The North Wind doth Blow !

The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow……..except that the promised snow didn’t arrive, it all got dumped on Exeter the other day and the next village to us, just 3 miles away. According to a friend in Exeter, they had a blizzard and couldn’t see beyond 10 ft . We couldn’t believe the local news programme when they showed such snowy scenes, we escaped with just a few hailstones and that didn’t last very long!

In spite of the freezing cold north wind, quite a few flowers, mostly in the woodland,  have managed to open in the few bits of sunshine that we have had. The woodland is slightly lower down than the main garden with banks or hedges with tall trees all around so is reasonably sheltered. I suppose that just a couple of degrees makes such a difference at this time of year. The most obvious group of flowers that you can see are the special snowdrops with the wild ones catching up.

G. Atkinsii

Galanthus Atkinsii is clumping up again, I split some off a few years ago to plant in the front with the red stemmed Cornus, I think I could split them again.


G. Magnet certainly need splitting and spreading around, I must make sure that they are on my “to do” list.


Galanthus Elwesii is in the back border, just before the woodland and increasing very well.

G. rizehensis

A little species snowdrop by the archway into the woodland is G rizehensis, this is tiny compared to some of the specials, but just as pretty.

G gracilis

Another species, just beyond the archway, is G. gracilis, the one with the twisty leaves. This one has opened up in the sunshine and the flower on the right is showing its lovely markings.

G. woronowii

My favourite among the species, G. woronowii, with green shiny leaves, simply because they multiply so well.  Each year they spread further and further by seed. When the flowers are finished, the stalk lengthens, bends over and the seedpod lies on the ground, the seeds then germinate into a cluster of new plants and the whole process happens again without any input from me!


Galanthus Little John is a very large snowdrop, twice the size of Robin Hood in all its parts, I really must move Robin Hood to be beside his large friend!

G. Robin Hood

And here is Robin Hood, also the same as my header photo.

Hobson's Choice

Galanthus Hobson’s Choice was originally in the front garden but was not doing well at all. I have moved him to the woodland where the soil should be more to his liking. By next year, I should know if he is happy or not.

G Lapwing

G. Lapwing is another that is increasing nicely each year, I think it is just 2 yrs since I bought one bulb, so I’m very happy with this one.

G Diggory

G. Diggory has inflated petals like a balloon  and the texture of seersucker, easily identified at a distance. This was only bought last year and has another bud ready to open. Hopefully it will continue to increase like this.

G.Wendy's Gold

The clump of G. Wendy’s Gold is looking very promising, I wonder how many flowers it will put out this year. Last year was the first time that it had 2 flowers to each stem, I’ll just have to be patient and wait and see!

G. Trumps

Sorry, out of focus, I seem to remember this happened with this snowdrop, G. Trumps, last year. This was new last year and I can see that on the left, another flower is coming.

Galanthus ?

G. Acton Piggot is in the side border, along with Trumps, which we can see from the back door and is where I’m having to plant any new “specials” that tempt me. There’s no more room for more specials in the woodland, I have to allow room for the ones already there to increase. This border has sun for about half the day, early morning and late afternoon, so I’m hoping that the new snowdrops like it. there.

Long view of snowdrops

A long view of part of the woodland, once the wild ones open properly they will add to the overall scene, another week and there should be a lot more white in this area. The pots contain Narcissus Sailboat, more white flowers to carry on the white theme. I can now plant them, I didn’t want to plant them earlier until I knew where my snowdrops were, but there’s no excuse now!

Crocus tommasinianus

Crocus tommasinianus are now starting to flower, I like it where they are growing together with the snowdrops, but at the moment there is just a single one here and there. Hopefully by next week lots more will be in flower.


Of course it is also Hellebore time, some are still in tight bud, but a few are braving the weather. Spotted single


Anemone centred.


Single white with a beautiful dark centre.

Leucojum aestivum

Leucojum aestivum is later flowering this year than last. Last year it was flowering the same time as the early snowdrops, but is only just getting going now.

Iris reticulata Pauline

In the Alpine Bed, the first flowers are Iris reticulata, this one is Pauline, most of them seem to be nibbled by slugs or snails half way up the stems, I just find the severed heads when I look each morning.

Iris reticulata Edward?

Iris Reticulata, but is it George or Edward?  This is a much darker blue than it seems on the photograph, I don’t know why it looks so pale.

Iris unguicularis

Iris unguicularis under the dining room window is still flowering its socks off. A bit nibbled but never mind, they still look so lovely on a January day.


