Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday 24th February

The great storm has passed, leaving our bit of the world unruffled, think we were in its 'calm eye' missing its tempestuous mood.  Though chairs got hurled across the lawn, and it rained a lot.
Went for a walk with Lucy a couple of days ago, we ended up at the Roman Cawthorn camps. trying to find the barrows that are supposed to be in on of the three camps.  Dead heathers cover the remains of goodness knows what, think there was a late village within one of the Roman camps, the dark of the trees making it feel gloomy.  Lots of dog-walkers come here, I have even heard of dogs going missing as they head off into the woods..  The dog walkers are polite and urbanised, someone chatters to me about Lucy and her plumpness, my fault of course she implies, should be more strict.  Lucy does not leave my side in places she does not know, but scampers around like a young thing.

A rather blurry photograph (messing around with settings unfortunately) that the camps overlooked, and defended?

In my ongoing survey of snowdrops, what you find is their ability to start out from a house deep in the countryside and then to spread along the verge in leaps and bounds.  They have naturalised themselves, embedded would be a better word into our woods and verges with a beautiful tenacity.
Turning to W.Robinson (1895) and I find he has written 8 columns on this little Galanthus.  It is not just white, but can be green, or there is even a yellow one from Northumbria, doubt if it exists now.

The snowdrop never looks better then when naturalised amid tender herbage in old orchards and paddocks .... all the snowdrops are hardy and may used in isolated masses on the Grass, or grouped on rock-gardens (remember them?), or in the wild garden, where they may be associated  with Anemone, early crocuses, Winter Aconites, and Early Irises.

Well Mr. Robinson, there are tiny dwarf irises in the garden which gave me such a surprise the other day, though I had planted them and of course crocuses dot their way aroundas well.  But no snowdrops as they are spread around in the church yard next door.  So this tiny white bell like plant has fitted itself securely into the landscape.  The thrush is back, and the birds sing with great joy each morning, tiny bluetit tumbled to the lawn locked in a fight with one of the two robins, and the little squirrel hurled itself from one branch to another in a great flight of fancy this morning.

What else to look out for, well it will soon be time for the Marsh Marigold to come out, an essay on its history, but in actual fact it came to this country from the cold North.

Nikolai Astrup - A Clear Night in June 19
Cannot resist its history ;)

"Marsh Marigold- Caltha Palustris has another historic tale to tell, this time from Geoffrey Grigson. He says that this flower was growing before the Ice Age in Britain and its bright yellow flowers that arrive so early in the year must have forced itself into the consciousness of all who saw it on damp, cold grey days of early spring. In Iceland it appears when the snow is still on the ground, and its flowers surround the farmsteads on the high dry knolls separated from the boggy land below.

The Anglo-Saxons when they arrived as colonists must have welcomed this flower from their home country and they probably called it Meargealla or mersc meargealla. Mear from 'horse' and geallafrom 'swelling' or 'blister', a horse-blob or mare-blob. This is of course conjecture on the part of Grigson but is well to remember that names, and especially Saxon names, have a direct correlation between that which is seen and experienced, and apparently because the round globe flower suggest a round swelling, and the flower itself looks like a large buttercup, whose roots were used as a soothing concoction for blisters."


  1. I have snowdrops from a friend. I thought they would spread more, but they are tucked under a dogwood in a flower bed. Maybe this fall I should dig them up and plant them a few other places.

  2. It always says to plant them in the 'green'. meaning I suppose when they are past flowering. I think birds must pick the seedheads and move them on, it is strange how they appear everywhere.

  3. I've been seeing lots of photos of snowdrops recently. They're such pretty little flowers. I guess they are your hearty end of winter/beginning of spring flowers. We have daffodils and hyacinths and tulips here but it's too early yet. Some have been popping thru the earth but I don't know how well they'll do. I'm not convinced that we're finish with snow here in New York!! I think that person who commented on your pretty girl Lucy was rude. Lol!! xo

    ~ Wendy

  4. Hi Wendy, the daffodils are just about coming into flower in the churchyard, tulip leaves are about 6 inches high. Everywhere is covered with snowdrops.
    Lucy often gets a lot of attention because she is so pretty.

  5. Interesting about the colonization of the snowdrops. Here in Kentucky--and apparently in other south-central parts of the USA--it is daffodils which have gone wild and spread over roadside verges and into pastures and fields. The locals refer to them as 'March lilies'--which this year have flowered in February and are not about over.

  6. Apparently there are wild daffodils just a few miles up the road at Farndale, which should becoming into flower soon. Now whether they are naturalised from gardens I don't know.