Wentworth Woodhouse is rolling out a white carpet for visitors this month (February)… Its biggest and best ever display of snowdrops is set to entice nature-lovers and walkers alike.
Since launching in 2018, guided snowdrop tours in the grounds of the Grade I listed mansion in Rotherham have become a sell-out attraction. This year’s drifts of the hardy little white blooms – traditionally heralded as the first signs of spring – promise to be even more spectacular, thanks to the hard work of volunteers. “Our snowdrops nestle under towering ancient trees, dance beneath the scented spidery witch-hazel flowers and now cover almost the full 40 acres of our West Front garden. Our green-fingered volunteers have played a big part in that,” said Head Gardener Scott Jamieson. During Scott’s 15-year tenure, dividing bulbs to ensure ever-larger swathes of the garden are carpeted in white each February has been an important rite of spring. The task has been made much easier over the last couple of years thanks to the 30-strong team of weekly garden volunteers, plus the introduction of Corporate Volunteering, which gives businesses and their staff the opportunity to support the work of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.
“We can now move tens of thousands of bulbs a season,” said Scott. “We head off armed with a spade and a wheelbarrow, and warm up with a cheery winter fire in the grounds.”
Wentworth Woodhouse’s snowdrop varieties include the common variety Galanthus Nivalis, the double snowdrop Galanthus Flore Plena, the Galanthus Elwesii and the tall and hardy Galanthus S.Arnott.
“More unusual varieties were discovered during bulb-dividing work last year and have been grown on in pots in the hope they could prove to be unique to Wentworth Woodhouse,” revealed Scott.
They will they be re-planted in a showcase position in the spring. Wentworth’s guided snowdrop tours are an hour long and feature a mile-long walk which passes the Camellia House, housing historical camellias from the 1800s, and takes in views from the South Terrace.
At 10am and 2pm, tours start on February 5th and run from Wednesday to Sunday each week until March 1st. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children (half-price for National Trust members). Scott Jamieson’s Head Gardener Tours (£25) are also running on February 12, 15 and 19. Book at www.wentworthwoodhouse.org.uk