Glorious February Days

We have had some gloriously sunny days recently, with temperatures up to 14°C, a definite awareness of warmth from the sun, greenhouse vents opening and the sound of bees enjoying the benefits offered by these almost unseasonal days. On days like this, the Crocus tommasinianus shown above unbuttoned their shirts and bared their chests with little restraint, whilst this bee was absolutely smothered in pollen and moving so slowly as if drowning happily in the unexpected indulgence:

Looking back over the crocus you can see witch hazels Diane (foreground) and Spanish Spider are now at their peak, as are nearby Zuccariniana and Ruby Glow:

Witch hazel Arnold Promise has a reliable fragrance which is noticeable for several feet away, boosting the pleasure to be had from the native snowdrops in the woodland edge border. This border was created in 2002 and the first snowdrops, perhaps a couple of hundred, would have been planted within a year or two. I suspect my now regular division of them did not begin till I finished work, which was seven years ago, so it shows how quickly you can build up a colony – there must be thousands there now. The first picture was taken before the sun reached them:

Adding to the pleasure of a ramble through the woodland edge border are numerous hellebores, not at their peak yet, but nevertheless a joy to see. These are just a sample of them:

Even the new area under the holly tree that I began adding snowdrops to earlier this year is looking relatively established. To spread them further, they have been planted in groups of two or three bulbs rather than bigger clumps, but will bulk up quickly if they settle in happily.

Meanwhile, the specials in the snowdrop border are also bobbing about like boats on the beautiful briny sea, enjoying the glory days of February as much as everything else. I have assessed my losses, added a few more preciouses, and come to the conclusion that when the bed reaches maximum capacity as it may do in the next year or two then I may have to curtail my purchases, only buying to make up any losses to maintain that maximum. It’s just a thought, of course, and I don’t suppose I will promise never to buy another snowdrop! Of course one hopes not to lose any snowdrops at all and build every single bulb up into a healthy clump, but sadly that does not seem to be the case.

Some readers wonder just how different snowdrops can be, but amongst my collection (overlooked by more hellebores, all on the white spectrum) are fat ones and thin ones:

Magnet and Wasp

Tall ones and short ones:

Washfield Colesbourne and Headbourne

Scruffy and neat ones:

Blewberry Tart and St Anne’s

Single and double ones:

Washfield Warham and Lady Beatrix Stanley

White, ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ ones:

Cowhouse Green, Henry’s White Lady, Wendy’s Gold

Ones with subtle and not-so-subtle differences in markings:

Trumps, Midwinter and Lapwing

In the Coop, the benefits of keeping spring bulbs here rather than in a relatively warm house mean that blooms last so much longer. The basket of white hyacinths were gifted to me with just-opening buds five weeks ago, the red hippeastrum was featured on Wordless Wednesday a month ago, when it was just opening , and the pots of hyacinths were kept in the house until the buds emerged and then moved into the Coop around the same time, where they are beginning to colour up. Similarly, narcissi were moved here when shoots first emerged and buds are now swelling and ready to break out at any time. The reward for my patience, it seems, is having blooms that last for weeks.

Whilst writing this post it has occurred to me that it would be opportune to link to Chloris’ blog, as it is unlikely that February can get much better in the blooms department. Chloris encourages us to celebrate around ten of our best blooms each month, so mine are a little earlier than usual – do check out her post and others in due course. I may of course be surprised by some other star before the month is out, as I was yesterday when I discovered that my little clump of Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ is both thriving and blooming. I must track down her pretty near-relation ‘Katherine’s Gold’, shown in Karen’s blog recently, but in the meantime I shall continue to enjoy February and all its sunny delights.

This entry was posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Gardening, Gardens, greenhouse, Spring, Winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Glorious February Days

  1. bcparkison says:

    Beautiful and must smell really nice in the Coop

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the hyacinths are glorious and when the narcissi are in bloom too the scent will be amazing – and perhaps not as overpowering as it would be in the house!

  2. love your greenhouse pics!

  3. I love your variety of snowdrops! They are so precious.

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You have enough Snowdrops and other things blooming you could be open for the Galanthus tours.

  5. Ian Lumsden says:

    What an uplifting read. What an uplifting garden you have. I know the work put into something like this and here it works to perfection. I’ve obtained a few ideas, particularly on the snowdrop varieties.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Ian – I suppose any work I do in the garden is a labour of love, and yet I don’t think I spend huge amounts of time working in the garden…would be interesting to monitor it, I suppose!

