Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Archive for January, 2019

Snowdrop Festival brings first signs of Spring

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Snowdrop Festival brings first signs of Spring


On a wintry day there is nothing better than visiting a garden teeming with one of the earliest flowering plants of the year –and the National Garden Scheme’s fourth annual Snowdrop Festival brings the first signs of Spring to everyone with over 92 snowdrop gardens open across England and Wales.

Whether you enjoy carpets of naturalised white in woodlands, meticulously grown rare varieties of snowdrops or gardens boasting a colourful mix of snowdrops, hellebores and other early Spring flowers – there is something for galanthophiles and garden enthusiasts alike throughout January and February.

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of The National Garden Scheme, says:

“Over the last few years the National Garden Scheme’s Snowdrop Festival has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to gardens throughout January and February. But garden visiting at this time of year isn’t just for galanthophiles who are looking to discover a rare variety of snowdrop in gardens they may never otherwise find.  Snowdrops are the perfect antidote to the Winter blues and spending the afternoon at one of our Snowdrop Festival gardens is the ideal opportunity to get outside and enjoy some spectacular scenes at an otherwise depressing time of year.”

Snowdrop garden highlights include:

  • Welford Park, Berkshire

Welford Park in Newbury is one of the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the country with 4 acres of grounds to discover. The garden may be familiar – Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off is filmed here.

  • Gelli Uchaf, Wales

Gelli Uchaf is a smallholding in Carmarthenshire with an organic 1.5 acre garden. Visitors can enjoy trees and shrubs underplanted with hundreds of thousands of snowdrops (200 cultivars and a unique Welsh Snowdrop Collection), cyclamen, crocus, scillas and other bulbs.

  • Horkesley Hall, Essex

Horkesley hall is an 8 acre romantic garden in Colchester offering an evening snowdrop walk on 19th February, when visitors can enjoy the garden’s snowdrops by the light of the full moon and twinkling fairy lights.

  • Higher Cherubeer, Devon

Higher Cherubeer is a stunning country garden in Winkleigh, which boasts a National Collection of cyclamen species and hellebores, as well as over 400 snowdrop varieties lining woodland paths.

The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,600 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales, and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors, the National Garden Scheme has donated a total of £55 million to nursing and health charities, and made a record annual donation of £3.1 million in 2018.

To find your perfect snowdrop garden, visit or download the National Garden Scheme app. 

The Asian hornet

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

I am a beekeeper and I am pledging to make more people aware of the Asian Hornet this year.
It’s a non native species that quite likes eating other insects and unfortunately for honeybees because they live in a colony they provide a whole larder of food for Asian hornets.

The National Bee Unit has a page on the Asian hornet

You should be able to get copies of the poster from your bee inspector or your bee association. It’s important to share these with relevant people – anyone who spends a lot of time outside and will observe an unusual insect. Whether it’s gardeners, groundskeepers, the council’s tree man, they all need to know.

If you’re in a bee club you’ll probably have discussed an Asian hornet action team. If not, go back to your group and ask!

The poster shows the asian hornet and details of the abdomen which has one yellow stripe. They look like lit cigarettes coming at you apparently. If you sit next to your hives you can watch for them hawking your bees.
Monitoring traps are a good idea – but need to be regularly emptied of the native species that might get caught in the trap.

Asian hornet identification


If you’re not a beekeeper then you could get the poster and display it at your local garden centre – just ask, I’m sure they’ll let you put a poster up. Share it with as many people as you can. Thanks