After the hectic pace of the working week, a slow Sunday afternoon is a much-needed tonic. And at this time of year, there’s nothing quite like whiling away a few hours in a beautiful setting that’s full of the promise of Spring.
Kingston Bagpuize House and Garden on the edge of the Vale of the White Horse, provides such a setting, opening its gardens for Snowdrop Sundays throughout February. Whether crouching to admire the intricate details of individual blooms, or taking in the expansive sweep of a blanket of white, snowdrop admiration is my February slow-down pastime of choice.
In the borders near the house we admired helpfully labelled clumps of some of the rarer snowdrop varieties.
Treading carefully, we made our way through the blooms in the woodland garden, where snowdrops and crocuses spangle the lawn around a folly. Beyond, the shrub border is planted with yet more varieties and, map in hand, we tried to spot the subtle differences between them.
But it was the swathes of white in Church Copse and Courtclose Copse that I loved best, carpeting the floor beneath the trees like newly fallen snow.
From the parkland leading back to the house there are views out towards the Ridgeway. We readjusted our eyes and stopped to breathe in the feeling of space.
Back at the house, a warm welcome awaited us in the cosy tea room. Cups of tea and generous slabs of coffee and walnut cake consumed, we made one last circuit of the borders before making our way home.
Kingston Bagpuize House opens its gardens for Snowdrop Sundays throughout February: check the website for days and times of these and for openings at other times of the year.
Images by Helen Duncan