Friday, 8 January 2016

Snowdrop time is upon us

This week I spoke to James Leatherland, who’s been opening his garden for the National Garden Scheme for 23 years- helping to raise £60,000 for charity.
James, who’s 84, is famous for his snowdrop displays, and for raising new varieties.
Mum and I met him four years ago, and I learned that he’d named snowdrops after his wife, Joan May, and his daughter Fiona, and son Nicholas.
Since then, he’s also grown new varieties and named them after his grandchildren Amy Jade and George Benjamin. 
I would love to name one after my Mum, Marion, who’s been such an inspiration to me in so many ways, so I will be having a go at sowing seed and looking out for a new snowdrop variety!
It’s also amazing to see how much money can be raised by simply opening your own garden, and selling plants you’ve grown yourself. It’s given me something to think about, as this year I am determined to help more charities in any way I can.
The NGS Yellow Book scheme last year  donated £2.6 million to charities that mean a lot to me, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospices UK and Parkinson’s UK.
And so many people have benefited from donations to The Carers Trust, The Queen’s Nursing Institute and the Cavell Nurses Trust.
NGS also supports gardening charities including Perennial, the RHS Trainees, Gardening Museum internship and NT Gardening Careerships.
You can visit James’ half acre garden on March 13 this year. Luckily, many of his snowdrops are late varieties, so should still be in flower.
Here’s the address:
18 Church Hill
For more info go to –

For more snowdrops: The LRGT also has a coach trip planned to Easton Walled Gardens and Little Ponton Hall in Lincs on 13th February. More details from our website
Photo Fred Cholmeley

This blog is written by Karen and Alison and features items we hope our members will find inspiring. These are our own views and opinions.

Please do add a comment, as we would love to hear from you. 


  1. Having a snowdrop named after your mum is such a lovely idea, there must be someone who can help you do this? I think visiting James's garden sounds a very good idea. Thanks for telling us about it Karen.

  2. Thanks Alison. I've got some hints and tips from James on how to go about growing a new variety. It's easier than it sounds. Such an inspiring gardener, and generous to sell all his plants in aid of the NGS.


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