Tag Archive | snowdrops

The daffs are late…or were they early last year?

This is our second winter in this garden, and they couldn’t be more different. Last winter was mild and wet, with few frosts and rain most days. This winter has been drier, but with many heavy frosts, some lasting all day. The differences really show in the garden.

Firstly, many perennials such as Alchemilla and Crocosmia remained green last winter, whereas this year the leaves went brown and mushy in December.




This photo was taken today of my earliest clump of daffodils, and I have an almost identical picture take last year, but a whole month earlier, in early January.




The difference in timing is not so great with the snowdrops – they may have been only a week or two earlier last winter. But they do seem to be in greater numbers this year.

My camellia is in full bloom, and also seems more floriferous, but it seems to have grown significantly over the year, which would account for that.




So I think that this is a more normal spring, and that the mild weather last year accelerated the growth of many bulbs, but particularly the daffodils.

I find the early spring such an exciting time of year, with new flowers peeking out every time I go in the garden, and fat buds appearing on the shrubs. The witch hazel and the shrubby honeysuckle have fragrant flowers to search out and sniff, and the hellebores are unfurling their dangling blooms. I must cut some and float them in a bowl of water so that I can admire them.




The best bit of gardening

Which is, of course, planting things! I have done a lot of gardening the last few days, or so my muscles tell me, and most of it has been planting, which makes a nice change from all the destructive gardening.




I love bleeding hearts, or Dicentra spectabilis. It is one of my favourite plants, and I now have two in the woodland, between the clumps of daffodils that have finished flowering, where they will add colour through to the summer. I have two of the white variety to plant as well.




These dog’s tooth violets, or Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ were planted a couple of weeks ago in the Acer glade, and have already grown in size and sent up additional flowers. The clumps of leaves behind them should be bluebells, so hopefully I will get a pleasing combination of pale yellow and blue.




This is one of the Acers that gives the glade it’s new name. It is ‘Bloodgood’, just coming into leaf, and should be a lovely strong specimen if it doesn’t get nibbled by anything. This little glade is just a small area in my woodland that was full of snowdrops, so I called it the snowdrop glade. But now it is looking to be also full of bluebells, so I will call it the Acer glade instead, or I shall be changing it’s name every season! There are two other Acers already planted, but they just look like twigs until the leaves emerge, so photos will have to wait.



The long fenceline across the top of the garden is not the most attractive, so I am planting a succession of shrubs, well spaced out, which will be allowed to grow large and help conceal the fence. They don’t look much yet, but the front one is a Californian lilac, Ceanothus ‘Concha’, with blue flowers in late spring, and the rear one is Escallonia ‘Appleblossom’ with pinky white blooms also in late spring.




Further down the garden, in deer country, I have gone for spiky plants, with a red berberis at the front and Sea buckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides, to the rear. I hope they survive!




There is a shrubbery of evergreens in the centre of the garden, and this gap between two large shrubs was crying out to be filled, so I have put in a pink camellia that was rescued from the sales area at the garden centre, and is actually a nice little plant.




The deciduous shrubs around the garden are all starting to leaf, and I still don’t have a clue what most of them are! I can’t wait to see what I have, and am watching them carefully. This one is still a mystery – thick waxy little leaves, or sepals, emerging from each bud, with a little flowerhead of some sort in the middle. Ideas, anyone?

The West Down Lady Walkers…


Today I went for my first walk with the West Down Lady Walkers. I have no idea why us ladies of West Down are not allowed to walk with our menfolk, who have their own West Downers Mens Walking Club. Maybe it is because we did only 5 1/2 miles today, and they tend to do at least 8. Good luck to them!




Now five miles back in Hertfordshire is a nice mornings walk. not too arduous, maybe take 2 hours or so? We were not in Hertforshire. We walked up, and then up some more. There was the odd level bit, then a lot more up. A little bit of down was followed by a very long section of up! Don’t get me wrong, it was all very pretty, with moss and ferns everywhere.




There were a very respectable twelve of us, not bad for a little village club (the men can only muster five members) The walk took us from the Hunters Inn at the top of Exmoor (see here for a previous walk in this area) along a river valley to where a lovely patch of wild snowdrops were flowering.

Photo of snowdrops


We passed gurgling streams and rushing torrents.



Then the walk wound up and up out of the valley onto the tops, with lovely views.





By now I was wondering how a walk could be almost entirely up with no down. And then when we returned to the valley where we started, I understood. The Inn was almost directly below us in the bottom of the valley, and we had a very steep descent to get to our lunch! A pint of local cider slipped down very easily after nearly three hours of walking.