Monday, 16 February 2015

Snowdrop Mania at Colesbourne Park

I made my first visit to the magnificent Colesbourne Park yesterday, quite unprepared for the scale of the park, and numbers of different varieties of snowdrops growing in huge drifts.
The snowdrop collection was started by Henry John Elwes 1864-1922, while traveling, he found some snowdrops in Turkey which he brought back to England in 1874, and named them Galanthus elwesii. He continued to collect snowdrops afterwards, and planted them in the grounds of Colesbourne Park where they remained undisturbed for 60 years, until his great grandson Henry Elwes and his wife Carolyn began to identify and divide them, and add to the collection.
There's a well labelled path through the grounds taking the visitor through woodland, beside the blue lake, to the churchyard and the walled garden where you'll find smaller clumps of snowdrops, identified by good sized, clear labels.
My friend, Sue and I, walked through the wooded bits near the car park where the snowdrops seemed to go on forever :

 We then homed in on particular varieties such as:
 G. 'James Backhouse' above, apparently originally came from the Backhouse nurseries in 1875, and which I bought at the shop.

 Above G.'S. Arnott' growing very vigorously, I bought that last year from North Cerney Gardens.

 Above G. 'Lady Beatrix', very distinctive flower shape.

 Above loved G. 'Lapwing', the outer petals stand out like hooped skirts.

 I loved the one above for its green striped petals, it's called G. 'South Hayes'.
The Cyclamen coum were also delightful whether in swathes, or planters:

Here are a couple more lovely planters:
and this one is empty, but still beautiful:
In addition to the walks, and the snowdrops, there were refreshments in the hall and a plant sale where I bought the following snowdrops:
 G. 'hippolyta, described as 'fully double', and highly scented
 Above G.'James Backhouse' very vigorous looking.
 And G. 'Nivalis Vindapice' chosen for the green tips to its petals.
In addition to the scent of the Galanthus, there was winter flowering honeysuckle and box, I didn't expect so much perfume in the air.
While wandering around the named varieties, we came across the Head Gardener, Chris Horsfall,
he was photographing clumps of snowdrops, but keen to chat about the job of managing the park.
There are 2 weekends left to visit the Galanthus, look up the details on their website: www.colesbournegardens.org.uk
If not already, you'll be a galanthophile by the time you leave.







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