Snowdrop spectacular gives added zing to spring

Snowdrop spectacular gives added zing to spring

Chelsea Physic Garden is set to showcase its annual snowdrop spectacular marking the end of winter and the imminent arrival of spring.

This historic garden, one of London’s hidden gems, is set to raise visitors’ spirits by banishing winter blues with a breathtaking display of more than 120 cultivars of snowdrops, all blooming in late January and early February thanks to the unique warm micro-climate at this oasis in the heart of the capital.

Visitors can simply delight in enjoying the drifts of delicate milky white blooms of snowdrops, or choose to learn a little more about this fascinating species with a series of guided tours and talks from renowned experts including Joe Sharman – one of the UK’s top snowdrop-ologists (a galanthophile)!

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A dedicated week of snowdrop events – when these delicate flowers will be at their stunning best – is set to take place at Chelsea Physic Garden from Saturday, January 27 to Sunday, February 4.

The magnificent annual snowdrop display is a ‘must see’ event in the diaries of many visitors to the garden, giving people a welcome chance to look forward to the joys of spring blooming around them. The dedicated Snowdrop Trail will lead you around the garden’s collection of more than 120 cultivars and species, highlighting their provenance, breeding and distinctive patternation.

Snowdrops are just one of the ‘harbingers of spring’ to enjoy at Chelsea Physic Garden – visitors can enjoy many other winter and early spring plants and learn a little more about them with a complimentary guide to the garden.

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And of course, there are other things to enjoy at the garden including the gorgeous glasshouses, ‘tropical corridor’, delightful cafe and shop with inspiring gifts and plants for sale.

Hidden in the heart of London, Chelsea Physic Garden is both a peaceful oasis in the city and a centre for learning. It was founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London in 1673. Today the garden’s features include Europe’s oldest pond rockery, the Cool Fernery, the Garden of Edible and Useful Plants, the Garden of Medicinal Plants and the World Woodland Garden.

The garden’s microclimate means that many tender plants can flourish, including a number of rare and endangered species. It has the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree. The garden has evolved throughout its history but today, as in 1673, it remains a place which cultivates plants and ideas.

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The Snowdrop Trail is open from Saturday, January 27 to Sunday, February 4, 10am to 4pm at Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS and there are other events taking place during the week – see www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk for details of how to book workshops and courses.

There’s a free talk and tour with Joe Sharman, called The Wonderful World of Snowdrops, on Sunday, January 28, from 11.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 3.30pm. Joe is one of Britain’s leading galanthophiles (people obsessed with snowdrops). Based at Monksilver Nursery in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, he has supplied London’s Chelsea Physic Garden with 70 varieties and claims snowdrop mania is now big business.

“Snowdrops have become much more commercial. You only need to tap the word ‘galanthus’ into eBay and you’ll see some of the prices – over £60 and £70 for a single bulb. There’s a real market,” says Joe.

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Other events include:

Behind The Scenes at Chelsea Physic Garden – tour with head gardener Nell Jones, on Thursday, February 1 (11.30am to 1pm). £30 – please book.

Heralding Spring – tour with head gardener Nell Jones on Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4. 2.30pm to 3.30pm. £30 – please book.

Photographing Winter Flowers – with Sue Bishop. Saturday, February 3, 9.30am to 4.30pm. £108 including lunch.

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Steve Ott

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