Snouting out snowdrops

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Did you know that pigs have a penchant for gardening? Neither did I! It turns out that they play an important role at Cambo Estate in Fife, one of more than 50 locations which are inviting you to come and visit during the Scottish Snowdrop Festival from 1 February – 16 March 2014.

During the year, the green-trottered pigs keep their snouts to the grassy ground, rooting out the ivy which could smother the snowdrop bulbs. In a happy coincidence, it’s usually the case that as the snowdrops begin to burst in beautiful swathes around the estate, the pigs give birth to piglets. It’s possible to meet and feed the pigs who will be happy to receive some food to munch on in return for their gardening!

It’s not only pigs who have been working hard though. Across the country, a variety of locations have been getting ready for the festival. There are castles grounds to explore including Culzean Castle & Country Park in south Ayrshire, and quiet lochsides like Lindores House in Cupar, Fife.Snowdrops are also springing up at historic locations such as Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders, as well as at estates full of outdoor fun, including Finlaystone Estate in Renfrewshire.

Get the snow’down on snowdrops The scientific name for the common snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis, with Galanthus meaning milky white flowers, and nivalis meaning snowy. There are hundreds of varieties of snowdrops. Many have cute names such as Fred’s Giant, Robin Hood, Blewbury Tart, and Grumpy. There is a group of snowdrops named after ‘Shakespeare’s ladies’, with names including Titania, Ophelia, Desdemona and Nerissa. The flowers are also known as flowers of hope.

Events

Why not join a walk at Newhailes in East Lothian on 15 February or explore the gardens of the House of the Binns in West Lothian with a guide on 16 & 22 February?

Cambo Estate, Fife
Follow the trail at Snowdrops by Starlight from 12 – 16 February to discover a spectacular light and sound show, including kinetic sculptures and live music. There will also be daily guided walks and, from 11 – 17 February there will be outdoor promenade performances of a special production called A Midwinter Night’s Dream in Cambo Forest.

Finlaystone Estate, Renfrewshire
Events taking place at Finlaystone in February include a lantern walk featuring characters from Grimms’ Fairytales and guided snowdrop trails by the ranger.

The Town of Coupar Angus, Perthshire
There will be a whole weekend of events taking place in the town from 1 – 2 March, including arts, crafts and a snowdrop
cycle ride.

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Miriam Evans

Miriam likes baking, sewing, BBC Radio 4, living in Scotland and promoting it with VisitScotland!

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