Snowdrops at Rococo Garden
Rococo Garden is just up the hill from where we live. I visited when I first moved to Gloucester, but that was well over ten years ago. It is a lovely, and very different kind of garden to explore. I had seen a few photos of the snowdrops there over the last few weeks. I realised that I had to go for another visit and see the snowdrops for myself. We had a dry day on my first day off this week, so I suggested to Emily that we visit. She was less than impressed at the idea. But with just a ten minute drive, I only had to listen to her grumbling for a relatively short time.
Lots of people have been visiting Rococo Garden over the last few weeks, so we were directed into the overflow car park. The fact that we were parking in a field completely changed Emily’s opinion about our trip and suddenly this was the best place ever – before we had even got in! It was even better once she had got into the gardens as you can probably tell from this picture.
I love snowdrops. When there is very little obvious life around outside, to see them emerge is a sign that Spring won’t be far away. I didn’t realise how many different varieties of snowdrops there are. Rococo Garden has 15 different types. They are spread out throughout the garden. They form the occasional clump in some places, and then huge swathes in others.
Although the snowdrops were the main attraction, and completely dominant, there were other flowers beginning to emerge. There were a few daffodils starting to bloom, and the odd clump of purple crocuses dotted between the snowdrops.
As well as the flowers within the garden, there was plenty of other things that entertained us. Emily was fascinated by all of the little buildings. The white Exedra with its little pond was a castle for a princess. The Gothic Alcove was a king’s castle. Her favourite was the Red House. This was such a pretty little building with stained glass windows, from which you could look down on the main part of the garden.
There were also lots of little statues dotted around. Emily spotted a carved wooden owl in a tree which I completely missed to start off with. We couldn’t miss the beautifully carved castle which had been made from the lower part of the trunk of a fallen tree. Emily decided it must be home to a fairy princess. Rococo Garden really makes the most of what it can from the remains of trees. The most obvious example of this is the natural play area. Although it was very muddy in parts, there were stepping stones and walkway to enjoy. Emily enjoyed the seesaw best, although she had to cope with me hoisting her up and down on it. When she had finished, she asked me if we could come back again one day, with Freyja, to show her the seesaw.
The masses of snowdrops were impressive. Towards the end of our visit, as it began to drizzle and the wind got up, Emily and I found somewhere to sit and have a snack together. After a couple of minutes Emily pointed at the flowers and said “Look Mummy! The snowdrops are dancing!” I looked, and as the wind blew through the Snowdrop Grove, the little white flower heads did nod and sway as if they were dancing.
I think one of the most interesting things about Rococo Garden is that there is such variety within it. None of this seems out of place. There are the buildings, the masses of wild flowers and contrasting organisation of a kitchen garden and maze. I was particularly taken by this tangled mass of roots from the remains of several trees.
We spent two hours at Rococo Garden. By this time Emily had walked a long way and we were both tired. It was also fast approaching lunchtime. The child who had not wanted to come here did not want to leave. She stomped off back towards the Red House and when I told her that we had to go, she sat on the path with her arms folded, scowling at me. Eventually, I persuaded her out with talk of lunch. She fell fast asleep in her car seat during the short journey home.
As stunning as the snowdrop displays are, February is not going to show Rococo Garden at its best. We will definitely be coming back again later in the year, and I can’t wait to see how it changes throughout the seasons.