Spring might seem a long way off yet, but already the first tentative shoots are beginning to appear above the ground. The first flowers after winter are always a welcome sight, and seem somewhat miraculous when the memory of bitter wind and howling rain is still fresh in the memory. Perhaps that’s why snowdrops are so loved in the UK. Their fragile looking petals – snow-white and delicate – seem far too tender to appear at the bleakest time of year. But appear they do – and often in their thousands.

While most of us know of a bluebell wood to visit for such abundant displays, perhaps fewer of us know where to find a ‘sea’ of snowdrops. But, that’s just what you’ll discover if you visit Gatton Park, near Reigate in Surrey this February. This huge 250 acre estate, landscaped by Capability Brown, will be open to the public on Sunday 12th February from 11am-4pm. Adult entry costs £4.00 while children go free. Hot soup, rolls, tea and light refreshments will be available to ‘warm the cockles’ if the weather is inclement, too.

For full details of the NGS Gatton Park event see the website at www.ngs.org.uk/gardens/find-a-garden

More gardens to see snowdrops in Hampshire and Sussex…

  • West Gean Gardens, Sussex – Opening as part of the NGS Snowdrop Festival. Sunday 5 February (9am – 4pm). Admission £5.50, children free.
    Light refreshments in the cafe.
  • The Down House, Ichen Abbas, Hampshire – Snowdrops and spring flowers in a beautiful 3 acre garden. Sunday 19 February (12 – 4pm). Admission £5.00, children free. Home-made teas.