If snowdrops are your thing, then the Cotswolds is one of the places to be over the next few weeks.
The winter stars love our Cotswold brash and there are several notable snowdrop gardens and numerous smaller displays.
From collections of rarities that command high sums for a single bulb to the breath-taking sight of thousands of massed bulbs, there is a garden to suit everyone.
Here are some suggestions for days out. Do check with the gardens before travelling in case bad weather has forced closure.
Painswick Rococo Garden
Painswick Rococo Garden is always one of the Cotswolds’ most eye-catching gardens but in winter its display of snowdrops adds another dimension.
More than five million will be flowering in the next few weeks, running through woodland and set against its quirky buildings.
Most are the common Galanthus nivalis but there are some named varieties as well, including ‘Atkinsii’, which was found at the garden by James Atkins in the 1800s.
As part of the snowdrop season, the garden is hosting an exhibition of snowdrop paintings by local artist Nick Pike during January and February.
Cotswold Farm Garden
With lovely views over open countryside, this Arts and Crafts terraced garden near Cirencester has a snowdrop collection of around 60 different varieties.
Many are in named clumps in shrub borders, others are naturalised in woodland.
There is also the specially designed Winter Step Garden with hellebores, cyclamen, aconites and cornus.
The garden is open in aid of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on Saturday and Sunday February 17 and 18, 2018, from 11-3pm. Admission is £5, children enter free. There will be soup lunches, teas and bulbs for sale.
If it’s rare snowdrops that you want, there’s little to beat Colesbourne Park near Cheltenham.
The collection was begun by Victorian plant-hunter John Henry Elwes, who introduced Galanthus elwesii, and developed by the current owners, Sir Henry and Lady Elwes.
Today, it numbers 250 different varieties, some in a massed display through woodland, others as individual clumps in raised beds and through the Spring Garden alongside cyclamen and hellebores.
Colesbourne Park, between Cheltenham and Cirencester, is open every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday February 3 until Sunday March 4. Gates open at 1pm with the last entry at 4.30pm. Admission is £8, children under 16 enter free. Dogs are welcome on a short lead. For more details, visit the website.
Another Cotswold garden with a notable snowdrop collection is Rodmarton Manor, near Cirencester.
The eight-acre garden around the Arts and Crafts house has around 150 snowdrop varieties – including ‘Rodmarton’ – alongside crocus, hellebores, cyclamen and aconites.
The garden is open on February 4, 11, 15 and 18, 2018 from 1.30pm. Garden only admission is £5, £1 for children aged 5-15. For details, visit the website.
Cerney House Gardens
Naturalised snowdrops through woods and masses of hellebores make Cerney House an early spring delight.
There are some named varieties but the bulk of the display is the common Galanthus nivalis.
Cerney House Gardens are between Cheltenham and Cirencester and are open daily from 10am-7pm until October 31, 2018. Admission is £5 for adults and £1 for children. For more details, see the website.
While it is probably best known for its display of spring cherry blossom and autumn colour, Batsford Arboretum has a developing late winter flower display.
Snowdrops, aconites and hellebores are among the early performers at the arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh.
The arboretum is open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9-5pm Monday to Saturday and from 10-5pm on Sundays. Standard tickets are £7.20 for adults, £3.50 for children. For details, see the website.
Long views over countryside and thousands of snowdrops are the winter highlight of this National Trust property.
The snowdrops are naturalised around the old hunting lodge and through woodland on the estate.
Newark Park opens for snowdrops on Saturday February 3 with more dates throughout the month. For details, see the website.
The National Garden Scheme
The National Garden Scheme is holding its third Snowdrop Festival in February.
Among the Cotswold gardens taking part are Beverston Castle, near Tetbury on Saturday February 18; Home Farm at Huntley, on Saturday January 28 and Sunday February 11; Trench Hill at Sheepscombe, on Sundays February 11 and 18; Lindors Country House at Lydney on Saturday and Sunday February 17 and 18; and The Garden House at Condicote, on Sunday February 18.
A little further afield but within striking distance of the Cotswolds.
Elm Close, Welford-on-Avon, opening as part of the NGS festival on Saturday and Sunday February 10 and 11. Brockamin, Worcester, opening on Sunday February 11. Hanham Court, near Bristol, opening on Sunday February 11.
Lacock Abbey, opening for the NGS on February 24. For other opening times, see the Abbey’s website.
For more details on the Snowdrop Festival and for the gardens’ other opening dates, visit the NGS website.
The snowdrop display at Woodpeckers at Marcliff, Bidford-on-Avon, will be open on Saturday February 10.
Entry to the garden, created by Andy and Lallie Cox, is a suggested donation of £3.50 with proceeds going to the local garden and history societies. Woodpeckers will be open from 10.30-3pm.