Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Something very special happened this week. It is something that I’ve been wanting to do for many years and this year it finally happened: I went to Altamont Gardens to see the snowdrops (Galanthus)! You know the story, schedules, weather, parenting duties, there have been many excuses for my not going over the years. But this year everything fell into place for me to go with my dear friend, and fellow gardening enthusiast, Susan.
You might remember that I mentioned my very first visit to Altamont Gardens just this past May (you can see that post here). As you can imagine, it was a completely different experience in February, but no less wonderful! We spent the first part of our visit in the nursery. Late winter and early spring is not just a time for pretty flowers such as hellebores and snowdrops. It is also a time for plants with sweet scents in the garden. As we walked along the path we were greeted with the amazing smells of daphne odora, sarcococca, and edgeworthia chrysantha, all stacked on a display cart. The fragrances from these plants can be enjoyed while just standing next to them! Ideally, they should be planted in areas where you’ll best get to enjoy their scent as you pass them by. I have a goal to add at least one to my garden next year!
But most people flock to Altamont Gardens in January and February to see the snowdrops. I’m a newbie to snowdrops. Honestly, I’m happy enough with any type of snowdrop. But you can get lots of different varieties! It is well worth a visit just to see the drifts of snowdrops throughout the gardens. They are a lovely plant for woodlands, and will spread naturally. I was quite surprised to see some very large varieties in the gardens (I prefer the smaller ones). What I didn’t know, was that the leaves of snowdrops have specially hardened tips which they use to push through frozen soil. This is how we get to enjoy them in the coldest months of the year. 🙂
The gardens and nursery were both filled with many different varieties and colors of hellebores, too: double, single, black, white, yellow, pink, green, speckled, plain, hybrid – you name it, they’ve got it!
The walk around the gardens, leading around to the lake, is serene and beautiful. There are benches along the way, to encourage you to stop and take it all in. There were plenty of birds (Great tit, Blue tit, Bullfinches, Goldfinches) and ducks to see.
We were lucky with the weather. It wasn’t too cold, it only sprinkled rain for a short while, and then we enjoyed glorious sunshine to finish out our visit.
It only costs €2 for parking, and is free into the gardens. But it is as much fun buying plants in the nursery as it is exploring the gardens, so be sure to bring your wallet!
Snowdrops, iris reticulata & hellebores greeted us first, upon our arrival at Altamont. The pictures speak for themselves! These beauties are shining bright in the garden, no matter the late winter/early spring weather! The iris reticulata were planted in bunches, which has such a lovely impact. It was the same situation for the snowdrops, with the added benefit of what looked like snow drifts through their naturalizing.
The top right picture is of galanthus Lucy. This variety has lots of green markings on the outside, which I found a little comical. I don’t have a favorite, as they are all beautiful in their own unique way.
Big, beautiful trees line the start of the walk, and they are surrounded by beautiful bouquets (clumps) of snowdrops. It is a sight to see.
These pictures are from near the nursery. The spring flowering cyclamen (a bright fuchsia color) was shouting for some well deserved attention. It certainly broke up the coloring of the snowdrops and iris reticulata. I have to confess that I don’t usually plant bulbs so close together, as is done here with the iris, but what a wonderful impact it has! I will be changing my ways to do the same. (And isn’t that ‘pot’ amazing, in the top right picture?)
These are two of the scented plants I mentioned earlier. I didn’t get a picture of the sarcococca flower, but it is a very small and delicate white flower with a big, beautiful scent!
Here is just a small selection of some of the hellebores at Altamont. There was something for everyone!
Those sculpted yews are my favorite! But of course, the lake is always beautiful.
An invitation to sit and relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Altamont gardens!
I will sheepishly admit that I was not fully sold on the Daphne plant when we first saw a small potted version in the nursery. It wasn’t until we walked near this particular shrub when my senses were fully awakened to the amazing scent of Daphne! I had to get a picture of myself and Susan here. It was such a highlight of the day for me. We laughed, we chatted, we enjoyed the beauty of it all. The day was made perfect by spending it with someone who truly enjoys gardening as much as I do.
Be sure to find yourself a friend just like Susan!
Thanks for stopping by!