A few years ago I transferred some of my wild snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, from the woodland to the front border by the drive. I planted them at the back of the border amongst the red stems of Cornus alba sibirica Westonbirt.

Snowdrops and Cornus

They have now increased so much that I think some of them will need to be divided this year.

Cornus and snowdrops

The front of the bed is the bee and butterfly border which grows in the summer and hides the back of the border, but at the moment has been cut down for the winter. The back of the border has autumn and winter interest and the front spring and  summer  interest.

Snowdrops and Cornus

There are a few wild primroses also at the back of the border and I will be encouraging them to spread too.

Snowdrops and Cornus

Such a shame to think that in a couple of weeks it will be time to coppice the Cornus  back almost to the ground. There must be something I can make out of the stems, I hate having to chop them up for the compost! They send up new shoots which will grow to 6/7ft in the summer and it is the new shoots that have the best colour.

Cornus and snowdrops

Cornus and snowdrops

Behind the Cornus in this photograph is a Pyracantha bush but I wish I knew when is the right time to prune it. If I do it now, I will cut off the flowers and therefore won’t have any berries , the same as if I prune it after it has flowered, can anyone help please, so that I can keep flowers and berries?

Cornus and snowdrops

Cornus and snowdrops

Hopefully, if I divide any large clumps of  snowdrops each year, I should soon have a carpet of white to greet me when I step outside the front door. Just thinking about it makes my back ache, but it will be worth it!



This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Wildings.

  1. rusty duck says:

    I discovered to my cost just how vigorous pyracantha can be! The RHS suggest late summer, pruning back to a clump of berries and therefore making them more visible, but that is for wall trained shrubs. It doesn’t help us much if our plants have more than outgrown their space, as mine had definitely done.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jessica, I will try as you suggest as my shrub is kept close to the wall behind it. Not exactly wall trained. more wall trained with middle aged spread!

  2. Cathy says:

    Definitely worth keeping on splitting the snowdrops Pauline – they soon bulk up again. I think I will cut my cornus back this year as I have had them a couple of years now – I ‘wove’ some stems round a glass for one of my Monday vases before Christmas, not sure if you saw it, so I am sure you could come up with something… Lots of possibilities….

    • Pauline says:

      By the time I have coppiced 14 bushes Cathy, I’m going to have rather a lot of stems, plus the yellow ones I have already pollarded from my two willows, I was thinking of something a little larger than a glass holder!

  3. I look forward to the snowdrops every year as the first real sign of spring…Your garden photos are such a joy.

  4. Anna K says:

    The snowdrops look fabulous against those red twigs. I think your efforts will be many times rewarded if you keep dividing them. They are stunning now, but with an entire carpet…. wow! Drooling just thinking about it…

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Anna, I am slowly getting there with splitting my snowdrops, each year it looks better, but there’s still room for improvement!

  5. Cathy says:

    The contrast of white snowdrops and red cornus is really effective Pauline. I think it will definitely be worth the effort to divide them again so you have an even more dramatic show!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, I was hoping they would look good together when I planted them! I have so many snowdrops to divide, with all the wild ones in the woodland needing to be split again, I’m going to have to do a few clumps each days, but it will still take me quite some time, maybe I can get someone else trained up?!

  6. Alain says:

    Very nice pictures. I suppose if you prune the Pyracantha just after it has bloomed you will lose some berries but at least you will have had flowers. That said, I prune mine in later winter, early spring. I lose some flowers and some berries but I find it is easier at that time to see how to shape it and there is always a lot of flowers and berries left anyhow. It probably does not apply to you, but in my case there is often some winter kill and it is the best time to remove it.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Alain for your useful information, I will certainly try pruning when I see where are the flowers are. You’re right, we don’t have any winter kill, our weather is too mild for that and it is protected from the north and east winds by a wall. I just wish I could get a suit of armour for when I have to prune!

  7. Angie says:

    Wishing you all the very best when ever you decide to prune that Pyracantha Pauline. I wonder if a nearby castle has a suit of armour you could hire for a day or two 😉
    A friend of mine had a talk at her gardening club on weaving with willow. She told me that the things they made could easily be made out of Cornus stems and for that reason she is planting a few in her garden. Maybe do a bit of research on what can be made from the willow and see if you could work with the Cornus. I know she made some willow fat ball feeders but can’t for the life of me remember what else she spoke of. She’s away on holiday or else I’d phone and ask on your behalf.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Angie, I could do with a suit of armour! I’m sure I can find something to do with the Cornus stems, finding the time to do it is another matter. At the moment I’m thinking woven cloches might be an idea, we’ll have to wait and see how the muse takes me!

  8. Anna says:

    Oh you and me both Pauline – dividing clumps of snowdrops but one plus side it’s one of those jobs where there’s almost an instant result 🙂 I have a rather big cornus and usually after pruning take some of the old stems to the allotment. They come in handy for propping up the shorter beans and peas.

