It is almost February but there is still no snow to speak of in the North of England and the Scottish Borders.
However, there are blankets of white in the form of snowdrops around the region, and now is the time to get out and see them.
Here are some places where you’ll see the best displays:
Saltwell Park in Gateshead is home to more than 10,000 snowdrops. They were planted in the Workers’ Memorial Garden. Additional snowdrops were planted at the Sir GB Memorial Hunter Hospital in Wallsend. These snowdrops are a lasting reminder of the legacy of asbestos in the North East where hundreds of families have lost loved ones to mesothelioma.
There is no cure for the cancer, which can lie dormant for up to 40 years. The Snowdrop Fund was launched in 2008 to allow families across the UK to set up a tribute charity to raise cash for important research into the fatal disease.
Jesmond Dene is rich in flora and fauna and the snowdrops are just beginning to bloom in this part of Newcastle. This is a nature lover’s paradise. It is open all day every day and is free to visit.
Wallington Morpeth is a National Trust property near Morpeth and is another place to see snowdrops, which are now in bloom throughout the gardens. The gardens and Clocktower Cafe are open. For the first time, the house will open over the February half-term. Wallington opens between 10.30am-4.30pm each day, and its gardens are described as a ‘haven of tranquillity’.
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens invites everyone who loves flowers, plants and wildlife beginning on February 4. People will be able to see snowdrops amongst the winter foliage. The Grade 1 garden attraction is home to thousands of snowdrops which create a beautiful white carpet effect when in full bloom.
The grounds are home to red squirrels. Belsay, an English Heritage property, has a unique microclimate and this helps to protect its wildlife.
Snowdrops have been at Belsay since the 1800s when Lady Middleton, part of Belsay’s ancestral family, planted them. Traditionally, snowdrops date back to medieval times and signify the end of the winter months and the beginning of the lighter, warmer spring months. Contact 01661 881636 for more information.
Alnwick Garden has a treat in store for lovers of snowdrops when it opens on February 10. There are 90,000 newly-planted snowdrops which will come into bloom around the pond in coming weeks. There have been 250 elegant Himalayan birch trees planted at the pond’s edge, and also a number of shrubs which look striking all year round.
Howick Hall Gardens near Alnwick has one of the most famous snowdrop displays in the North. The estate has thousands of snowdrops because bulbs have been divided and replanted to protect the display over the decades. Species of this delicate flower have been in Northumberland for more than 75 years, and there are some unique hybrids to be found at Howick.
Several different varieties of snowdrop are on display. Look out for the ‘Northumberland Yellow’ snowdrop. Howick Hall opens on February 4-5 for its Snowdrop Festival, and then Wednesdays to Sundays, 10.30am-4pm.
Kailzie Gardens near Peebles anticipates that its snowdrops will be in bloom in late February and early March. At their Snowdrop Festival you can walk in drifts of the flowers in woodland and burnside walks. The restaurant is open for teas on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from February 28 onwards.
Dawyck Botanic Garden near Peebles is one of the world’s finest arboreta. Seasonal displays of abundant exotic and native plants provide a breathtaking backdrop of colour throughout the year. The garden also offers an award-winning visitor centre. In the spring swathes of snowdrops fill the grounds and bring it to life. The sight is magnificent.
In addition to all these places there are snowdrops growing on village greens, in woods, villages and towns across the region. If you’re out and about , please do share your photos with us.
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