Little winter wonders to warm the gardener’s spirits
The brave snowdrop flower provides on of the first signs of life in the garden, as it emerges from its winter slumber. Snowdrops, Galanthus species, are part of the Amaryllidaceae family, having long stems, graceful extended leaves and beautifully rounded, drop-like flowers.
Beautiful little snowdrop, Galanthus “Victor” with “Sickle” sketched
Snowdrops look as stunning in small individual groups as they do when combined with other bulbs, such as Cyclamen or Eranthis. They create a sparkling display when they are naturalised in grassland and woodland. They also grow well in marginal grassed areas, in growing conditions where winter and spring moisture are available and summer drought is avoided. Another suitable way of planting snowdrops is close to a path or within view of your window.
What better way to cheer yourself up than seeing these sprightly forerunners of spring from indoors rather than outside in the cold winter garden. Planting a bunch of different varieties of bulbs in pots also gives a delightful appearance to the winter garden. Snowdrops can also be housed in the temperate greenhouse, such as these pictured here in the National Botanic gardens in Dublin.
At this time of year, nature is slowly waking all around us, but the Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite) is already blooming in all its beauty. The little yellow flower crowns look fabulous when massed together around the base of trees, contrasting beautifully with a fresh green grass sward.
Lovely Winter Aconite provides splashes of yellow on a lush green grass carpet
The aconite bloom reminds us of a buttercup, the reason being that they both belong to the Ranunculaceae family. Plant with snowdrops to create wonderful swirls of yellow and white, but for the greatest impact, plant in groups distinctly and then allow a few clumps to intermingle. The plant produces lots of seeds, which can be scattered to extend the range of the plant.
Both names – Narcissus and Daffodil – have been used in popular poetry and literature, which can lead to confusion about the difference between them. In fact, daffodils are the part of the flower genus Narcissus. The old name Lent lily refers to the season in which they flower – that is, the 40 days leading up to Easter.
Whilst a little early in most gardens, I was delighted to see these Narcissus `Grand Soleil d`Or` growing in the same temperate greenhouse in the botanic gardens. They can, of course, be grown indoors in any cool situation with plenty of sunlight (you don’t have to have a greenhouse or conservatory necessarily). Gorgeous petite flowers in themselves, aren’t they a fabulous herald of greater spring riches to follow.
Hoping you have a fabulous gardening year!