Snowdrops are blooming, bring on the spring!
PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 January 2018
Our columnist is enjoying the signs of spring in her garden this month, and looking forward to sharing the season's delights with her little daughter
It hardly seems possible that it’s already 2018 and I’m looking out in the garden for the first signs of spring. Green shoots coming through the earth to show that the snowdrops are on their way. Any of my regular readers will know that the arrival of the snowdrops is one of my very favourite events in the gardening year. After so many months of dreary weather and limited time in the garden, it is wonderful to be able to get out again and start to enjoy the new life that is appearing all around. Like tiny pearls in the black earth, the snowdrops will be soon showing themselves in hedgerows, woodlands, and gardens up and down the country.
For me personally, this spring will be particularly special. Our daughter will be turning one in a few months’ time, and with her birthday we will be awash with colour in the garden. All of the hundreds of bulbs that have been planted here over the past few years since I moved in, should coincide beautifully with her birthday. It’s probably not surprising that she can crawl; she constantly makes a beeline to wherever there are flowers in the room - whether trying to grab flowers in a vase on the table, or crawling straight towards pots of plants in the fireplace at her grandparent’s house. We spend much of the time running after her and grabbing things out of her way just in time before they go flying... but I’m secretly quite pleased that she is showing such an interest in the lovely bright colours of the houseplants. I look forward to her being able to toddle about, and letting her run free in the garden - I slightly fear for any nice plants that we have, as I’m not sure they’ll last long - but it’s all a learning curve I suppose!
Having my daughter has made me think back to the amount of time that I used to spend in the garden with my parents - learning how to plant seeds, the teeny tiny seed heads that grew in the greenhouse, before transporting them into larger pots, and eventually hardening them off under the glass cold frames before they were ready to go into the ground. I realise that nearly everything, if not everything that I know about gardening comes from them, and that I wonder whether I would have developed the love of plants and flowers that I have, were it not for their influence in my formative years. I am hopeful that our daughter will grow up loving plants in the same way - spending time outside in the garden not only teaching her so many interesting things about the natural world and science, but also making sure she gets lots of fresh air!
Of course snowdrops aren’t the only thing to be on their way over the next few weeks. Hellebores and witch hazels are another welcome burst of colour. Hellebores which often hide their beauty under drooping flower heads, but can range in colour from the deepest midnight purple, which appears black, to the palest of like greens - barely distinguishable from white. Witch hazels - quite in contrast, brashly show off their gaudy yellows, oranges and reds in a vibrant display which hardly seems real; appearing as they do at the end of seemingly dead branches. Both add something special to the season alongside the snowdrops.
Snowdrops! Snowdrops! Snowdrops!
If you are a galanthophile like me, or if you are just dipping your toe into the wonderful world of snowdrops, you might want to go to Myddleton House Gardens in Enfield where there is a special snowdrop event on January 27 between 10.30-12.00pm. Make sure you’re on time though, as the really special types are likely to sell out pretty quickly!!
Things to do in the garden this month
* It’s not too late to plant some bulbs - most people will have got these in around October time, but many of the garden centres will be selling off their bulbs at very reasonable prices so it’s worth making the most of the sales!
* As the bulbs shoots start to come through, you can gently remove any dead leaves from around them. Not only will this mean that you don’t miss any of the smaller flowers underneath the leaves, but it will leave the garden looking clean and tidy for the spring.
* Make sure you keep an eye on our feathered friends. So often we enjoy sharing our gardens with the native birds, and it’s easy to forget that they need some extra help at this time of year. Keep your bird feeders topped up, and make sure you have a source of water for them. With many ponds and bird baths iced up in the colder weather, it can be hard for them to get drinking water.