Snowdrops and more at Hodsock Priory

Visiting Hodsock Priory at snowdrop time has become an annual event for me and it is one that I enjoy more every time I visit.  There is something about visiting a garden regularly that makes it become very special.  With each return visit it seems to me that there is time to see something new.  It feels like I peel another layer of the onion away and a little bit more magic is released.
The day of the visit was cold and damp.  It was trying to rain so I made sure I was dressed for the weather and had my good winter walking boots on.  We started our walk in the woods where the pools of snowdrops stretch out under the trees.
This part of the wood is a pleasant size for a walk.  Long enough for a good chat and to see different views, but not too long to be a hike.
This is the Jubilee Wood that was planted in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  It is made up of over 300 oak trees planted in a diamond shape.  The joy of this wood is that it will be there for centuries to come and is planted with the future in mind.
Woodlands are important to Hodsock.  As we stood talking we could hear the sound of a hedging machine cutting a line to let in more light to this wood on the edge of the field.  This wood is about thirty years old and George Buchanan, who was showing us around his family's garden, told us that they have plans to plant further woodlands.
George also explained to us that they are growing cricket bat willows.  These have to be kept very straight and will produce around thirty bats per tree.  I found this fascinating.

There is more to see at Hodsock as well as the snowdrops.
The scented winter walk with winter honeysuckle and sarcococca, is superb and one of my favourite parts of the garden.
There are also some wonderful specimen trees, just look at the bark peeling from this birch.
There is also this superb specimen of a Chimenanthus wafted scent towards us.
The nearby hamamelis was just smothered in flowers too.
By the lake there are petasites, which always sounds a bit like an alien to me.  I half expect them to quiver as I stare at them. They are strange looking plants and apparently rather a thug in habit, what a shame.
and there are snowdrops,
lots of them.
and some came home with me, well its rude not to buy some...... and some cyclamen..... these will be planted in my Hodsock Corner, the part of the garden I add to year on year.  As the snowdrops start to emerge I look at them and smile as it will soon be Hodsock time again.


Hodsock Priory is open daily until March 4th, please check the website for details.

On 16th to 18th February there are performances of  'The Snowdrop Queen', a specially commissioned piece by the Whispering Wood Folk who will be winding their way up and through the beech trees in the Hodsock wood.  I have to say I think this will be quite a spectacle, there is more information on the Hodsock website.

The weekend of the 23rd to 25th February is Hodsock's Moorcroft Heritage Weekend where Moorcroft Pottery will be launching their new collection 'The Fair Maids of February' and the Hodsock Priory vase; there are no prizes for guessing which flower is the focus of the design (its a snowdrop).

On the 4th March Hodsock will be opening for Nottinghamshire NGS with all the proceeds of the entrance money on the day going to NGS charities.

Other snowdrop gardens visited this year:

Holme Pierrepont Hall

Evenley Wood

Thenford

Colesbourne Park

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