It was a glorious spring day when I took my ma, my Seed Sower and general R & D, to Hodsock Priory. We have precious little time for such luxuries, and so we treasure every second we get for garden visits, so important as they are for inspiration and feeding the soul.
Hodsock snowdrops have never disappointed and this visit was no exception. It's my mum's kind of garden - lots to see but not too far to travel. The snow drops are simple and en masse have the same sort of impact that fields of poppies or rape have - they saturate your vision with sparkling white and green, like lots of little diamonds on green velvet.
I'm a particular lover of single snowdrops, their simplicity suits their colouring and the double forms never seems to quite have the right proportions and remind me of ruffled Elizabethan collars and somehow the thought of Henry VIII just wrecks the daintiness of the snowdrop for me. All that over-eating and over-sex just doesn't go with demure little snowdrops.
Wonderful as the snowdrop walks and woodland is, Hodsock is about so much more. For a start, you can't go wrong having a garden set against a historic building. Genus locii and all that - the place just oozes history and I love to imagine who has walked the paths I took before, 50 years ago, 100 years, 400 years previously.
But it's the plants ultimately that get me excited. There are the expected hellebores and spring bulbs. For me, it's the winter-flowering shrubs that do it. Coreopsis, winter honeysuckle, viburnums and hamamelis were the stand outs - the scent, the delicate nature and intricacies of the flowers. I love this time of year.
And this year, Hodsock are opening for bluebells. I can't wait. My fondest and earliest childhood memories are of beech woods and bluebells and it's up there with fields of poppies and rape for stopping you in your tracks colour saturation. Just add a little dappled sunlght to play upon the leaf mosaic and you've got me completely.
What's your favourite en masse planting? Poppies, corn fields, lavender fields, sunflowers?