Friday, 14 February 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2014

The post I'm about to put together really is a rushed job.  Two reasons for that, the first is that I'm having a little away day tomorrow with a couple of gardening friends and since it will be dark when I get up and dark when I get home - there will be little chance of getting some pictures together.  The second, here's me in a hurry to get some shots of what's in flower and realise the battery in the camera is as dead as a dodo!  Just as a watched pot never boils - uncharged batteries don't replenish themselves as quickly as you'd like.  With light fading fast, cloud coming in, rain threatening and wind battering almost everything around - I stood little chance of getting decent pictures.

Unlike most of you putting together some wonderfully written blogs this Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, mines is rather short and sweet - a bit like myself, eh, maybe not!  Short, certainly but sweet, I doubt that would be an adjective used to describe me, EVER!  However, all is not lost, there's lots more to see over at May Dream Gardens where Carol hosts the Garden Blogger's Bloom Day meme on the 15th of every month.  I'm just a few hours early and I will get round to linking and reading on Sunday.

It was nigh on impossible to get a decent picture of snowdrops today.  I have no named varieties growing in the garden.  All are plain old Galanthus nivalis - with a few doubles thrown in for good measure.   Every snowdrop growing in my garden was rescued last year from a garden that was about to be covered in concrete - the elderly lady who lives there needed her path widened and an access ramp put in.  These little beauties would have otherwise been ripped out.  I jumped at the chance to rehome them.  I divided up the large sized clumps and planted the smaller clumps around the garden in the hope that they will naturalise and spread around. 

Everyday is a school day isn't it.  A common name for Snowdrops I had never heard before was Fair Maids of February - they are indeed this February.  I found this verse which really does sum up the weather here right now.

FEBRUARY fair maids,
  All along the lane,
Dancing with the breezes,
  Nodding to the rain,
Whispering tales of Springtime
  Through the snow and sleet,
February fair maids,
  Brave and bright and sweet.
February fair maids,
  Soon you'll disappear,
Soon the swallow's twitter
  Tells that Spring is here.
Soon the rose and lily
   Laugh 'neath skies of blue
February fair maids,
  None so brave as you.
February fair maids,
  Dancing down the lane,
Bowing to the breezes,
  Smiling at the rain,
Lifting laughing faces
  Through the snow and sleet–
February fair maids,
  Brave and bright and sweet.   
    by Norah M Holland (1876-1925)
The hellebores are just about coming into their own - a few will be the first time they have flowered in the garden.  Plugs plants bought back in 2011.  They have now reached flowering size but are as yet still tightly budded.  They were a mix of White Spotted and Red oriental type hybrids. 
My favourite Hellebore - Helleborus x ericsmithii Winter Moonbeam is rather fickle.  Turning it's first flowers away.  Still, lots more to come over the next few weeks.  Mental note to self - do not cut out old foliage, it doesn't look nearly as spectacular as it did when it was new last year.  Gardening is a learning curve isn't it?  That's one mistake I won't make again. 
Another Oriental Hybrid, which should have a name but was purchased a while before I realised how useful it would be to keep labels.

