Snowdrops steal the scene at Quarry Bank

IT is a scene that would likely have brightened the mill workers’ days 200 years ago and one that will be repeated again over the next month.

The arrival of Quarry Bank’s snowdrops happens like clockwork and this year’s display of more than 10,000 at the National Trust property promises to be one of the best yet.

“It’s generally seen as the first sign of Spring, which is one of the reasons people love to see the snowdrops,” said Senior Gardener Anthony Callan.

“It brightens up a darker time of the year and is seen by some as a sign of hope.”

Snowdrops were not recorded as being a native species to the UK until the late 1700s, around the time Quarry Bank was built.

As the area provides ideal growing conditions for the delicate flowers – damp woodland and meadow areas – it is highly likely the mill owners and their apprentices would also have looked forward to their arrival every January.

To ensure a great display this year, Quarry Bank’s gardeners have been clearing leaves giving the snowdrops chance to grow uninhibited.

A dark mulch has been used to enrich the soil and will provide a stark contrast with the white blooms as they continue to open over the next month.

Most can be found around the Apprentice House while other good spots include the Bluebell Glade, The Nuttery and on the Tennis Lawn in front of the mill.

“When they are in drifts they catch the breeze and bob around on the wind,” said Anthony.

“Different types of snowdrop catch the light and the wind in different ways and that’s one of the things I love to see at this time of year.”

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