Snowdrop awareness day10th July 2016
Tesco, Shepton Mallet, kindly invited us to have a stand in the foyer of their store to promote our Snowdrop Festival & project. This was a very successful day, giving us the opportunity to spread the word about our project to plant the green spaces of Shepton Mallet with snowdrops in celebration of 19th century Sheptonian, James Allen, the first person to hybridise snowdrops.
We spoke to 100′s of people, sold bags, raffle tickets and Galanthus ‘Magnet’ postcards.
T he raffle was drawn by one of the Tesco security staff and was won by our member Sandra Morris.
HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP
- Join the Horticultural Society
- Plant snowdrops in your front garden this autumn for everyone to see
- to plant snowdrops in SMHS planting sessions
- to set up your own work or social group to plant snowdrops
- to spread awareness of the project among other groups and organisations
- funds for buying bulbs and to publicise the project and to go towards repairing and restoring the Allen family memorial
- snowdrop bulbs from your garden
- Grant permission
- for planting on your land in visible places (this is more in connection with businesses owning land on the public highway rather than front gardens)
- Date – Friday 17th, Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th February 2017
- A winter event for the whole community:
- Snowdrops for sale in the Market Place
- Snowdrop Displays in local shops
- Snowdrop Art Exhibition
- Snowdrop Planting in town
- Snowdrop Rambles in the countryside
SHEPTON’S SNOWDROP HISTORY
- When snowdrops were first cultivated it was only from species that could be found in the wild.
- In the late 1800s James Allen of Shepton Mallet began to cross-breed different wild snowdrop species to create new cultivars – he was the first person in the world to do this.
- He did this work at Park House and then, after his brother died, in Highfield House in Shepton Mallet.
- He bred hundreds of new varieties and addressed the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Unfortunately many of his varieties were wiped out by a fungal infection called Botrytis, but some survived.
- Magnet and Merlin are both varieties that we know were bred by James Allen and the plants we have today would originally have come from his.
- James Allen is buried in Shepton Mallet Cemetery in a family plot in front of the chapel.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
Common Snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis = 8p each, £1 buys 12 (ish)
Magnet = £2.50 each
Merlin = £8 each
Raising funds to repair and restore the Allen family memorial in Shepton Mallet Cemetery will cost several thousands of pounds.