Snowdrop Festival, The Garden House

World renowned snowdrop festival set to provide a welcome relief from lockdown

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 2:42pm

The Garden House in Buckland Monachorum is to offer members of the community a chance to enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular displays of snowdrops at their world famous Snowdrop Festival - which starts on Friday 15 January - providing, it’s hoped, a welcome relief from lockdown. 

Visitors will be able to take gentle exercise in the gardens, exploring the stunning displays of snowdrops, which are bigger than ever this year, in a covid secure, socially distanced manner.

The world renowned Matt Bishop Snowdrop Collection, one of the most diverse collections of named and naturalised snowdrops in the UK, has been joined by the Colin Mason Collection at The Garden House, one of the finest gardens in England and will be on display in January and February.  

The new collection was left as a very special legacy to the Garden House and it’s expert gardening team very carefully transplanted the collection to the plantsman's paradise.

Now,  together with the original Matt Bishop collection, there are nearly 350 named cultivars and species of snowdrop – some rarely seen in open gardens. 

Colin Mason was the owner of “Fieldgate Snowdrops” from which he made successful hybrids which proved to be successful and attractive – he bulked these up by “twin scaling”. Much sought after examples include Fieldgate Tiffany, Fieldgate Sophie and Fieldgate Superb – we have examples of these in our named collection.

The Snowdrop Festival, which has become an annual highlight for UK garden lovers, takes place in an exquisite corner of Devon, where one of the best collections of snowdrops in the world bursts into fragrance and colour.

Visitors can walk through the 10 acres of gardens where the snowdrops which are planted in huge swathes across the garden’s stunning ten acres. The snowdrops bloom from September through to March, peaking in January and February, and are carefully labelled, tucked into herbaceous borders and naturalised with early flowering bulbs. Snowdrops are scattered across banks and in borders, in plain sight but also tucked away in secret corners.

This year Snowdrop Festival visitors can also enjoy:

  • Winter plants for sale as well as snowdrops and early flowering bulbs

  • Special snowdrop gifts and cards available at the gate and within the cafe

  • The opening of a new “Frame the View” art trail - a community art activity that encourages visitors to e=see and engage with the garden in a different way

  • A covid-safe environment, with strict covid related risk assessments and “Good to Go” quality standard by Visit England

The cafe will be closed due to government restrictions, so visitors are encouraged to bring a flask and snacks.

The vast snowdrop collection was established by Galanthus (snowdrop) expert Matt Bishop, former head gardener at The Garden House, to include many extremely rare and unusual varieties. Matt is the principal author of the galanthophile bible, Snowdrops: a Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus (Griffin Press, 2002) and now has his own worldwide snowdrop business.

The stunning Garden House display has become a must-see on the Galanthophiles (snowdrop lover) calendar. Typically Galanthophiles will travel long distances to see very rare blooms, with some paying thousands of pounds to buy the rarest varieties.

The Garden House team now hope the snowdrop collection will become a nationally recognised collection, though many varieties remain yet to be formally identified.

“The garden offers visitors the chance to get out into nature during lockdown, enjoy gentle exercise in a socially distanced way and reap the mental health benefits of nature’s beauty,” said The Garden House Visitor Services Manager, Karen Willcocks. 

“The snowdrop collection is not only extraordinarily pretty, it’s a unique chance to see some of the rarest varieties of snowdrop in an exceptionally beautiful setting. It’s loved by experts and garden lovers alike and, along with our amazing bulb sale, is a not to be missed moment in the Garden House calendar. 

Every precaution will be taken to ensure we follow the latest government guidelines and visitors are safe.”

The Garden House Snowdrop Festival runs from Friday 15th January until Sunday 28th February 2021: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am – 3pm

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  • The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton PL20 7LQ
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