Colesbourne Park in February

As shafts of sunlight languidly illuminate one colony of snowdrops after another, the focus shifts almost imperceptibly from dawn until dusk. ‘The winter garden at Colesbourne is about celebrating the diversity within a single genus,’ says Arthur Cole, head gardener. ‘However, this garden not only has a spectacular snowdrop collection, but also a wonderful arboretum, so my gardening life is divided between macro and micro — either gazing up into the crowns of champion trees, or crouched low to inspect rare snowdrops. It is the best of both worlds.’Colesbourne Park has been home to snowdrops since the 1870s when Henry John Elwes brought back Galanthus elwesiifrom Turkey. Nurtured by his great grandson, Sir Henry Elwes, the collection has grown to some 300 cultivars.

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