A clear sign that winter is coming to an end is the welcome sight of a carpet of snowdrops. One of toughest and most reliable of garden plants it is guaranteed to lift the spirits. The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) in Norfolk has four gardens opening in February and early March where you can see snowdrops at their best.
12th February 2012 – Open: 11-4. Adm: £4.50, chd free
Lexham Hall, nr Litcham PE32 2QJ has meandering walks through several acres of snowdrops and an extensive collection of unusual winter flowering and scented shrubs with a wonderful “crinkle crankle” wall.
18th February – Open: 11-4. Adm: £3.50, chd free
Horstead House, Horstead Norwich NR12 7AU Has lovely woodland edge walks with millions of snowdrops to see and the river Bure flows through the garden with an island of brilliant red stemmed dogwoods on show.
19th February – Open: 11-4. Adm: £3.50, chd free
Bagthorpe Hall, Bagthorpe PE31 6QY has a marvellous woodland walk carpeted with snowdrops.
1st and 4th March – Open: 11-4. Adm: £3.50, chd free
Here is the opportunity to view over 70 varieties of snowdrops close up through walks and borders. Many other early spring flowers will also be on show including hellebores and some wonderfully scented shrubs.
At each garden warming refreshments will be available to ward off the winter chill and the chance to buy plants to get your garden off to a flying start in 2012.
So why not shake off the winter cobwebs, wrap up warm and follow the NGS snowdrop trail, starting with Lexham Hall 12th February.
Pick up a copy of the Norfolk NGS Guide at your local Tourist Information Centre, Garden Centre and Nursery or visit www.ngs.org.uk
Charities supported include: Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices, Crossroads, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, The Royal Fund for Gardeners’ Children, National Trust(gardeners’ careerships) and Perennial.
Founded in 1927, the NGS has raised more than £26.5million for charity in the last 10 years.
Last year Norfolk raised more than £65,000 as well as raising additional funds for local charities nominated by the garden owners.