Snowdrops are raising their delicate heads in my garden, and all over town, with a promise of spring. Meanwhile, the weather remains generally unpleasant, and you may prefer to huddle by the fire, but if you are moved to enjoy the fleeting sunshine, now is the time to get out and about and view snowdrops by the thousand.
That said, none of the popular sites is very close: Fountains Abbey and Burton Agnes Hall (both 35 miles), and Goldsborough Hall (40 miles) are most often cited as the best local places to view swathes of snowdrops. This year, however, there is a new addition to the list: York Gate Garden in Adel, Leeds, though it clocks in at 54 miles away.
York Gate Garden, opening for snowdrop viewing for the first time, is billed as a charming one-acre garden, owned and run by the charity Perennial. It has many different varieties of snowdrops for visitors to enjoy, including show stealer Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’.
Designed in the Arts & Crafts style, York Gate is regarded as one of the UK’s best small gardens, created by the Spencer family during the 20th century. It is designed around a series of 14 outdoor rooms, each with its own unique character, laid out on a framework of yew and beech hedges and York Stone and granite paths. Its intimate scale makes it particularly appealing and visitors during snowdrop week will have the rare opportunity to explore the garden during its closed season.
York Gate Garden will be open for snowdrops from February 20 to 23 2018. Dates for other venues vary: details may be found on their websites.
Reports on the snowdrops at these various venues would be welcome: my last visit to Fountains Abbey some years ago was very disappointing, but as with the autumn colours in New England and cherry blossom in Japan, forecasting the right time to visit must always be a bit hit and miss.
Distances courtesy of google maps.