Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ 20/02/13


Irises at the Royal Horticultural Society London Plant and Design Show,Vincent Square, London ~ 19/02/13.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Snowed Under

Top row, l-r - Galanthus plicatus 'Diggory', galanthus 'John Gray' and galanthus 'Mrs Thompson'.
Middle row, l-r - Galanthus 'Lapwing', galanthus 'Alan's Treat, galanthus 'Lost Labelus'
Bottom row, l-r -  yet another Galanthus 'Lost Labelus', galanthus 'Wendy's Gold, and galanthus elwessi' Mrs Macnamara'.

I've been snowed under this February - not with work or with cold white flakes but with snowdrops. Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I have have a weakness for these plants so please bear with me. I've really enjoyed and appreciated my 'drops this year. The colder weather has seemed to extend their flowering period, so that they are really living up to their delightful name of 'Fair Maids of February'. I would be hard pushed to name a favourite but this year my soft spot has been for 'Alan's Treat', bought as a dormant bulb last summer, in remembrance of my dear Dad whose name was Alan.

When I've not been admiring my little collection of special snowdrops, I've been out in a freezing greenhouse with hail hammering on the roof, camera in hand trying to to do them justice. Back inside I've been watching Ebay auctions amazed at the prices some folk will pay for these flowers. What intrigues me is that the snowdrops which can be obtained from specialist nurseries at reasonable prices often selling for astronomical prices on Ebay. A snowdrop I grow has been selling for up to £50 on Ebay this winter - I bought mine for less than a fifth of the price. I feel that I am letting a lucrative business opportunity pass me by.

In the cosy warmth I've also been pouring over a recent addition to my bookshelf 'Snowdrops' by Gunter Waldorf. I wish that I had come across this book a few years ago as it is at just at the right level for anybody starting off growing these bulbs. I will try and write a review soon. Of course as I read through it you can imagine that my wish list is just growing and growing.

It's also been a pleasure to discover fellow bloggers who have a similar fascination for these bulbs - Pauline over at 'Lead up the Garden Path', Cathy who blogs at 'Rambling in the Garden' and it now looks as if Helen of 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' may be succumbing to white fever too.

I think that this will be more or less be my last completely snowdrop themed post for a while but no promises. Time to turn my thoughts to other matters.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ February 2013

I soon put the February grumps behind me yesterday morning, when some most welcome sunshine and these flowers greeted me. There was a distinct hint of spring not being so far away. The hellebores are all unnamed whilst the snowdrop clumps are galanthus nivalis and the double is galanthus nivalis f.pleniflorus  'Flore Pleno'. The left hand snowdrop in the middle row is a named snowdrop - let me introduce you to galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'. She was discovered in 1993 in a Germany cemetery. The name was derived from an old German song, 'Wenn Ich die Blonde Inge mit nach Hause bringe' which translates as 'When I will bring golden-haired Inge home'. If you look closely though at one of the flowers, I think that this Inge is in urgent need of the peroxide bottle for a retouch.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is kindly hosted each month by Carol over at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday - 'Dancing Queen'

stippled-photo



Monday, 11 February 2013

Grumpy

stippled-photo



I'm not sure whether I look as grumpy as the above snowdrop but I've definitely been out of sorts these last few days. There is domestic upheaval with the imminent arrival of new carpets, the weather has been dire so no chance to escape to the garden and my plans to start seed sowing yesterday were thwarted by a lack of vermiculite. I searched the greenhouse high and low but absolutely no sign of that bag that I'm sure that I never finished last year. Oh well thank goodness that February is only temporary. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

P.S. There is a snowdrop with the name of 'Grumpy' although the above does not answer to that name.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ 6th February 2013


Just look what difference a few days in the sun has made - from a sickly yellow to an almost healthy shade of green!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Puzzled


Needless to say there are plenty of things that I should be getting on with. Himself bought the heated propagator down from the loft yesterday, seed packets have been arriving in the post, the allotment annual master plan needs fine-tuning etc. but I am now seriously side-tracked. Whilst clearing out a cupboard last week I came across a jigsaw puzzle. How, when and why it entered this house is beyond recall. It must have been lurking in the cupboard though for some time and has never been assembled as the pieces were still sealed in a bag. Maybe it was a gift at some point or I bought it only to put it to one side only to promptly forget its existence. 

It's been more years than I care to remember since I've completed a jigsaw other than the occasional online puzzle. However with the weather being still too cold to tempt me outside the jigsaw came out at the weekend. I thought that I should give it a go. It's a MONSTER - coming in at 1000 pieces and measuring 72 x 51cm. It was designed and produced by the National Trust. I am presuming that the garden features and houses are linked to National Trust properties, although there are no details to confirm this. The house in the centre looks hauntingly familiar but I wish that I could put a name to it. 

I've been allowed the luxury of spreading this out on the breakfast bar. I think that himself sees this as a preferable alternative to plant pots filled with seedlings occupying the same space. Progress so far is slow - the outer perimeter is all in place bar one so far elusive piece. I'm now filling in on the left hand side slowly working towards the maze which looks rather challenging. What has surprised me is just how relaxing it is, so much so that I think that I could have another serious addiction on my hands. What about you and jigsaws - love them or would they be one of your candidates for 'Room 101'?

Friday, 1 February 2013

A Poem For February

'They dangle in thousands from the hazels, 
aligned by strict gravity, melodious notes 
swept along a fine staff of branches invisible 
against the dark confusion of February forest. 

Long winter-flowers, hovering, pale yellow 
with greenish tinge; their perfect profusion 
sings an orderly chord—you can hear the hum 
with your eyes.

We have survived the big storm, 
trees breaking beneath burdens of ice, 
broken roofs, camp dinners, candlelight, 
homes gone cold. We cancelled gatherings, 

postponed the overschedule, came back online
with stories--how we made it through. 
Here in the heart of winter, autumn 
has been carried way back in the runoff. 

Harbingers of spring are still folded-in, buried 
too deep to swell, awaiting any hint of warmth. 
But these catkins pronounce a golden fairy light
that chants to us through the veiled drift of mist:

                                            steady in the stillness, 
                                            glimmer in the dark.'


~ 'Catkins' by Don Freas.

Illustration by Cicely Mary Barker.