On Saturday the Welsh Rose and I went with friends to see the snowdrops at Hodsock Priory. Now, I’m certainly no galanthophile, but I am keen on the little creatures: I’ve visited both Kingston Bagpuize House and Colesbourne Park in the past; and a G. “Ophelia” did accompany us on our move from Oxfordshire to Sheffield, even if it was nibbled of its flowers. Seeing as snowdrops are now “a thing parks and gardens do in late winter,” then we felt it would certainly be a way of brightening up the longest, greyest cold snap of the season so far.
Hodsock is definitely more about swathes of many snowdrops than, say, Colesborne’s individually labelled species. You could tell there were differences, if you got right up close:
but there was more intermingling than there was labelling. This landscape focus made a nice change, though, often gave a feeling of water or fog billowing down a valley:
The beech trees, still with leaves intact, were a nice cinnamon-coloured foil to the white bobbles bubbling up underneath:
Elsewhere, snowdrops and Eranthis were interspersed with each other, which is just adorable as if they’re totally the best of pals:
Snowdrops aside (“how could you?” I hear you cry) Hodsock has a lovely winter garden of its own, with one of its stars being this (among several) luminescent Hamamelis mollis:
When the light was behind it, the glow from it left one quite dumbstruck. Equally surprising, but much harder to photograph, was the neon pink flowers of several Prunus mume:
There were also beds and beds and beds of Hellebore, including these H. x hybridus:
The hellebore, snowdrops, winter aconite, iris and other flowers were all planted on banks and in beds, mixed up or in swathes. It was quite a shock to find the first tulip of spring among these iris:
Elsewhere, bright-red rosehips were still on their bushes, undisturbed by birds:
I suppose that’s this year’s weird warm winter for you. But this Osteospermum is just taking the mickey:
Sarcococca was much more in keeping with the season:
So much that I came home with a still-flowering S hookeriana, which now has pride of place on our front steps. As I go to and from the house I can occasionally, awkwardly, bend down a little, to sniff its sweet-shop-sugar scent.