  6. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post! Your swathes of snowdrops are beautiful, and you are right, it is encouraging to see how the colonies build up. You have a very impressive collection (I love the name ‘Blewberry Tart). I love your description of crocuses unbuttoning their shirts! They do it with complete abandon, don’t they? The NGS is very lucky to have your garden to add to their list!

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Ali – it has been useful, having arranged the Feb opening for next year, to assess what else is happening mid Feb – and the crocus flowering is great timing!

  7. Cathy, there was something rather spooky about being able to walk round the garden without a coat yesterday afternoon at 4.15pm 🙂 I had to pinch myself. That fuzzy bee looks almost drunk. Lovely to see all your late winter flowerings especially your snowdrops. I might be reaching saturation point too but I’m sure there will always be the odd exception 🙂

  8. janesmudgeegarden says:

    How pretty it all is, and I must say I do like the muted shades of your house which can be seen through branches and flowers.

  9. Chloris says:

    It is glorious isn’t it? The whole spring and summer ahead of us and the excitement of watching so many beauties blooming and buzzing with bees. You have created a wonderful winter garden, well done, all those Witch Hazels are worth every penny. And I did enjoy seeing your snowdrops. Thank you for sharing your February treasures Cathy. Mine will be appearing very soon. But first I have to write a greenhouse post. Lovely to have a peek into yours. So many promising buds and lovely hippeastrums.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, SO exciting – and I feel sorry for people who get no pleasure from winter. I am sure I can find room to squeeze in more winter bloomers although perhaps no more witch hazels 😁 – just ordered some more hellebores, which I haven’t added to in a while. Look forward to your greenhouse post (I remember last year’s…) but perhaps I will be lucky enough to see inside it myself sometime… 😉

  10. Cathy I’m very glad you had spring temperatures and sun, Wonderful for the garden! I love the picture of the bee coated in pollen and eating from the flower. The carpet of snow drops navitas that you have created at the edge of the forest is spectacular. The Hellebores are divine. Your collection of snowdrops I love, they are beautiful, how much variety. The Coop is wonderful with the basket of divine white Hyacinthus and with an aroma, and also with the red Amaryllis so extremely beautiful. And all the bulbs that are about to bloom, the Coop is delighted. And outside all the hazelnuts witches are divine. It is a garden to walk through it and enjoy each step with something beautiful and wonderful. I congratulate Cathy on her garden and how well the renovations have been. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  11. Heyjude says:

    You certainly have a very pretty winter garden there Cathy. I had C. tommasinianus in a shallow bowl last year and left them there, but although some have flowered this year they are much smaller so I assume I should not leave these in a bowl, but plant them in the garden after flowering has finished. Do you have Cornus with their vivid winter stem colour in your garden too?

    • Cathy says:

      I haven’t grown C tom in pots before so I am not sure but certainly in the ground they spread rapidly and I suppose it would do them good if I split mine…yes, that’s definitely a task to set myself, thank you for the indirect prompt! And yes, there is cornus – maybe not quite visible in the first picture, in the top right. I would have had my back to them taking the photo of H Zuccariniana. Another winter staple that I have learned to love, especially C Midwinter Fire

  12. I had forgotten you had so many witch hazels let alone snowdrops. The garden looks quite a picture Cathy

  13. A beautiful, well-cared for garden. Life is good and spring is just around the corner.

  14. Beautiful!! I am living vicariously through your garden. Mine has over a foot of snow. 💗

  15. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: quiet anticipation | acoastalplot

  16. Brian Skeys says:

    A lovely spring collection of blooms Cathy. I don’t have much success with the little Iris they become less each year, what is your secret?

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Brian. Chloris was telling me just yesterday that it was the little iris with the larger falls (I recall), usually histroides, that are more reliable about returning. My Katharine Hodgin certainly do, surviving disturbance when I was planting a new shrub next to them and slowly multiplying too

  17. I, too, am living vicariously through your garden. Over a foot of snow here as well. Very common for Maine in February. To the best of my recollection, I have only seen snowdrops in pictures, never in reality. What I have been missing.

  18. Cathy says:

    So many lovely snowdrops! I really like the way you have used the coop for pretty pots of spring blooms. Those hippeastrums are impressive!

  19. tonytomeo says:

    I so miss the hazels. We grew them years ago, but discontinued them because they were unpopular with our clients. I like them because they looked like they were from a colder climate. They sort of made the landscape look more wintry, or as if it was coming out of a cold winter. There is not much here that does that.

  20. rosejasm says:

    I really love snowdrops xxx

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