At last I managed to persuade my husband that he really wanted to go and see the snowdrop collection at Colesbourne Park in Gloucestershire, and what a wonderful day it turned out to be. Weather was a bit dull and dreary, but at least it wasn’t raining, it was a bit wet underfoot, thank goodness we had taken our wellies! After a lovely lunch at the Colesbourne Inn (best to book, we got the last table) we arrived at the Park at 1pm. just as it was opening. This was the view that greeted us from the car park, thousands and thousands of snowdrops, I just couldn’t wait to start exploring!
Apparantly the fallen branch that you see here came down the day before their first open day, 5th Feb. They were so thankful that the public were not there at the time and it was only the snowdrops that got squashed !!!
As well as the various snowdrops which were everywhere, no matter where you looked, other small bulbs have been planted to form a contrast of colour. These are the winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, looking much happier here than in my garden, and spreading around beautifully.
This clump of snowdrops was labeled ” Diggory ” and they are absolutely gorgeous. Only small in stature but they made up for that in having such fantastic round flowers.
Another general view of the woodland walk in the Park, the snowdrops here are ” James Backhouse”. This was formerly known as” Atkinsii” and is good for naturalising.
This is a view of “S.Arnott “, literally thousands of them and Colesbourne Park is reputed to have the best display of them in the country, I can believe it. While Ray and I were standing and admiring them we got into conversation with a charming gentleman and we agreed what a really good snowdrop it was and should be in everyones collection. It turned out that it was Sir Henry Elwes, the owner of Colesbourne Park and we both have them up our drives, mine is a much shorter drive than his!
More “S.Arnott” this time with cyclamen coum for company. There are lots of Cyclamen coum planted around the garden but also we saw lots of leaves of cyclamen hederifolium which flower in the autumn so with all the autumn tints this must be just as colourful later in the year.
Drifts of snowflakes, Leucojum vernum, hundreds of them, will mine ever spread to look as good as these, one day maybe.
On a steep bank we found a drift of Scilla siberica , such a tiny plant but what a fantastic colour blue. At home mine are not even showing yet.
In a glade beneath the very tall trees was a drift of Crocus tommasineanus, hundreds of them. What a pity the sun wasn’t shining, they would have all opened up and looked a lot happier, even so , a beautiful scene.
Another general view of the woodland walk, snowdrops as far as the eye can see.
And even more bulbs, who can possibly say that gardens are boring in the winter !
These tiny little narcissus are not open properly yet, but I think they might be Narcissus cyclamineus where the outer petals will be swept back in line with the trumpet.Gorgeous little things.
Another large patch of Cyclamen coum, fantastic for contrasting with all the snowdrops.
Found a few Iris ” Katharine Hodgkin” in a border near to the house. Very understated and very beautiful.
Also saw a few Hellebores, like us , their hellebores are not firing on all cylinders yet. The weather in December and January has certainly held them back. We need another week of milder weather and then they will open properly.
The final part of our visit was to walk down by the lake at Colesbourne Park, even in the winter with no leaves on the trees it was so beautiful. The lake is very blue apparantly due to particles of clay suspended in the water, whatever the reason, it is a lovely shade of blue.
This was our final view before turning back towards the car park and the sales table! Did I succumb to temptation…….what do you think…….of course I did!!! My new snowdrops are “Colossus”, very tall and early flowering, should be out by Christmas, weather permitting. Also ” Lord Lieutenant ” which has horizontal flowers and commemorates Sir Henry Elwes’ position as Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. My last one is “Lapwing” which has the most unusual inner markings and has been on my wish list for a long time.
While walking back to the car park, past the Tea Room, a lady came out , wearing her apron, and got talking about the garden. She said that we were wonderful to come on such a miserable day, it was drizzling by now,when we looked at her name badge it said Carolyn Elwes – what a lovely couple sharing their superb garden with us all and giving us such wonderful memories. We will certainly be back.