Sunday March 6th, all open 11-4.
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