REGULAR UPDATE ON SNOWDROP GARDENS
Tuesday 21 February 2017 The snowdrops are nearly at their best now after a few dry and sunny days. The strong scent of honey as you walk around the beech woods is so uplifting and it truly looks as it it has been snowing now. The cold weather forecast for the weekend is marvellous news for the snowdrops as they are a winter flower heralding the coming of Spring, and it will encourage them to stay in full bloom for a couple more weeks. The acconites get a brighter and brighter yellow and I have never seen them so good under the lime trees. The Virburnum x bodantense "Dawn" and the Daphne Postill are blooming; and our new silver birches along the Church wall on the winter walk are settling in well with the Galanthus Woronwii establishing under the Helleborus argutifolius and a variety of ferns. Be sure to walk around the formal garden to see the cultivars along the peony border and particularly the Galanthus Brenda Troyle in the centre of the rose pergola.
The greek name for snowdrops is GALANTHUS, (gala = milk, anthos = flower) and there are now more than 200 species. The common woodland species Nivalis, is very prevalent in the Lambourn Valley. The Galanthus Nivalis display here at Welford Park is in a beech wood covering approximately 5 acres alongside the River Lambourn. In the formal gardens to the South of the Queen Anne House you can view some of the rarer species from Lord Monostictus, Green Tips, Lady Elphinstone, John Gray, Hippolyta, Desdomena, Virdipice, Collosus, Woronowii, S. Arnott, Brenda Troyle and many more.
Snowdrops are nearly always found in abbey ruins and graveyards, and were planted by Norman monks as a symbol of purity and the cleansing of the earth after winter. Some of the greatest snowdrop displays in England were all originally monastic sites ie Walsingham Abbey, Hodsock Priory, Anglesey Abbey and Welford Park.
We think the snowdrops here at Welford Park were planted by the Norman monks to decorate their Church for the feast of Candlemas, and also for medicinal use. The monks harvested snowdrops and used to rub them on the temple of people suffering from “mal au tete”. Close to the snowdrop woods we have also found wild aconitum, petasites and mistletoe all of which have strong healing properties
Each year we make donations to West Berkshire charities. In 2017, we will be supporting :
NGS Yellow Book Charities on Wednesday 8 February 2017
Fair Close Centre (Age Concern Newbury and District) on Sunday 12 February 2017
Friends for Young Carers, West Berkshire on Sunday 19 February 2017
Macmillan Cancer Support on Thursday 23rd February 2017 (Plant Fair)
St Gregory’s Church, Welford