Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Snowdrops at Altamont Gardens


By Suzanne Pender

THERE are few happier sights than the delicate white-and-green blooms of the snowdrop peeping through the cold winter ground heralding the start of spring and the gardening year. Their arrival is celebrated throughout some of Co Carlow’s fantastic gardens by a dedicated series of events during February.

The popular Snowdrop Month at Altamont Gardens runs from 1-28 February and is a great opportunity to view this unique collection, first started by Corona North, former owner of the gardens. Having been further developed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) over the last 20 years, the collection is now among the largest in Ireland, with over 150 named varieties.

Guided tours take place Monday to Friday throughout February at 2pm and group tours by appointment. The gardens are open daily for general viewing from 9am to 4.30pm. Advance booking of group tours requested.

No galanthophile can afford to miss the Snowdrop Gala at Ballykealey House, Ballon on Saturday 4 February with lectures by Troy Scott Smith (UK), Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Iris Ney (Germany). There are also garden designs, garden tours and lectures.

Following lunch, the afternoon includes a full guided tour of Altamont Gardens and a specialist plants sale in Altamont Plant Sales featuring snowdrops from Avon bulbs via Altamont Plants, Coosheen Plants, Gortkelly Nursery, Fields of Bloom, Assumpta Broomfield, Rosabell Plant Supports and Esker Farm Daffodils (Dave and Joules Hardy).

At €100, the event also includes lectures, lunch, guided tour, exclusive admission to the specialist plants sale and afternoon tea and cake in the Walled Garden Café. Book online at, by PayPal via [email protected], or by credit card, contact Robert Miller on 087 9822135.

Arboretum’s Inspirational Gardens have a specialist snowdrop programme for 2023. Arboretum founder Rachel Doyle created the gardens in 2010 to inspire her customers. Rachel likes to say that the snowdrops ‘wake up’ the Inspirational Gardens, as they are the first to flower every year; and there is something different every month after that.

Snowdrop fun for all the family is on offer each weekend during Snowdrop Month at Huntington Castle. These historic 17th century grounds feature a collection of snowdrops and crocuses to be enjoyed in a unique setting.

For more information on Snowdrop Month, log on to or contact Carlow Tourism on 059 9130411, email [email protected].


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