The delicate white and green blooms of the snowdrop peeping through the cold winter ground heralds the start of the gardening year. Their arrival is celebrated throughout some of County Carlow’s fantastic gardens by a dedicated series of events during February.
The very popular Snowdrop Month at Altamont Gardens runs from February 1st – 28th and is a great opportunity to view this unique collection, first started by Corona North, former owner of the gardens. Having been further developed by the OPW over the last twenty years the collection is now amongst the largest in Ireland, with over 150 named varieties. This 40-acre estate, on the banks of the River Slaney near Tullow features an enchanting blend of formal, informal and wild gardens. Guided tours take place each Monday – Friday throughout February at 2pm and group tours are by appointment. The gardens are open daily for general viewing from 9am – 4.30pm. Advance booking of group tours requested. Now in its 22nd year, this is one event on your gardening calendar that you cannot afford to miss. Advance booking of group tours requested. Sugar and Spice Café located in the Walled Garden is open serving hot drinks and delicious cakes.
No Galanthophile can afford to miss the Snowdrop Gala at Ballykealey House, Ballon on Saturday February 4th with lectures by Troy Scott Smith (UK), Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Iris Ney (Germany), Garden Design, Garden Tours and Lecturer. Following lunch the afternoon includes a full guided tour of Altamont Gardens and a Specialist Plants Sale in Altamont Plant Sales featuring snowdrops from Avon Bulbs via Altamont Plants, Coosheen Plants, Gortkelly Nursery, Fields of Bloom, Assumpta Broomfield, Rosabell Plant Supports and Esker Farm Daffodils (Dave and Joules Hardy). At €100 the snowdrop gala is fantastic value for money and includes lectures, lunch, guided tour, exclusive admission to the Specialist Plants Sale and afternoon tea and cake in the Walled Garden Café. Book online www.altamontplants.com, by PayPal via email@example.com or by credit card, contact Robert Miller T: 087 9822135
Arboretum’s Inspirational Gardens at the award-winning Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven has a specialist snowdrop programme for 2023. Arboretum’s founder, Rachel Doyle, created the gardens in 2010 to inspire her customers. Rachel likes to say that the snowdrops wake up the Inspirational Gardens, as they are the first to flower every year; and there is something different every month after that. There are a few thousand snowdrop bulbs in the gardens made up of Galanthus ‘Flore Pleno’, which produces dainty fragrant double-white flowers, and the pure white Galanthus ‘Mount Everest’, a large, strong variety perfect for naturalising. In the shop, find an array of potted snowdrops including ‘Mount Everest’ and the common snowdrop ‘Nivalis’. www.arboretum.ie
Snowdrop fun for all the family is on offer each weekend during Snowdrop Month at Huntington Castle, listed as one of the top six gardens to visit in Ireland’s Ancient East. These historic 17th century grounds feature a collection of snowdrops and crocuses to be enjoyed in a unique setting. Along with the snowdrop collection you can view the French limes on the avenue, the lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the Yew Tree Walk. After the gardens head back to the castle where a guided tour of the house provides a window into both its fascinating past, and the lives of the family who call the castle home today – or simply take a well-earned break in the tea rooms. To get the full Huntington experience, consider a stay in one of their beautiful castle rooms or self-catering cottages.