It was another more than half decent day today, with temperatures again on the mild side at around 10°C and no frosts for a few days either. The species snowdrops are coming on in leaps and bounds, and even though their bed does not get direct sun at this time of year and faces north the unseasonable warmth is certainly giving them that extra fillip to encourage them to open up. For the first time there is a tiny hint of the green inverted ‘V’ on the inner perianth segments of Mrs McNamara, and if you were so rude as to lift the outer perianth of Maidwell L her bold green ‘X’ would also be visible. On the right, one of the ‘unknowns’ is about to open, and her demeanour is beginning to suggest that she is indeed a petite Galanthus elwesii hiemalis, long since misplaced. My newest snowdrop book, ‘A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops’ by Freda Cox, has clear and detailed descriptions of hundreds of snowdrops and mentions that the leaves of this variety are often wrapped round the flowers during flowering, which to me finally confirms that this is what she is. Hurrah says the Snowdrop Detective!
Many more of the specials in this bed are now at bud stage too, but their opening up will be largely dependent on the vagaries of this January weather – it was this time last year that we had our first snow of 2013 and it doesn’t pay to get complacent about the daily discoveries of new shoots and flowers. The snowdrops, though, will laugh off any snow if it comes and continue to provide daily discoveries regardless of the weather. Some of the doubles, like ‘Jacquenetta’ (left), are positively bursting at the seams in their eagerness to greet the day – she was new two years ago and did not flower last year so I am looking forward to making her acquaintance. Meanwhile, in the woodland edge border the ‘ordinary’ snowdrops are not very far behind (right), a few weeks earlier than last year.
When not inspecting snowdrops today I ‘oversaw’ the Golfer as he cleared a corner behind the greenhouse, reducing one of the beds to allow space for a kind of vertical cold frame to accommodate all the seedlings I hope to be hardening off later in the year. We are debating whether to replace some of the polycarbonate in the greenhouse with glass and then use the polycarb in this new cold frame, so have been scouring eBay for greenhouse glass. meanwhile, conditions in the greenhouse have improved dramatically since introducing a tubular heater to keep it frost free and there is no longer a condensation problem, thank goodness!
The pleasantness of the afternoon also meant completion of the other project, with the addition of some exceedingly rustic brickwork. Not only was it awkward to access with two honeysuckles in the way but the second coat of paint on the trellis was not completely dry – once the mortar has gone off it will still clean up OK and look acceptably rustic, as long as it survives the sudden sharp shower that had me abandoning writing this post and rushing down the garden with a tarpaulin!