The Chaenomeles by the back door is still flowering away, it has looked ever so pretty since November.

Japanese Azalea

What is my evergreen Japanese Azalea thinking of, it can’t flower now!

Garrya elliptica

The tassels on Garrya elliptica are now fully out and the bush in the corner of the back garden looks very pretty (its very boring for the rest of the year, I must grow a clematis up it .). Close up you can see the touch of pink on each flower, something that doesn’t show from a distance.

Narcissus Rijnvelds Early Sensation

Narcissus Rijnvelds Early Sensation has been flowering for a while under my Daphne. It won’t be long before the other narcissus join it in flowering.

Daphne bholua Jaqueline Postill

Each day when I go into the woodland, I am met by the gorgeous scent of Daphne  bholua Jaqueline Postill, but you can have too much of a good thing. I was on my hands and knees, underneath it,  trying to eradicate Lamium galeobdolon from that area, eventually I had to give up because I couldn’t take any more of the perfume!

Hamamellis Robert.

Hamamellis Robert has a much softer perfume than the Daphne, I think I could work all day under it and not be bothered by it.


My next Camellia to flower is one in the front garden, it is covered in buds, with just this one almost open. I planted this long before I started on my blog so I’m afraid the name has vanished into thin air!

There we have some of the flowers for  January, as the weeks have gone by more and more flowers are opening to face the sunshine, ready for any bee that is tempted out of hibernation. There is plenty of pollen and nectar for them if they do visit, but so far I haven’t heard or seen any. Days are getting noticeably longer, but I think we will have our weather coming straight from the North Pole for some time yet! Further north, people have been having a dreadful time with all the snow, we have been so lucky to have escaped so far, I hope everyone stays safe, warm and cosy over the weekend.

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48 Responses to The North Wind doth Blow !

  1. Sigrun says:

    Oh what a glory! Such a lot of pretty snowdrops! In my garden everything is under snow, the Helleborus orientalis are in waiting, but not flowering, I hope they do that at the beginning of march. Your anemone flowering Helleborus is realy wonderful!


    • Pauline says:

      Just think Sigrun, you will be able to enjoy all your flowers and mine will be over! Hellebores are such beautiful flowers, I like the anemone centred one too, it is so pretty.

  2. I don’t know how you manage with all the snowdrop names. We are iffy for Galanthus, but Magnet seems to be happy so I’m looking forward to adding more. I’m having no luck with I. ungicularis, which is a heartbreaker, as it is a dear favorite. I expected to give up roses and peonies, but had fingers crossed for a pocket with just enough sun to nurture the iris. Your winter garden is magnificent; it’s such a pleasure to enjoy it with you.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Marian, this is the beginning of the woodlands best flowering period. These days I have to make a label for any new snowdrops that I buy and plant it and the snowdrop together, otherwise I would never remember! I hope Magnet decides it likes living with you and that it increases for you. Iris unguicularis likes lots of sunshine, at least they do over here.I have both varieties in full sun for most of the day. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit!

  3. Chloris says:

    What a treat to see your all your snowdrops, Pauline. You have a lovely collection.
    My small irises are not out yet, I always look forward to them and buy a few more each year. I think George is more purple than the one in your photo.. It looks more like Edward or Gordon.
    I love your anemone- centred Hellebore, well they are all lovely.
    What an exciting time of the year, but I could do without the snow. We have only had a sprinkling so far but it is so cold.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Chloris, I’m telling myself that I really don’t need any more special snowdrops, I hope I can remain firm! I think I could find space for a few more Iris reticulata on one of the banks in the woodland, at least they would have good drainage if I planted them on a bank. The colour unfortunately didn’t come out right for my second little iris, it should be a much darker blue.
      We have had snow forecast for Sunday, goodness knows if it will arrive, but it is so cold when we venture outdoors, the wind from the north is really icy.

  4. Alison says:

    You have so many sweet snowdrops! I’m not discerning enough to tell them all apart. I have lots of nibbled on plants too, unfortunately probably by slugs. We’ve managed to get away without much snow so far, just a little sprinkling one day a month or so ago. Thanks for showing the closeup of the Garrya tassels. It’s a native of the American PNW where I live, and one of my favorites.

    • Pauline says:

      I think Alison that once you start to buy a few “special snowdrops”, there is nothing for it, you are hooked! Some are for sale at ridiculous prices, but many can still be bought at a more reasonable price.
      We have been seeing film of the East coast of America covered in snow, the snow in the north here hasn’t been quite so bad, it has just been icy cold and wet for us down in the SW corner of the UK.
      I had no idea that Garrya is a native of PNW, it is so pretty at the moment, but I must plant a clematis up it for interest later in the year.

