Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Saturday, 15 January 2011

GBBD: Green and White Shoots


I had quite a surprise a few days ago when I found these wonderful snowdrops in my front garden. They're much earlier this year - by a good two weeks - which I'm amazed at seeing December 2010 is officially the coldest since 1890 in this area. I know many of our spring bulbs need a period of cold to perform at their best, but didn't think that extended to early flowering.

Going out to photograph them for Blooms Day made me realise I have a little job to do today - if I can dodge the rain - to keep their hundreds of cousins happy in the front side garden. This area partly belongs to us and merges seamlessly into an area owned by the local council. Needless to say this was the scene of my first spot of guerrilla gardening (though I wasn't aware of the phrase then) as I quickly realised it wouldn't be looked after.

This is very much a shade garden owing to the many trees at the side of the house and it narrows to a tiny strip of just a few inches wide at its furthest extent. It's the perfect place for small spring bulbs such as snowdrops and crocus and also the perfect place for my neighbour to hang some bird feeders so her young daughter can watch the antics of the many birds (hurray!) and squirrels (boo!) who visit.

Whilst this is a good thing to do, I spotted the ground feeders such as the fat pigeons and the more nimble chaffinches have pecked and worn away much of the soil surrounding my bulbs. Luckily most of them still have their roots in the soil, but look like they need a nice blanket of compost to tuck them up and keep warm. They're showing plenty of green shoots, but unlike their neighbours no flower stems topped with a tiny glimpse of white can be seen yet.

It'll be a pleasant task, and as Lucy said in response to yesterday's post, to be amongst the snowdrops will make my heart sing. It appears many of us need sights such as these (and the year's first vase of Cornish daffodils on my table*) to help us get through the winter. It also means my annual weekly snowdrop count has started**. As Lazy Trollop's been saying, there's quite a number of #reasonstobecheerful at the moment :)

* = so yes Carrie, do treat yourself and put a vase of instant sunshine on your table immediately :)

** = you can join me if you like, they're all there in the above photo. Future virtual counts will be a tad more tricky ;)

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

14 comments:

  1. Haven't seen a single snowdrop flower yet so I'm jealous. I don't know what it is about our area but there are never many. We have to rely on ones in pots. Daffodils are another matter - though none yet, of course. Yesterday, in a hopeful way, I washed up a rather attractive bottle and, instead of putting it in the re-cycling, put it aside ready for the first daffodils. (They look daft, flopped sideways in a wide-necked vase.) I never buy cut flowers . . . except . . . as you mention, when the first daffodils appear in the shops. Meanwhile, I'll imagine them . . .

    Lucy

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  2. Aren't they beautiful? Mine are showing but not yet in flower up here. I remember reading about your snowdrop count and since then I have started to do it myself. At least I know I am not alone when my family laugh at me!

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  3. I find it endlessly fascinating how plants flower at such different times in different locations. I have three drifts (actually more like lumps) of Tete-a-tete daffs in the garden and one group flowers a full two weeks before the other two. The joys of micro climates!

    I was jealous of your snowdrops but then I realised that I might still have some when yours are over ;-) And perhaps they are different kinds.

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  4. I can not wait to see the snowdrops pop out. I have a very long wait though. I am surprised how much is blooming this Bloom Day. Bulbs are bursting when it seems a bit early. Your little snowdrops are lovely, and you have squirrels? Sorry to hear, but I bet you grand daughter loves them.

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  5. Your snow drops make my heart sing too! Happy Bloom Day!

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  6. There are few more cheering sights than the first snowdrop blooms. Last week (before the snow), mine still only had a bud forming, not even near blooming position.
    How do you do a snowdrop count? Do you count the plants or the blooms? Do snowdrops send up more than one bloom per bulb? I need to learn more.

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  7. Hmm, lovely!
    I'm afraid it's way too wet and windy for me to venture out today, so your lovely photo is the next best thing! :)

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  8. No GBBD for me with deep snow cover here and more expected today plus no flowering houseplants so I am enjoying the Southern Hemisphere and California gardens! Lovely photo of your snowdrops. I am intrigued by your weekly snowdrop count and would love to hear about it. I am an American galathophile who runs a nursery and sells snowdrops.

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  9. What a pretty little group of snowdrops. It's exciting that the count begins already. Thanks for sharing this with us for bloom day.

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  10. so pretty and blooming already. My daffodils are up, but no blooms yet.

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  11. With all the deep snow and hard frosts we had no snowdrops at all, and then quite suddenly they're all sprouting up everywhere. Such a lovely sight at this chilly time of year.

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  12. what a coincidence, I made it out to the garden this afternoon for the first time since before the New Year,and raking leaves discovered a clump just a couple of days behind yours...and I bought my first bunch of daffs for myself today -89p seemed pretty fair for a little dose of spring!
    (and the word verification is 'dosioni'!)

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  13. I saw snowdrops in Central Park last year on January 15th and was surprised. I've got none here, or at least I don't think so. They're under snow!

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  14. Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed my first harbinger of Spring!

    A very warm welcome to the Whimsical Gardener,Carolyn and Kylee :)

    Plantaliscious - my first flowering clump of daffodils are usually in the back garden in February. However, last year inexplicably the front garden won the race, though they were much later than usual.

    MMD - I simply count the number of flowering heads. If they look like the ones in the photo or are out further then they count. Any stems with just a hint of white still encased with green don't count, though of course they are the promise of additions to the count in future weeks.

    Carolyn - from what I can tell some cultivars may have a couple of flowering stems and the rest are single. For me its hard to tell whether mine have this or whether I just have very tightly packed clumps. I just have plain old G. nivalis and G. 'Flore pleno'. If I'm lucky I might have some G. 'S Arnott' from the place it was discovered later this year. They'd sold out when I visited Painswick Rococo garden last year, but I've been promised some from the nursery there :)

    Lu - mine have been out for about 10 days now - quite a shock!

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