White magic
Country Life UK|January 12, 2022
Nowhere else can gardeners see rare named snowdrops growing in such measureless drifts as in the Rothschilds’ private garden at Eythrope in Buckinghamshire, finds Mary Keen
Mary Keen
SNOWDROPS have always been favourite Rothschild flowers. Miss Alice, the sister of the first Baron Rothschild of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, planted quantities of wild snowdrops in her own garden at Eythrope Park, which lies within the manor’s demesne. (This year sees her centenary, which will be celebrated in many different ways.) Some of her naturalised bulbs still survive, but over the past 22 years, ever since Miss Alice’s garden was re-created for her descendant Lord Rothschild, numerous special forms of the familiar wildling now cloak the grass of Eythrope Park.

In 2022, the sight of the extraordinary profusion of snowdrops in Lord Rothschild’s private garden at Eythrope offers gardeners a rare treat. After being introduced in the early 1990s, snowdrop varieties, which most people plant in little cherished colonies can now be found growing in measureless drifts. The numbers are still growing, doubling their quantities every year; the exponential ability to multiply comes naturally to snowdrops.

We have all seen the common Galanthus nivalis in sheets of white covering wild places and it is not unusual to find G. ‘Atkinsii’, or G. plicatus ‘Augustus’ doing well in grassy churchyards or gardens. What I have never seen anywhere, except at Eythrope, is groups of named snowdrops covering as many as 100 square yards at a time. The exuberant expanses of ‘Mrs Macnamara’, ‘Limetree’, ‘Magnet’, ‘S. Arnott’, ‘Jacquenetta’ and ‘Ophelia’ growing in grass are an astonishing sight.

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