Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hill Close Gardens - Snowdrop Weekend

Saturday - Sunday, 18 - 19 February, Snowdrop Display and Garden Visit - Review

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick
A very fleeting visit this morning to a garden in the heart of Warwick I used to supervise, Hill Close, was spent mostly trying to keep up with the little one... It was definitely worth the effort though, and also worth a quick post to try and give a flavour of the event. This years event will be over by the time you read this, but I hope it will inspire you to visit when the gardens open in April, or even book onto a course, all listed on the website at the bottom of the post. Note: most photographs were taken, rapidly this morning. Enjoy:
Hill Close Gardens, Snowdrop Weekend 2012.
The gardens are an excellent example of town gardens from the Victorian era, gardens once common throughout the land in built up towns and cities. Folk who could afford the rent, often trades people, could lease a patch of ground created not only for the benefit of growing produce, but for recreation too. Typically, they were developed by entrepreneur's who landscaped an area within a town, installing paths, gas and water pipes, and protected peoples investment with high walls and hedges. They were intended for the benefit of those who bought into the system, who for variable rent could posses a plot of ground especially for food and recreation. Individual plots, very similar in some respects to a present day allotment, were nurtured by generations of families who visited regularly to tend to their fruit and vegetables, some also having lawns and the cutest of summer houses too. The gardens at Hill Close are one of the few surviving examples that were rescued from a planned housing development, and are managed and restored by volunteers, with a minimum of employed staff.

Hill Close Gardens, Summerhouse, 2012.
This weekends event showcased the snowdrop collection that is being built up within the gardens. Slotting quite neatly within the structured layout of the gardens, the snowdrops are to be found both naturalised and in segregated borders, where name tags are provided for those seeking botanical names for identification. Separate borders have been nurtured for both Victorian and post 1910 varieties, and the range within the Galanthus world is remarkable and very well represented.
Hill Close Gardens, Snowdrop Border, 2012.
The volunteers have continued with the unusual but delightful indoor displays of snowdrops, as arranged by local Galanthophile John Williams. The indoor displays as ever allow the little beauties to be seen at waist level, allowing close up scrutiny of their delicate drooping blooms.

Hill Close Gardens, Snowdrop display in visitor centre 2012.

The flowers are arranged in a naturalised display in full view of the cafe tables, with the garden plots in full view through the picture windows. The modern and eco-friendly visitor centre is multi-functional and supports events, meetings and seminars which in turn support the gardens upkeep and continued opening. I'm very fond of the gardens where I spent many months toiling to further their growth and development, and it was lovely to see the fruit trees which I planted and some of the areas I worked on, which are looking as good as ever.
Hill Close Gardens, Galanthus 'Warwickshire Gemini' (2009 display.)

 Hill Close Gardens, Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' (2009 display.)
Well, I shall leave the mini review there for now, as unfortunately I wasn't able to have a full catch up with all those involved. It was said however that the event was well attended yesterday, Saturday 18th despite a very rainy afternoon, and I'm sure today's glorious February sunshine will guarantee good visitor numbers to close the event. As mentioned before, do check the web link below which will take you direct to the Hill Close website, where you'll find a full description of the gardens, and the events calendar, there is also an excellent down loadable e-newsletter. If you're in south Warwickshire, interested in gardening (especially production) and haven't as yet visited Hill Close - then you're missing out!

Bye for now, Gary.
Link:  Hill Close Gardens


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Such a lot of attention is paid to snowdrops. That's fine - but I'm not clear why they are so much ahead of the field. Why aren't there great swathes of Iris reticulata all over the place to visit? Imagine how uplifting that would be!

Gardener Gary said...

I totally understand what you mean. I love the beauty and simplicity of snowdrops, and there's quite a lot of variety in their form, but it is odd why they've picked up such popularity. I think compared to the iris, they are stronger growers and very reliable with their flowers, but wouldn't it be lovely to see more balance, and see other plants get more of the limelight.