Several weeks of cold weather with hard frosts and clear skies at night and some wonderful sunsets put the snowdrops on hold and I was beginning to get anxious about our National Gardens Scheme open days on 5th – 7th February. Fortunately this last week has been mild and the tight buds have opened so we now have a good display of these remarkably hardy plants. The snowdrops in the wood have come to life and there is a scattered carpet under the trees interspersed with bright pink cyclamen and a few aconites. This sizzling pink and yellow colour combination would cause horror later in the year but now at winter’s end it is a delight.
Several old favourites have reappeared. Lady Beatrix Stanley, diminutive and refined, handsome Sam Arnott and Diggory with rounded flowers in crimped gauze are welcome back. It is always a relief when these old friends emerge. Most days a walk round the garden finds new arrivals. Longstowe, Shepton Merlin and Lapwing are all in full beauty and Wendy’s Gold is now nearly fully out. There are always one or two missing but it is wise not to write them off too soon. I could not find Mandarin for several years and suddenly I saw a little clump a short distance from where I had put the label. I have now found Seagull after a gap of a year or so looking rather self satisfied quite some way from where it should be. Every day is exciting!
We are stocking up with sausage rolls and cakes for the weekend and hope a lot of people will come to enjoy the snowdrops with us and support the NGS and our local church at the same time.