Published: 06:00, 04 February 2020
More than 80,000 snowdrops are set to shake off the cold and light the way to the start of spring this weekend.
Sunday Walk, Church Gill Walk and the Outer Moat at Hever Castle and Gardens will be carpeted with the petite white flowers, while the Winter Garden will host rarer and unusual species.
Visitors will be encouraged to put on their wellies, hats and scarves and explore the self-led woodland walks and the sight of snowdrops blooming close to the famous castle and childhood home of Anne Boleyn from Saturday, February 8.
Named ‘Galanthus’ (gala from the Greek for milk and anthos for flower), these non-native flowers are mythic for ’many and are considered an early sign that spring is on its way.
Award-winning garden writer Val Bourne is set to kick the season off with a special talk on Saturday, February 8.
Head gardener, Neil Miller, said: “We have been collecting snowdrops at Hever for the last decade. We have some interesting and unusual cultivars in the winter garden and tens of thousands of the more common varieties planted in drifts through the garden and woodland.”
“Once you’ve been bitten by the 'Galanthophile' bug, it’s hard to rid yourself of the feverish desire to collect more and more of these tiny beauties!"
Snowdrop collectors - Galanthophiles - are forever on the search for a new, exotic or unusual specimen.
There are more than 20 wild species and more than 1,000 cultivars of the delicate bloom grown world-wide.
At Hever, unusual varieties include the yellow-tipped Wendy’s Gold; a giant galanthus called Colossus which at 9 inches is one of the tallest snowdrops you can find, and Galanthus Green Brush with its unusual green-tipped flowers.
Garden writer and horticultural superstar Val is a pre-eminent galanthophile so for the gardening team at Hever it's exciting to have her talk The Wonderful World of Galanthophilia on Saturday, February 8.
Head gardener Neil Miller said: "I heard Val talk last year about her passion for snowdrops and knew that we HAD to invite her to Hever to share her wonderful stories and knowledge.”
Her love for snowdrops began in 1997 when she saw a bank of them in the spring sunshine in the Oxfordshire garden of Primrose Warburg. She said: “I fell in love in that garden. It flicked the galanthophile switch for me.”
Hever Castle's self-led Snowdrop walk is open from Saturday, February 8. Val Bourne's The Wonderful World of Galanthophilia is also on Saturday, February 8 at 1pm.
To book tickets go to hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.