Monday, 5 December 2011

The First 'Drop


To quote from that well known seasonal refrain ~ 'The weather outside is frightful', but  I still have managed to nip out between the frequent hailstone showers, to take a photo of my first snowdrop of the new season. To give her her full title she is galanthus elwesii 'Mrs Macnamara'. She originated from the garden of Mrs Macnamara who happened to be the mother - in - law of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.  She is an early flowerer but seems to have arrived ahead of time this year. I think that she may well have opened fully by the end of the week if the forecast was not as dire as it is.

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I have a small collection of named snowdrops which I first wrote about here back in February 2009. I keep my bulbs in pots mainly because it enables me to enjoy them at close quarters near to the house. They brave the world when most other plants are hibernating  - their frail and dainty appearance belies the fact that they are tough customers. Another appealing feature is that snowdrops have a subtle almost honey like scent, which you do not fully appreciate when they are in the ground. As getting my nose to the ground is not as easy as it once was I appreciate having the pots  nearer to my olfactory organ.

Sadly the very fact that I keep them in pots has been a source of much woe as the past couple of winters has decimated my collection. I always knew that I was taking a risk but the winter weather had not been an issue in ten years or more or so of growing this way. If we have a protracted cold spell this winter they will be moved rapidly to warmer climes and if these cold winters persist I will have to plant them into the ground. Alternatively when they start to clump up I might split them between pots and the ground. 'Mrs Macnamara' is being most obliging in this department - there are some littlies coming through. Sadly I will not be able to replace all those that perished as I do not have the spare pennies to spend on plants that I had a few years ago. However I hope to slowly add to their numbers again. Having a winter birthday is quite handy as it when most of the specialist growers produce their catalogues! I do not think though that I could ever become a full blown 'galanthophile' as the really serious collectors are called. Apart from the rising cost, there seems to be very little discernible difference in the markings of some snowdrops, yet if there was a risk of me becoming addicted to one particular plant snowdrops would be in the lead. More to come on the subject as the winter unfolds.

12 comments:

  1. I need to expand the population of snowdrops at home and at the allotment. At present we just have a few planted under my Black Elder.

    Hopefully I'll be able to buy a decent stock when they are "in the green" and scatter them all over the shop.

    I don't think I've made as much use of the time laid up as I could. Have read plenty of books, redrawn the layout plan for the allotment and ordered some seed. But too much time has been spent dozing and moping. I finally got out of the house this weekend. I discovered that a local garden centre - Van Hage near Ware, and the most wonderful garden centre - Burford, both provide wheelchairs for customers. At Van Hage I stocked up on a few essentials, in particular bord food that was on special offer.

    Burford has always been a special treat, most often as part of a journey. But on Saturday we made a day of it, arriving for an early lunch, then taking our time to look round, then once we'd made our purchases making our way back to the restaurant for afternoon tea.

    Can't wait to be back on my feet and gardening properly again.

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  2. Oh, snowdrops already? That's really scary! Today has been the first time this season that I've noticed wintery temperatures, although even then I was fooled by sitting indoors in a pool of sunshine! Hope your snowdrops survive the winter - plants are expensive aren't they!

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  3. Oooh, exciting, first of many I am sure. Pity about the losses, but given time I am sure you will bulk up your favorites.

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  4. Hi Anna - I had a bit of a surprise when I saw your first snowdrop .... a tad early! but nevertheless a beautiful sight, and I love her history
    K

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  5. Ooh! spooky - we were leaving comments on each others blogs at the same time!
    :)
    K

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  6. Hi Anna, lovely blog you have, I will be back some other time at a slightly earlier time in the evening....just can't seem to get myself off the computer these days!

    Like you, I have also slightly confused plants in my garden, my crocuses and daffodils have been on their way up for several weeks. My London garden has produced some astonishingly early arrivals in previous years, but not this early! The weather has certainly been strange the last couple of years here in the UK :-)

    Cheers!

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  7. What a surprise! Everything's a bit topsy turvy in the garden at the moment isn't it?

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  8. Hi Anna,

    Such a nice surprise! No signs of Snowdrops here yet, but we do have other bulbs popping up.

    I know I too could probably become a collector... But then, I just can't quite justify £20 for a single bulbs or plant... Lol. As elegant as they may be :)
    I actually like the simplicity of the basic blooms compared to the doubles anyway.

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  9. It's amazing to see snowdrops blooming when some summer flowers are still in bloom. I think you would need to have a never ending source of money to be a serious collector, some plants are so expensive.

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  10. Oo I'll have to go out and check to see if mine are coming along - I always forget about them as they are in a secret place.

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  11. Mrs Mcnamara is very beautiful - and I love plants that have a tale to tell - I lost quite a few different things last year so I am trying to be more selective as I slowly replace them - Jane

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  12. Hi Anna, I ordered some snowdrops just the other day (on sale no less, as it is late in the season to be planting them here) and your post has given me some pause as to how to plant them. I would hate to miss their subtle fragrance or their early appearance.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.