As this snow-laden and snowdrop February comes to a close, Garden Manager Andrew looks forward to the new visitor season.
February has been a month of anticipation and fret. Our Snowdrops began to bloom in mid January, completely ignoring my schedule of holding a National Garden Scheme (NGS) open day as part of their Snowdrop Festival. As I’m sure many of you know, organising outdoor events in advance brings on a sense of trepidation as you worry about the weather, will the garden look good on that day so far ahead, will people bother to come? The set date for this particular event had to be decided last August to meet publishing deadlines for the NGS famous ‘Yellow Book’. That gave me plenty of time to worry about whether we would even have Snowdrops in flower on Sunday 25th February 2018!
Snow at the Great House
The NGS Snowdrop Day
Anyway, cometh the day, cometh the flower! As it turned out, we had swathes of glimmering Snowdrops showing off throughout the garden for the big day. I can say for certain that we had many more of these beautiful plants appear this year compared to my previous two Februarys here. This was in part due to the tremendous work we did back in November, clearing areas of scrub through the Wilderness, which in turn allowed more light onto the floor, encouraging dormant bulbs to make the effort.
Snowdrops on our NGS Sunday taken by @farnhamherald
Over 500 Visitors!
As for the worry of ‘would people come?’…Wow did they come! We welcomed over 500 visitors between 11.00am – 4.30pm. There was a constant stream of people walking up our drive and one of my gardeners did a sterling job coming in voluntarily to oversee the car parking. He said it must have been like directing traffic around Piccadilly Circus!
Taking visitors on a garden tour
Warming up inside the ‘Great House’
Nearly 100 hundred visitors opted to buy a ticket to come into the house, where our Librarian put on a great display of Snowdrop related literature and the beautiful Elizabeth Blackwell book “A Curious Herbal” that inspired my design of our herb garden. By the way, this is one of our books that you can ‘adopt’ which is a wonderful way to support us. Click here if you are interested in finding out more.
Our tearoom was incredibly busy and as fast as cake was unwrapped from our stores it was being sold to a waiting crowd. The tearoom staff and volunteers coped brilliantly with the assistance of our General Manager on dishwasher duties! (Well done Anthony).
A lovely Tripadvisor review
Opening to the public…
So now we are waiting for our visitor season to commence – not long to go, we reopen on Monday 5th March at 12.30pm. This year for the first time, we will be open 7 days a week, which is wonderful for giving a greater opportunity for people to visit, and I hope we have many more people enjoying our property in the months ahead.