Throughout February East Lambrook Manor Gardens in Somerset will be hosting a Festival of Snowdrops, an opportunity to see the spectacular array of snowdrops growing in the garden together with additional displays showcasing some of the more unusual varieties.
Cottage garden doyenne Margery Fish enthusiastically collected snowdrops, or Galanthus, to plant in her now famous garden at East Lambrook Manor, her home from 1938 to 1969.
She was one of the first snowdrop devotees or ‘galanthophiles’ and amassed a significant collection, a legacy which is maintained today by the garden’s current owners, Mike and Gail Werkmeister.
Mike Werkmeister said: “Mrs Fish grew her snowdrops in an area of the garden known as the Ditch and this looks magnificent in February, when the sides are carpeted with snowdrops. We now have over 120 different varieties, both species and hybrid cultivars, but getting down close to see them can be difficult so we also have a special raised display bed to show off the collection to advantage. For the Festival of Snowdrops additional displays of snowdrops, principally in pots, will be created round the garden, so more can be enjoyed at close quarters.”
Margery Fish began her collection with a gift of the green-centred, double Galanthus ‘Ophelia’, bred in Norfolk by the reclusive Heyrick Greatorex. A WW1 cavalry officer, he caused a sensation in the 1940s by producing the first double hybrids. Galanthus ‘Ophelia’ is still to be found growing in the garden along with many others including Galanthus ‘Margery Fish’, a chance cross found in the garden in 1987 and named in her honour.
February’s festival will feature informal talks and tours of the snowdrops in the garden given by the Head Gardener or owner. Over 40 varieties will be on sale in the nursery with a ‘Snowdrop Sale’ from 24th February when any unsold bulbs will be offered at reduced prices. Visit the website for more details and a list of snowdrops for sale.
Throughout February the garden, nursery and cafe are open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. Garden entry £6.00, £5.50 for over 65s, under 16s free. RHS members free on Wednesdays.