To commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Shaftesbury, Dorset, a project was launched to plant public spaces in the town with snowdrops. 60,000 were planted in 2012, and the same number last year, with volunteers and schoolchildren helping. These plantings, now getting established and showing their potential, are the foundation of the Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival. This aims, of course, to bring more visitors to the historic hilltop town out of season, but is also getting the community involved through art displays and the various events organised. The opening day of this year's festival (continuing until 1 March) was yesterday, and was marked by a snowdrop study day and sale. With three speakers, the sale and an excellent lunch, the day was a great success, and we then had chance to see the plantings in the town and a garden nearby. There are the makings of an annual galanthophile fixture here!
|Some of the 120,000 snowdrops planted in the past couple of years in Shaftesbury by townsfolk and schoolchildren. They'll soon thicken up.
|The snowdrop sale attracted the usual frenzy of interest.
|The Bet Lynch of the snowdrop scene: Alan Street pulls on the Avon Bulbs stall.
|A pop-up shop selling all sorts of snowdroppy items.
|Moira Harries surveys the exhibit of snowdrop-inspired art in the Shaftesbury Art Centre.
|Emma Thick explains the fine points of snowdrop identification at the display of named cultivars in the grounds of Shaftesbury Abbey.