  5. rusty duck says:

    To think I always thought of Garrya elliptica as being a boring plant.. the winter season makes up for the rest of the year as now is when we need the drama. Strangely enough, Iris ‘Pauline’ here has suffered an identical fate. And yet ‘Katherine Hodgkin’, only a few feet away has (so far) escaped.

    • Pauline says:

      I think Garrya is a boring plant for 10 months of the year Jessica, I must make sure that I plant a late summer clematis up it for more interest. If I plant a variety that gets cut down when it has finished flowering, hopefully the flowers will be able to form.
      Strange isn’t it, that some flowers can be attacked and others left alone, hopefully your Katherine Hodgkin will stay safe!

  6. Christina says:

    After reading your post Pauline I think my iris reticulata must have disappeared as I haven’t seen any shoots yet. This is so sad as I love them. I so envy you the problem of the Daphne’s perfume being too strong, it is a fragrance I love but it is too dry and hot for it here. some of your snowdrop images didn’t open for me but as no-one else has mentioned it I imagine it must be something here. I love wandering (virtually) around your woodland; you have created a wonderful space to be.

    • Pauline says:

      Such a shame Christina that your Iris reticulata have vanished, they are such lovely little flowers. I hesitate to suggest this to you, but did you plant them deep enough, they like to be well down in the soil ( 6 ins) or they just split into tiny little bulbs that don’t flower.
      I’m sorry that some snowdrop photos didn’t appear either, this happens to me sometimes on other peoples posts, but when I go back, more often than not, they are all there.

  7. snowbird says:

    Oh that dratted wind! I’ve had quite enough of it!!! Like you, we have avoided snow but have been relentlessly hammered by hail.
    Looking at your snowdrops has been an absolute treat, and to think you have crocus, iris and so many other plants in bloom too….gosh, I don’t have a snowdrop yet!
    I loved imagining all those little seed pods lying on the ground, and now I shall have to find me a few G Diggory…..loved them!xxx

    • Pauline says:

      It is so cold isn’t it Snowbird, the wind goes straight through you!
      I’m glad you like the snowdrops and their friends, the woodland is the best part of the garden for the next couple of months, but then goes very quiet in the summer when all the leaves are on the trees.
      G. Diggory is such a different shape from the rest of the snowdrops. When I buy any now, they have to be different from any that I already have and at a reasonable price as some of them are so expensive!

  8. Angie says:

    After the blizzards we had on Wednesday night (I work outdoors all night) I could not believe just how little there was when I woke up at lunch time. Glad to read it gave you a miss Pauline.
    Loving all the Snowdrops and encouraged by your comments on how quickly some of them bulk up. All my specials were new last year and it makes me happy to know that in a couple of years, the clumps will be looking as mature as yours.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m wondering Angie, what you do working outdoors all night, poor you in the snow?!
      If I read that a snowdrop is difficult or slow to increase, I leave it alone, I want to be able to split them and make more so that eventually the woodland floor will be a sheet of white. Gardening teaches us patience!

  9. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing these updates on all your lovely blooms Pauline – this is the first crocus I have seen this year, I think. I am glad your weather has not prevented you from being able to enjoy them – the snow has been very localised here too and we have only had a sprinkling but it is still pretty cold

    • Pauline says:

      We have escaped so far Cathy, snow was supposed to come overnight, but we are still very green this morning.
      Quite a few C. tommasinianus are out now, but not together, dotted about.
      The wind is so icy, it looks lovely from inside the house or car, beautiful sunshine, blue sky but Brrrrrr !

  10. catmint says:

    You have an amazing and quite specialized collection of snowdrops – I didn’t know there were so many different species. They are all lovely. Interesting discussion about the G. elliptica being boring. I suppose lots of plants are boring for most of the year, then have a brief time of glory. Ideally you’d plan for that, and plant something else eye catching when GE is not doing much, I suppose. The summer clematis is a brilliant idea.

    • Pauline says:

      Catmint, there are even more species which I haven’t found for sale yet!
      The Garrya elliptica was already here when we moved in – would I have planted it – I’m not sure, but then I would have missed the wonderful tassels in Jan/Feb wouldn’t I! I must remember to buy a clematis that likes the shade.

