Crocuses may be more colourful, daffodils more dazzling, but snowdrops hold a special place in the hearts of gardeners for being the first spring bulbs to appear. Hardy harbingers of the season to come, these pure little blooms dare to put on a show when temperatures keep most plants underground – and most flower fans curled up on the sofa.
Ahead of its official Spring opening, London's oldest botanic garden unlocks its doors for a winter stint each year to showcase its collection of snowdrops (Latin name Galanthus, meaning 'milk flower') at their peak.
Guided tours will highlight the huge variety of snowdrops out there – from the common snowdrop, G nivalis, to the large flowered, honey-scented G Sam Arnott – some so prized among galanthophiles that a single bulb can change hands for hundreds of pounds. No booking required, but check the Chelsea Physic Garden's website for details of the walks and talks taking place.