The beloved snowdrop traditionally heralds the end of winter and reminds us of brighter spring days to come.
From late January to early March, displays of these spring harbingers start to appear at local National Trust gardens at Hinton Ampner and The Vyne.
At Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, you’ll find hundreds of delicate snowdrops dotted across the lawn beside the house, which is full of scent and colour even in the depths of winter.
Hinton’s previous owner, Ralph Dutton, designed the East Lawn of this garden around the tiny parish church in the grounds. He knew that even in the colder months, the church’s congregation would gather on the grass after the Sunday service, so he planted the lawn with fragrant winter flowers such as daphnes, which have a zingy lime scent and tiny pink flowers. The church border is hedged with sweet box Sarococcas, which fills the air with a heady honey scent. You’ll also discover delicate winter aconites and colourful crocuses.
For information on opening times at Hinton Ampner, call 01962 771305 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner
One of the first sights to meet visitors in early February at The Vyne, near Basingstoke, is a pretty ribbon of pearly white snowdrops that appears at the entrance to these gardens. Further snowdrop displays can be found in the wild garden, mingling with yellow-petalled winter aconites.
Look out also for floral gems such as yellow winter aconites and candy-pink viburnum, and if you peer upwards into the trees you’ll see great clusters of mistletoe covered with pearly berries. Winter is also a great time to indulge the olfactory senses – seek out the delicious fragrance of flowering daphne and mahonia.
For information on opening times at The Vyne, call 01256 883858 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk