The pioneers

Much of the south of the United Kingdom may be covered in daffodils and camellias by now, for all I know, but in the far North, it is still winter. Last year, it was deep snow; this year it is just water and wind – so much so, that the occasional day of stillness and frost comes as a relief.

But in the usual miraculous fashion, the pioneers of spring are pushing through the groundThis poor crocus reliably appears on its own each year, earlier than any of the others. It never gets any sun in January, so never opens and never experiences the joy of pollination. In a month, the patch of lawn where it grows will be full of its blossoming relatives, but I value this individual more than them, because it is the first. This leucojum grows in the shelter of a hedge, and again is always the first. I prefer these ‘snowflakes’ to snowdrops – they make more of an impact in the garden. For snowdrops, you need a big wood, where they can spread to their heart’s content. In a grass lawn or a flower bed, they are just a bore and their dying leaves (which you must on no account cut) make a squishy mess well into the gardening season. I do have a few, but I do not love them greatly.

The aftermath of windstorm Adrea means there is a lot of work.After all the destruction, there was a sunset in deep frost-bitten stillness tonight, as though the storms of the past month were merely a bad dream :


19 thoughts on “The pioneers

  1. That was some hurricane. Sad losses.
    I love the Snowflakes, but ALSO the Snowdrops. I think you should just move the snowdrops into a wild area instead of sending them all that negative gardener energy…

    • Dear Linnie, Moving snowdrops is really horrible. All those tiny bulbs. Daffodils are bad enough. I think you have an obsession with moving things. Even with a tractor, I gather. It must be your restless nature. Now you are the successful author of a crime mystery, can you not leave your plants in peace?

    • It’s surprising how little space there is for all I want to do! Snowdrops seem to me to like a continuous canopy, leaf litter, & not much grass. I do have some woodland. I might move some there and see what happens.

  2. I’ve seen snowdrops only once in the mountains of Turkey in 2010, and i didn’t know there are also snowflakes, which look the same. I am immediately smitten at sight, but I might not see one again in person. Are those greenish barks of trees their normal color or due to moss? I didn’t know that in your areas there can be a whole month when the sun is not seen at all, because it is the opposite here. That is why we are made brown-skinned, haha!

    [About my post: i intentionally post the bright colors for my temperate climate friends like you, who are still deep in winter and grey surroundings. I hope my colors will give you some warmth]

    • Hi Andrea. We are not so far north that the sun cannot be seen at all. You need to go to Norway for that! Here, the sun cannot be seen, because it is usually hidden by rainclouds.

  3. Sorry about the devastation caused by Andrea, don’t like to see trees torn apart, but now a wonderful planting opportunity for lots of snowdrops! I disagree that you need a woodland for them, any shady border will do, planted under deciduous shrubs, so the dying leaves are not noticable later. Yes, snowflakes are lovely, but they can’t compete with masses of snowdrops!

  4. You mad writers went on with the novel and didn’t warn your followers, so I am always a few pages behind… I hate you both. 🙂

    My garden is behind yours too and I hate you even more… How could it happen? I’m in Italy, it’s supposed to be warm and exotic here in comparison with far north of Europe… I have no signs of spring bulbs yet and you are showing off that African sunset?! Unbelievable.

    • Hello Alberto, I hope you have caught up now. I’ve slowed down the crime writing, just for you. Look, Italy may be warm and exotic in the summer, but we have the GULF Stream washing our shores with nice hot water in winter. What do you have? Just that sluggish Adriatic sea. No wonder you have to wait for your spring bulbs!

  5. Piles of firewood must be some consolation for the devastation caused by the storm (it did a fair bit of damage at the Priory too). I have my first crocuses emerging and snowflakes as well but I have to say I am a sucker for snowdrops.

  6. Hi K Glad you are over the devastation of Lin. I mean Andrea. Its good to keep in touch with another guy for a change, Linnie says I have too much wimmin in my life. Snowdrops, naw nothing wrong with liking them, but I also like snowflakes, which do I like best!!

  7. Prefer snowflakes myself. Firewood I guess is little consolation for the destruction. Windless days at least give respite, if only to breathe.

    • Ah, but it will all have to be chopped, seasoned, dried, stacked. Free fuel is all very well, until you add in the labour. But you are right; it’s better to have it than not to have it.

  8. Sorry to hear about the nasty weather in your part of the world. What always amazes me is how nature can rebound. Hope the rest of the winter season is smooth for you.

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