The year’s first snowdrops I spotted in my garden reminded me of To A Snowdrop, a sonnet by William Wordsworth. He described it as:

'Lone flower, hemmed in with snows, and white as they

But hardier far, once more I see thee bend

Thy forehead as if fearful to offend, Like an unbidden guest.'

Snowdrops certainly are hardy: the tips of the shoots are especially hard, adapted to break through frozen soil. But often, they are not lonely at all: there are many places in England where you can see whole carpets of brilliant white, and I would urge you to visit at least one such place in the next few weeks: it is an unforgettable sight. Every February, I visit Kingston Lacy, a National Trust property in Dorset, to admire their snowdrops walk, which stretches through the splendid 40-acre garden for one and a half miles. With more than 40 varieties on display, it is a dazzling spectacle that heralds the advent of spring.

In Somerset, East Lambrook Manor Gardens will host their annual Festival of Snowdrops throughout February for the second time, showcasing no fewer than 150 varieties, of which 60 will be on sale. The gardens were created by Margery Fish, the celebrated gardener, plantswoman and writer, who was one of the first ‘galanthophiles’ (snowdrop enthusiasts) of the modern era.

A few years ago, I travelled to Hampshire for the sole purpose of seeing snowdrops in the garden of Chawton House, a historic property located just a short stroll away from Jane Austen’s House Museum in the picturesque village of Chawton. They celebrate the arrival of snowdrops every year, but this February, their cosy tearoom will even offer a special, snowdrops – themed menu. We are fortunate that generations of gardeners have nurtured and added to their collections for many years to achieve such abundance of flowers.

Snowdrops’ beguiling beauty has many admirers and the rising prices of bulbs reflect that: my favourite bulb supplier’s list includes plenty of single bulbs at £30 or £40. But these are cheap compared with the £725 paid for Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ in 2012, or £1,390 for Galanthus plicatus ‘Golden Fleece’ in 2015. Far less than the astronomical prices that single tulip bulbs fetched at the height of tulip mania, but impressive for a small flower that is available in essentially one colour. To my untrained eye, all 350 species and cultivars of snowdrops look equally enchanting.

According to one legend, the snowdrop dates back to the Garden of Eden. After God banished Adam and Eve, Eve grew tired of the endless winters. An angel took pity on her and turned snowflakes into snowdrops to give her hope that spring was on its way.

Do not miss the chance to see them.