For me, February means just one thing, making time to go to the little woodland at the back to see all the snowdrops that are flowering, no matter how cold it is. By the time we are half way through February, the wild single snowdrops have joined in with the doubles and ” specials “. As well as the snowdrops there are lots of other flowers joining them by the second half of the month.
As well as the crocus and hellebores, the narcissus are starting to flower.
This is the slope coming down to the ditch which is in between the back garden and the woodland. Before the house was built, this used to be farmland and the ditch was the drainage for the field.
Old ladies in the village tell me that when they were young, they used to enjoy riding their ponies in and out of all the trees, I hope the ponies enjoyed it as much as they did!
A view of the ditch with the bridge across. My planting doesn’t match up to the ditch at East Lambrook Manor which we saw the other day, but give me a few more years! Each time I plant bulbs, it seems I should multiply it by at least 100!
My first camellia to flower, all the others are covered in masses of lovely fat buds, but this one, being quite sheltered, is always the first to flower.
The woodland edge border can be seen from the house and is a good indication of how all the snowdrops are doing further into the woodland.
These plants are to the right of the archway into the woodland.
Looking back from the bridge to the back garden.
The wild singles and doubles are adding to the scene which started off with just the “specials” just a few weeks ago.
Pretty little pale blue violets joining in with everything else. The silver washed fritillary butterfly uses violet leaves as food for its caterpillars so we have to put up with the leaves looking a bit chewed later in the year.
The first bit on the left when you enter the woodland needs a bit more structure to it. There was a bamboo that the previous people planted but a few years ago it died and we took it out.
I was still deciding what to plant in its place, when I saw a witch hazel at the garden centre the other day Hamamellis Diane, I stood the pot in its space to see if it would look right and went back to the house. The sun was shining at the time and shining through all the flower petals, making it look as though the bush was on fire, yes, I think I have found the right place for it!
The summer snowflake in the lower right corner, is later flowering this year, much taller than the snowdrops, it seems very happy in my heavy clay and is now seeding around, which means that I can start new clumps off in other places.
The left hand end of the woodland is always very damp and to start with I wondered why the bulbs I had planted weren’t happy here. Once I found that it never dries out, I planted a few Fritillaria meleagris, the snakeshead fritillary and have just scattered seed every year since, as they are obviously very happy. At the moment this area looks as though it is full of grass, but they are the snakesheads getting ready to wow me with their flowers in about a months time when the snowdrops will be almost finished.
Crocus tommasineanus are seeding gently around, as is the grass, Millium effusum aureum, they go so well together, the colours complementing each other.
Wonderful when the sun shines and the flowers open up for any passing bee brave enough to venture out in the cold.
Increasing into good clumps now are Narcissus pseudonarcissus, I think the clumps have reached a size now that needs attention, more splitting to do!
More snowdrops have been planted in the front garden under the red stemmed Cornus, these are the single and double wild nivalis.
These too are going to need splitting, to make more at the back of this border, I can see that I am going to have to spend an awful long time on my knees splitting all these bulbs, but in a couple of years it will all be worth while! My snowdrops start to flower around Christmas with a few special ones, as the weeks go by, more and more join in, then after February, special late ones take over . In all, a good three months enjoyment can be had from these little unassuming plants that tell us that spring isn’t far away.
I realise that we are incredibly lucky to have the small woodland included in the garden, but an interesting winter garden can be made under just one tree or 2 or 3 deciduous shrubs, just make sure you can see it from the windows in the house, then you can enjoy it without getting cold!