    • Pauline says:

      I think Anna, I will have to do a few clumps each day and not try to do them all at once for the sake of my back. I hadn’t thought of Cornus for my shorter beans, many thanks.

  9. debsgarden says:

    My thought on the pyracantha is to prune it lightly now, maybe cutting some branches back by half. You will sacrifice some flowers and berries, but there should be plenty left over. At my first house we had a pyracantha trained on a brick trellis, and this is what we did each year. There were plenty of berries.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Deb for your suggestion for the Pyracantha, we’ll give it a go and hope that there will be plenty of berries for the birds in the autumn.

  10. Chloris says:

    The Cornus looks so lovely with the snowdrops.
    Whenever you decide to prune the Pyracantha do be careful, it is the most vicious thing in the garden and if those thorns get you , it always goes sceptic. I know the berries are lovely but I wage constant war with mine and I lost my temper with the other one I had and removed it all together.

    • Pauline says:

      I have learnt the hard way Chloris when I have pruned the Pyracantha in the past! I can’t say any of my stabbings have turned septic, once they came right through the sole of my wellies, which was very painful for a while. We have already dug out one bush as it was encroaching onto the lawn and someone was complaining about being scratched when he cut the grass, I wonder how long this one will last!

  11. snowbird says:

    How beautiful the snowdrops look sitting against the dogwood….I admire you for being able to cut them right down like that, I know I should but haven’t the heart.
    Some of the stems would look lovely in a large floor vase, you could add lights for christmas.xxx

    • Pauline says:

      Dina, your Cornus will come back much better if you coppice it, lots more stems will be formed, 2 or 3 from each cut. Thanks for your suggestion for the cornus in a floor vase, yes, I could do that easily.

  12. Frank says:

    There’s always more work, but the good thing is if you don’t get to it this year there’s always next!
    Still I’m sure you will be happy in another few years when the divisions fill in again. It’s a wonderful sight already, more snowdrops will only add to it!

    • Pauline says:

      Very true Frank! I know the snowdrops will look so much better in the future when they have been split, I’ll just have to take some pain killers before I start!

  13. Alberto says:

    In my opinion this is one of the best part of your garden. I love that coral like cornus, those birch (b. papyrifera if I remember right?). It looks so good with those snowdrops clumps and I love it in summer too. I think pruning the pyracantha now would stimulate more spring growth, which is maybe worse than loosing the blooms. I guess late summer will be the right choice to keep the plant in shape and have it at its best in the following years.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much Alberto for your lovely comments about my front border.I have tried to have something of interest there for the whole year and it seems to be working. I think I might have to just tidy the Pyracantha up for now so that I can weed among the plants without being torn to shreds, and give it a proper prune later in the year.
      Fancy you remembering which silver birch I have, yes, one of the photos is of Betula papyrifera another has B. jaquemontii and I’m not sure if the B ermanii were photographed or not.

  14. pbmgarden says:

    Hi Pauline. Those red stems of Cornus alba sibirica Westonbirt are marvelous and provide a strong backdrop to the snowdrops. I used to do basket weaving and would had loved having such naturally colorful material with which to work. Good luck to you and your back when you begin dividing the snowdrops. The effect of mass plantings of them is something I’ve never witnessed in person but it seems magical.

    • Pauline says:

      I went to a 1 day willow weaving class a few years ago Susie and made a basket, I’m trying to remember how I started it off! I chose various colours of willow, but over the years they have all dried to brown.
      Large gardens over here which open at snowdrop time have thousands and thousands, as far as the eye can see, such a wonderful sight, maybe one day my little effort will all be white at the back of my border!

  15. Tistou says:

    I have a happy news, first of my snowdrops are in bloom too now. Weater has been kind. Your borders with Cornus alba and Galanthus nivalis look wonderful. They do match well. One of my future project will be creating a winter border and these two would be firm candates for it.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m so glad Tistou, that your snow has gone at last and that you can now see your snowdrops. I love the idea of your winter border and think you will be very happy with the cornus and snowdrops.

  16. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A carpet of snowdrops will be delightful! You could wire your Cornus twigs into bundles and make wreaths for next Christmas. They also could be saved to decorate empty pots next winter. They might make an interesting trellis. Love your new hellebore header!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Peter re Hellebore header, it’s a photo from 2 years ago when I did cut one flower from each plant and floated them in a bowl.
      Lots of ideas there to keep me busy on a rainy day, thank you!

  17. Helle says:

    I might have to give my snowdrops a talking to, tell them how yours are performing 🙂 – about the Pyracantha – I don’t know specifically about that one, but with hedgerows it’s often recommended doing staggered coppicing or cutting back so that one does not remove all the potential flowers and berries with one fell swoop.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m sure you have had a much colder winter than we have Helle, yours will catch up eventually. Your tip about just cutting part of the Pyracantha away at the moment makes sense to me, I will try it!

Comments are closed.