Since writing this article, the record for a single snowdrop bulb has been broken! On 20th February, Galanthus plicatus ‘Golden Tears’ was sold for a staggering £1,850.00.

Although January has been relatively warm, the snowdrops at Painswick have been late this year and after several failed attempts, I finally visited on Thursday.

Snowdrops were classified by Carl Linnaeus under the genus Galanthus – milk-white flowers – and nivalis meaning snowy.

It’s not the first time I’ve been to Painswick – my first visit was with my garden history tutor, who coincidentally, was instrumental in getting the gardens restored – but it’s always a treat to return.

The gardens were designed between 1744 and 1748 in the rococo style by Benjamin Hyett. Rococo gardens were often small in scale (not for large landowners who favoured the English Landscape style), with a assortment of follies, meandering paths and playfulness – a flamboyant development of the baroque style.

Once finished, Benjamin Hyett commissioned Thomas Robins to paint Painswick – and as you enter the garden, the view is instantly recognizable.

You can see the Exedra on the far right…

With the kitchen garden below.

But to find the best snowdrops, turn left towards the Eagle House

On two levels, the Eagle House was built shortly before 1748 at roughly the same time that Horace Walpole was transforming two cottages in Twickenham into Strawberry Hill House.

Keeping the Eagle House on your right, walk down the path, past the Swan Pond and into the woods – and in front of you is a sea of snowdrops!

Did you know that ants distribute snowdrop seeds? They take the seeds back to their nests and eat the outer oily substance, leaving the seeds untouched.

And if you are interested in buying snowdrops, they are best planted when they are still growing with their green leaves attached to the bulb – ‘in the green’.

There are a huge number of cultivars as they cross-pollinate very easily so if you are buying a rare variety, buy the snowdrop when they are still in flower so you can check you are buying the one you are after.

Visit a Snowdrop Fair or alternatively buy from a specialist snowdrop seller. Here are a few – but be warned, you can paying for a single bulb from £5.00 to £1390.00! This record price was achieved in 2015 when a buyer bought a single bulb of ‘Golden Fleece’ at auction. In 2022, ‘Golden Fleece’ can be bought for around £200.00 a bulb.

Avon Bulbs

Matt Bishop Snowdrops

Monksilver Nursery

 

For other gardens with a wonderful display of snowdrops, click here.

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