25th year of spectacular Snowdrops at Hodsock during 250th year of Buchanan’s residency
The dates for north Nottinghamshire’s famous Snowdrop gardens have been announced for the 25th year in succession. George Buchanan, ninth generation resident and general manager of Hodsock Priory, will officially open the gates to his family estate from Saturday 6th February 2016 to Sunday 6th March 2016.
In February 1990, Lady Belinda Buchanan opened her glorious Snowdrop gardens to the public for the first time. She was astonished by the numbers of visitors who arrived, and who returned year after year. As numbers grew, so increased visitor’s comforts and facilities with the family offering refreshments and light meals, plant sales and guided tours of the formal gardens and woodlands. Today George and the estate team have refined the running of the popular annual event, with the exception of influencing the weather.
George says: “We’ve come a long way since our first Snowdrop Sunday on a cold, wet February day in 1990. We honestly didn’t expect anyone to brave the elements. We had a trestle table, a biscuit tin that doubled as the cash box, a kettle, some polystyrene cups and tea bags. Oh, and one toilet. By the end of the afternoon we’d had over 700 people through the gate. Overwhelmed but delighted we realised there was an appetite for coming to see this wonderful garden. One visitor that day said to me, “Always keep the magic” and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.”
Lady Buchanan is famously quoted as saying: “Snowdrops is our ancestry. It all started with my husband’s grandmother, Lady Beatrix Stanley and her daughter Lady Barbara Buchanan. They kept the famous gardens at Sutton Bonington and Sibbertoft. A love of horticulture is therefore inherent and somewhat inevitable”.
George Buchanan is proud of his family roots. He holds the legacy of Hodsock Priory in his hands and the responsibility of continuing the estate’s traditions and family life. Together with his wife Katharine, he brings up his two sons and two daughters in the servant’s quarters of the main house which has enjoyed a resurgence of life as an exclusive luxury wedding venue.
The family are celebrating their 250th year of residency at Hodsock. The beautiful listed house was signed over to George’s ancestor, William Mellish, on Lady Day (25th March) 1765, a date significant in the Julian calendar to farming communities.
Snowdrops at Hodsock will open daily between Saturday 6th February and Sunday 6th March 2016, from 10am to 4pm. Prices are still frozen from 2012 at £5 for adults, £4.50 for groups of 10+, £1 for children over 6. Infants and wheelchair users go FREE. It’s well worth becoming a Friend of Hodsock to benefit from discounts on tickets and purchases. Advance tickets are available online from November 2015 at www.snowdrops.co.uk.
The marquee tea room, gift and plant sales will be set in the grounds aside the impressive Tudor Gatehouse with direct access into the Snowdrop woods. The campfire will be lit in the Glade where you can eat a picnic or grab a hot drink and snack from the woodland cabin. A free history talk takes place by the campfire at around 2pm each day.