Winter flowering Violas and Pansies still doing their bit.  I am fair pleased with these Violas and Pansies but boy does it give me concern as to where those pesky slugs have gone.  I have visions of them gathering in their masses just beyond the fence waiting to do reek havoc.  In years gone by the war against those slimey garden critters always began on Valentine's Day.  I am now coming into the 3rd year of using no chemicals in the garden.  Perhaps the garden has reached a natural balance and is now taking care of itself.  I really would like to think so, time will tell.
Many of the Primula are budding up and starting to look good again, they took a right knocking in the long dry summer.  Primula bracteosa is the first to open it's flowers.  I almost missed these - Heuchera Obsidian has all but collapsed round about it.
Primula bracteosa
Just in case any of you are interested - here's what Kevock Garden, a reputable nursery and garden to the south of Edinburgh say about it. 
The petiolarid primulas (section Petiolares) are classic Himalayan (and Chinese) plants, thriving in cool, damp places (where there is humidity in the air as well as moisture at the roots), and complaining when it is hot and dry. But they are worth every effort to please, including some of the most beautiful and sought-after of all primulas. Many of them produce little seed in cultivation here, and so these ones are propagated by division, which they love, as they flourish in rich soil. Some kinds are evergreen, and make small mats of rosettes, with the mass of flowers at the centres, and others spend the winter as large resting buds, flowers and leaves appearing amazingly early in the year. 
The large dutch Crocus are still barely above the soil but the smaller Crocus chrysanthus have been stuck in limbo for what seems like weeks now - they might just flatten before they get a chance to open which would be a shame.  They too are naturalising, albeit slowly, around the garden.  This little clump will soon be joined by Corydalis, Narcissus and Muscari.
My regular readers will know that here in my garden I've often got the odd plant flowering out of season - back in January it was Lupins, Geums and Heuchera.  Those are still holding on and for this month - I was most surprised to find this Eryngium, albeit a bit wintery looking, flowering.
Eryngium bourgatii Graham Stuart Thomas
Now I know many of you will be wondering just where me and my gardening friends are off to tomorrow - we are having a day out for the Early Bulb Show organised and held by the SRGC in Dunblane.  I'm hoping there will be plenty of time to get some photos (yes, batteries are now fully charged) to put together a blog and more importantly a chance to purchase some lovely new plants for my garden.  My first port of call will be the Snowdrop stalls, I really do fancy a few named varieties and then who knows what will come home with me.
I'd like to end this post to extend my thoughts to all those who are right now experiencing such freaky weather.  The situation, particularly in the South of England, is particularly awful right now.  Those terrible scenes in news reports is heart breaking and I could not begin to imagine what those poor folks are going through.  I do hope there is some respite soon.
What ever you are up to this weekend, stay safe and stay warm!


  1. You have some lovely things out Angie. Those snowdrops will soon spread. I love the Ericsmithiae Hellebores and they are the only one that I leave the leaves on because they are so attractive.
    I look forward to seeing what you buy at the Early Bulb Show; what fun!

  2. Well done you for rescuing those snowdrops, you have been rewarded in full! I hope you find some real beauties at the show tomorrow, wish I was nearer, I'd be there too.

  3. Gosh Angie, if that is you doing a rushed post, it is very impressive !! Some of us don't achieve that with plenty of time to spare !! :-)
    Lovely to think that every one of those snowdrops is a rescue snowdrop. bit like a rescue dog but without the barking !!

  4. Now you know why I always buy a spare battery for my cameras but I must say I like the photos of the snowdrops the white just glows against the background.
    I always cut last years laves off my hellebores before flowering maybe as they plants get bigger it is more necessary.

  5. Hi Angie,

    Well, is it that time of the month already???!

    I wish someone here would give me some plants for free... heehee. I too only have Nivalis - look closely at them though and even in them you'll see natural variation. I have at least three variants here, all of which were bought as Nivalis. All it does for me is reinforce the pointlessness of buying 'specials'... *whispers* although I still plan on buying some of the 'specials' anyway!*

    Dead battery - oh yes; been there, done that many times. And typically it always happens when I most want to take photos because the sun is out, or there's pretty water drops, or there's a bird in the garden I want photos of etc etc etc.

    I've bought a few things off Kevock before... tempted for more but must resist, even if your Primula is lovely and tempting me. Especially if they do flower nice and early in the year.

  6. Your snowdrops are so beautiful. Lucky you to get them for free and great of you that you gave them your home. Those bulbs are so costly here. Still I bought 5 of them. Hopefully, they will survive and naturalize. You also have lovely hellebores. I got two this year but one is already dying :-(. Hope you have a great time there and waiting to read your experience in the blog

  7. Hi Angie, your snowdrop rescue project looks great, lucky you!
    As for to cut or not to cut when it comes to hellebore leaves – I usually start by cutting off everything that is diseased, dry or even slightly spotted, so any diseases is less likely to transfer to the new emerging leaves. I usually do that in December. Then I take a step back and take good look. I usually remove the biggest leaves and leave some of the smaller ones. And I might cut off more if it obscure some of the flowers later on when they start to flower. When the new leaves are fully out I often take off the old ones as they by then will be a bit tatty. But I never cut off everything in one go in the autumn. I also like my hellebores with a bit of greenery around :-)

    Down here we are battered by 60-70 mph gusts of wind this evening and it feels like my house is about to take off every few minutes. I have been out in the garden and put everything on the ground in the hope that the pots will not blow over too much. I hope you find some great things tomorrow at the show, looking forward to your photos!

