Snowdrop weekend at Old Church House, Long Marston.

Not just snowdrops of course, which would be a bit bland, but iris, crocus & cyclamen. Also on offer was a church tower, mulled wine & flapjack. Not bad for a cold, grey winter’s day eh? The Old Church House is Long Marston near Tring in Herts just a few miles from where I live so the snowdrop event was a handy place to visit with my dear mama & daughter who was home for the weekend. Funny but just a few years back she would have scoffed at the idea of a garden visit but now ‘the smoke’ is where she lives, she’s only too pleased to join me garden visiting in The Shire when home for the weekend especially if grandma joins in the fun. The mulled wine table was decorated with a sweet bowl of floating hellebores. IMG_5015 The 400-year-old cottage has a thatched roof & a moat. The moat looked a little dull but I imagine it would be a hive of activity once the birds start nesting. thumbnail_IMG_5039 Lots of interest in the wrap-around garden. I saw this very graceful cherry tree underplanted with hundreds of crocus….. thumbnail_IMG_5036 And cyclamen with pretty heart shaped leaves. thumbnail_IMG_5077 Further into the garden the peony was just starting to reveal a bulbous red shoot IMG_5046 Dotted all around was this beautiful purple iris with a bright yellow throat IMG_5011 When different types of snowdrops are planted alongside each other you can actually see how they differ in style & size & colour. In particular, this one called ‘Madeleine’ which had an eyecatching yellow neck. IMG_5062 The owners had thoughtfully planted drifts of snowdrop, aconites & crocus on a small sloping bank. IMG_5054 And who doesn’t love the bark of this Acer griseum. One thing I love about winter is tree bark; normally shrouded by foliage at other times of the year, in winter with the garden stripped back, bark gets an opportunity to show off. IMG_5080 Dead children & pets no doubt. So often old houses with reasonable sized gardens have personal cemeteries. And this garden once held a church so was probaly consecrated ground. IMG_5076 And a very handsome looking pot store. The owners are also keen on alpines. Terracotta pots are perfect for aplines. IMG_5069 I think I have door bell envy-look at this fabulous thing. Must get one for Apple Tree Cottage. IMG_5070 The daphne was in flower & smelling divine so much so it woke the early bees. I saw about six that day buzzing about taking advatage of an early nosh-up IMG_5060 Plenty of hellebores in flower too, mostly pink but there were a few pure white ones. This one had its own personal raindrop IMG_5065 I’m not sure what type of wildlife this box is for. Maybe woodpeckers, as the hole is too big for small birds who would be very vulnerable with a hole this size. IMG_5073 On the way out we took a look at the ancient Norman church tower. Once shrouded & overgrown with jungle, it’s recently been restored & is now looking quite fine. IMG_5025 There’s a door so I suppose one can go in, but alas it was locked. I would have like to see the view from the top. IMG_5072 And on the way out I caught this patch of beauties doing their stuff. So cheerful. IMG_5055 The garden was packed & at times it was difficult to navigate around the tiny paths. There was no lawn, which gets top marks from me as I’m no fan of lawns but I did feel the garden could have done with a tidy up, bit of a sweep up, just a bit. I’m glad I popped out to see Old Church Cottage & I’m sure they were pleased with so many visitors.

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