  11. Peter/Outlaw says:

    You’ve many beauties in your garden! Thank goodness you and they’ve escaped the snow! Your picture reminded me that I planted many Crocus tommasinianus in the fall. I must go and inspect to see if any are blooming yet!

    • Pauline says:

      I keep waiting for my C tommasinianus to open Peter, but it is so cold and icy. Still no snow, we were promised some last night, but once again it has missed us. Instead we have a lovely sunny day with blue sky and an icy wind, best place is inside, keeping warm and cosy!

  12. debsgarden says:

    As always, I enjoyed the review of your woodland garden. You have many more flowers opening now, compared to my own sleepy woodland! I love the Garrya elliptica tassels. Your snowdrops are wonderful, and hopefully they won’t get covered up by the real thing. Snow is very iffy here. Most years we don’t get any, but one never knows.

    • Pauline says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Deb, it seems that flowers want to open in spite of the cold. Even if the snowdrops were covered in snow, they wouldn’t mind as they are used to it where they originate. If the temperature fall below zero, they flop on the ground like Hellebores, but soon stand up again when the temperature rises.
      More snow is forecast this week but over the east side of the country this time.

  13. wellywoman says:

    How strange that you escaped the snow. We had a blizzard on Thursday but the snow didn’t lie which is a pity as I do like to see some at least once over the winter. 😉 Gorgeous snowdrops. I went to a talk at the Botanic Gardens of Wales on Saturday about snowdrops. It was by Naomi Slade who has written a book on them. It was very interesting and I was very inspired. I’m very keen on the scented varieties. Stay warm. 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      We have had snow in Devon Louise, but just not here! At last the wind has dropped and it has been quite nice working in the woodland today. I said in my post that I hadn’t seen any bees, but today a Bumble bee was very interested in my Sarcococca!
      I would love to have been at your Snowdrop Day, will we see a post about it – I hope so!

  14. Frank says:

    I always love your woodland in spring, and the snowdrops are such a welcome sight. Such a nice collection and it makes me hopeful for the time when my own drops finally emerge!
    Your quince really does hang in there through whatever winter throws your way 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      At the moment Frank, my quince is getting an overcoat of snow! Yes, it’s actually snowing, but I don’t think it will stick.
      More snowdrops open each day, so later photos should be better, showing long shots of the woodland. I make sure I visit it each day at the moment because there is always something new opening.

  15. Helle says:

    How wonderful to have so many flowers blooming already. Here it’s bitterly cold with snow on the ground, so all that flowers in my garden is my Hamamelis, a red one which also has a very fine scent. I do like your white hellebore with the red centre.

    • Pauline says:

      We had a tiny bit of snow yesterday Helle, but it didn’t stay long. We are going to have hard frosts all this week but thank goodness the icy north wind has stopped, it feels so much warmer! Hellebores are so lovely, yours must look especially nice surrounded by snow.

  16. Annette says:

    It’s lovely to see your woodland come back to life, Pauline, as it’s my favourite part of your garden. All these little treasures! I’m longing to visit the snowdrops in the woodland not far from here but the weather just won’t let me…so I enjoy my visit to your garden instead. 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I think it’s my favourite part too Annette, at this time of year, while everywhere else is brown and drab, I like my daily visits to see what has opened overnight. We have a couple of garden visits planned to see more snowdrops, it all depends on the weather!

  17. sally says:

    Pauline, I’m amazed……British Isles are so much further north than we are and you’re so much more temperate! Your blooms are wonderful…..Eye candy for this garden deprived soul. Hellbores are on my want list…..but, they won’t be blooming in January in Massachusetts…..Happy Gardening!

    • Pauline says:

      The Gulf Stream Sally, helps us to have a warmer climate than we should for our latitude. The warm water that comes from the Caribbean means that the temperature is a few degrees warmer, at the moment though our weather is coming straight from the North Pole and is decidedly chilly! We have only had a few snow flurries here in the SW corner, the rest of the country have had a lot more, but it is frosty each night at the moment, colder than we normally have.
      This is a lovely time in the woodland, with new flowers each day. Hellebores are beautiful flowers, you will be enjoying yours when mine are over! Stay safe and warm!

  18. Tistou says:

    Oh your snowdrops are just wonderful, Pauline! So please keep the updates and new pictures coming! I can’t wait mine to bloom, but it takes another month or so. I planted 14 new varieties last year and it is so exciting, maybe some will bloom for me too. Some are same to those on your pictures, like ‘Wendy’s Gold’, ‘Magnet’ and G. elwesii.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Tistou, I will soon have more snowdrops to photograph, I’m just waiting for some nice sunshine to tempt the flowers to open their petals! You are going to have a wonderful display with 14 new varieties, I hope you will write about them. I’ve noticed that G. Wendy’s Gold now have 2 flower stems coming from each bulb, she must be happy!