  8. You did well in putting together photos and post, Angie, despite the travails with light and batteries. Spring is clearly on its way there and I hope, with you, that the rain plaguing the area south of you abates soon! Happy GBBD and enjoy your garden jaunt!

  9. "Plain old Galanthus nivalis"?!!!..... They are achingly beautiful and perfectly proportioned gems of the garden! (and my favourite plant on the planet). How wonderful that you have rescue snowdrops.... a snowdrop sanctuary.... Imagine..... Have a wonderful day out - travel safely these awful storms and I look forward to hearing about your purchases!

  10. Oh Angie, your images are lovely! Your snowdrops are a real success, your violas look a happy bunch and how on earth did you tempt the eryngium to flower? Some bribery going on up in Scotland! ;) Do you have a problem with Blackbirds munching crocuses? I had to cover my yellow ones for which they have developed a liking. Thanks for sharing the poem. Enjoy your outing and the weekend :)

  11. Angie your spring blooms are gorgeous. I love seeing them as mine will be further delayed with snow. The poem is perfect!! Happy GBBD.

  12. The Snowdrops are lovely, they really do brighten up a dull time of year. Well done for rescuing them! I loved the verse, I didn't know that Snowdrops were also called Fair Maids of February either. It's wonderful seeing all the spring colour coming through. The Early Bulb Show sounds great - hope you enjoyed your day out!

  13. Your snowdrops and hellebores are lovely. You are just a couple of weeks ahead of me, I think. I had never heard the term Fair Maids of February, but I love it! How fun to find a eryngium bloom! And the bulb show sounds like even more fun! Can't wait to hear what you got!

  14. Indeed the weather is really freaky, especially in the south of England, but you and we have got our part too. spring is in the air, sun is shining, there is hope..... Your snowdrops look lovely and I am fond of the verse. Fair Maids, beautiful!

  15. Oh I wouldn't use the words 'plain old' when it comes to galanthus nivalis Angie - they are every bit as gorgeous and special as their named relatives :) They will be pleased to have found a new home and no doubt will soon make fair sized clumps. Hope that you have had a great day today at the show and look forward to seeing what you come home with.

  16. This was a perfect post and we wouldn't have known you put it together quickly! it is a lovely sight seeing your snowdrops and hellebores all in bloom and I also loved the poem. You are several weeks ahead of us so thank you for the pick me up! Hope you enjoyed your day out with our gardening friends! :)

  17. Lovely snowdrops and hellebores.As to the slugs, perhaps you've got some resident frogs and birds now that have been snacking on them.

  18. I have gone out to take pictures of the garden many times only to have the camera shut down on me unexpectedly because I forgot to check the batteries. I really should plant more pansies and violas in the winter. They're so cheerful and colorful.

  19. Snowdrops and Hellebores just the ticket for February, I like the look of those bi coloured Crocus Hope you enjoyed your day out. From your friend the short grumpy one.

  20. Thank you all for your lovely comments - they really are appreciated. I'm still busy playing catch up with bloom day posts, therefore I'm giving you all my thanks in one comments. Angie xx

  21. How wonderful to be able to rehome those snowdrops! I have a sad tendency to gaze longingly over the back fence at the huge clumps of snowdrops in my neighnour's garden, but at least it tells me they will grow well in mine too! Enjoy your bulb festival, hope you don't return bankrupt!


Your comments are appreciated. My blog is currently experiencing issues with some readers reporting problems when posting their comments. Please bear with me whilst I try to rectify the problem.
I have temporarily switched on word verification. I apologise for this, personally, I don't like it either, I am hoping this may help.