I have largely avoided being drawn into snowdrop mania this year. I have no snowdrops in my garden (which is a pity and ought to be rectified) and have had precious little opportunity to get out and admire others’. Even at the RHS Spring Plant Fair last week I bypassed snowdrops in order to reach plants more suited to my garden and my budget. But, as they say, the best things in life are free. On the way to the station at Tisbury in Wiltshire yesterday we traversed a deeply sunken lane between the villages of Semley and Newtown. Here, approaching a sturdy stone bridge, we discovered enough snowdrops to satisfy the most ardent snowdrop enthusiast.
Cascading down steep banks, the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, mingled with the double kind, Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’. I have witnessed this spectacle before, but never on such a fine day, or when I’ve had an opportunity to stop and admire it. The car duly parked, I walked up the stretch of lane between the entrances to Hatch House and Pythouse, enjoying warm sunshine on my cold face. The snowdrops bounced and played in a stiff breeze, their tiny blooms just past their peak but still lovely to behold.
I was asked why snowdrops might have colonised these banks so prolifically. I can only imagine it’s because they’re undisturbed, watered by rain coming down from higher ground, yet still well-drained. Later in spring and summer the bulbs will be shaded by the canopies of surrounding oak trees, and passing wildlife will help to shake free the snowdrop seeds, enabling them to form large carpets relatively quickly. I shall return to this spot again in June, when I hope to visit Pythouse Kitchen Garden, which provides flowers and produce for a popular restaurant on the same site.
Here are there primroses had begun to flower and wild garlic leaves pushed up through leaf litter. These harbingers of spring are in for a shock next week as the Beast from the East progresses across the country. It’s arrived in Broadstairs already, ripping frozen, desiccated leaves from my poor, tender plants and racing through every nook and cranny on the east side of The Watch House. Even with the heating on full blast I need a couple of jumpers to stay warm whilst not moving about. On the west side of the house you would only feel the beast’s bite by straying outside unprotected.
I write this post surrounded by plants which would normally be safe enough in an unheated greenhouse. None will appreciate the conditions if the temperature falls to -4ºC as predicted, and snow falls. I’ve brought as many plants as I can into the relative warmth of the garden room. I’m reminded that aeoniums smell rather delicious when they are warm. Tomorrow will be for lighting a fire and reading books.
Wishing you all a splendid weekend. TFG.
Photographs taken using iPhone X