  19. Judith says:

    A gallery of the most spirit lifting glories of the early Spring garden. I think these flowers are the most welcome of the year, and I value them hugely. Your lovely collection of snowdrops makes me want to grow more, but I seem to be spending more time at builders yards than garden centres at the moment. I love Wendy’s Gold especially, but I really enjoyed seeing the pictures of all your treasures. Thank you.

    • Pauline says:

      I can remember Judith, that when we were first starting the garden here, we were like you, doing the hard landscaping, making raised beds, archways and pergola, there wasn’t much time left for gardening!
      Wendy’s Gold is such a super little bulb, quite expensive per bulb but she increases so well, and now that she is putting up 2 flowers per bulb, worth every penny!

  20. Gorgeous snowdrops – my pen was busy as I read, but one of the ones I like the most was the ‘Lapwing’, and you give it quite a good report as well. Maybe I’ll try. Shame about the I. reticulata and the slugs – but you do have some lovely flowers at least. I had the same problem with the pics as Christina (I wanted to see the G. woronowii pic in particular). I refreshed the browser and it seemed to work, thank goodness. Thanks for a glimpse of your beautiful woodland garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Lapwing is a super snowdrop Cathy, it is increasing very well and doesn’t seem to need sunshine before it opens its petals to show the inner markings.
      Sorry that you too have had problems with the pictures, I hope it has sorted itself out now.

  21. Caro says:

    Gosh, what a lovely view you must have every morning! I’ve bought a few snowdrops for the garden here for the first time this year. At present they’re still in pots on my balcony so that I can enjoy them close up before planting them out. (I can’t see the garden that I manage from my flat, there’s another run of flats inbetween.) Your idea of planting a clematis to run up the Garrya is a good one, although I don’t mind that they have only one season of interest – change makes the garden more interesting!
    Thanks for sharing your snowdrops, Pauline; I’ll be looking at what’s on offer at the London Plant Fair with increased interest! (I rather fancy ‘Little John’). Wishing you a warm weekend, Caro x

    • Pauline says:

      What a shame Caro, that you can’t see the garden you work so hard in, but having plants on the balcony must be the next best thing.
      The corner where the Garrya is seems rather boring to me once the catkins are over, nothing much happens there for the rest of the year. All the shrubs there were planted by the previous people and I’ve done nothing over the years to improve it! Too much work to do in the rest of the garden! If I plant a Clematis viticella, then that should provide colour for a few months in the summer at least.
      I’m envious of you being able to go to the London Plant Fair, please show some photos of what takes your fancy!

  22. Cathy says:

    Those snowdrops are beautiful photographed up close so we can see the markings, but I bet they look great en masse too. What a lovely mix of winter flowers you have! I am really interested in the Garrya, which I didn’t know about until I saw Cathy’s photo the other day. I fear our climate would be too tough, but will look into that.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, the specials add to the overall picture of the woodland. I’m waiting for the crocus to open before I take my long shots of this area, I like them in between the snowdrops.
      I think you might be too cold for a Garrya, but if you have a shady, sheltered corner, you might get away with it. Our shrub was planted by the previous people, so I can’t take any credit for it, at this time of year I’m so glad they planted it!

  23. Hi Pauline, Your long view of the snowdrops and your writing about their increasing numbers made me wonder- is there any chance that different varieties of snowdrops will cross pollinate? I really like the anemone centred hellebore. I want to shop for a few new plants and will be keeping it in mind.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Jennifer, sometimes they do cross pollinate with the help of the bees! I haven’t found any new snowdrops in the garden here, but maybe one day I will.
      The anemone centred hellebore was new a couple of years ago and is a favourite of mine. Have fun with your plant shopping!

  24. Anna says:

    I’m sure that I started to read this post a few days ago Pauline and then got distracted so apologies for the late comment. These early flowerers never cease to me. They all look so fragile but can take everything that the north wind and all that comes with it throws at them. As always I especially enjoyed seeing your snowdrops. Glad to see that you added ‘Diggory’ to their numbers last year and to hear that you still have room for more albeit not in your woodland area.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment Anna, I don’t mind how late they are. The early flowers amaze me too, they look too delicate to stand up to the cold and gales that whip round the garden. I think I will only be adding one more new snowdrop this year, if I can find it!

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