Updated: Feb 27
In the next few weeks Dorset will be in the first flush of spring and leading the charge is Shaftesbury. Every February our historic town is transformed by one tiny flower, the cheerful snowdrop. In BBC1's Countryfile on Sunday night, Shaftesbury's famous 'Snowdrops Festival' was featured and didn't our town look great! We turned on the television to see friends and familiar faces as well as bunting and banners amongst the snowdrop season-themed decorations that really added a sense of occasion to the High Street. Tall, elegant snowdrop lanterns were seen being created by locals in workshops ahead of the culmination of celebrations, the evening parade. It was certainly magical, like watching festive fireflies on the cobbled hill of Gold Hill. Famous for that iconic 70s commercial, a traditional baker's bike with a snowdrop display in the basket was seen being pushed up the hill. There were stunning views of the Blackmore Vale from the top of Trinity Tower too. Under clear night skies we heard from an astro photographer who sat in the darkness waiting to get an urban shot of Orion over Gold Hill before heading to the special area of Cranborne Chase (see my previous blog post) that is blessed with a high proportion of clear nights for more shots of the night sky.
Snowdrops are a lasting legacy of the celebrations marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee when around 100,000 bulbs were planted by the Shaftesbury community (one species is called 'John's Y Fronts', yes truly!) and now as a renowned centre for snowdrop tourism we draw people who enjoy the impressive snowdrop sites. After all, gardens aren't about plants but about people and this is what the beauty of the snowdrop has done, drawn people together.
What a beautiful town, you must come and visit.