Saturday, 2 January 2010

On The Snowdrop Trail


When it comes to plants I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I look at something in depth and it fires my interest I want it. Or them. All of them, probably. That one and that one and that one. This can be impractical – Walnut trees, for example. Ancient yew trees. Potatoes. Fortunately, my current passion is for snowdrops.

Having recently visited a number of snowdrop gardens including Welford Park, Kingston Bagpuize and the national collection at Colesbourne Park I am now thoroughly converted. Details of my pilgrimage can be found in the Jan 2nd 2010 issue of Amateur Gardening magazine, but it turns out that snowdrops are more than short, white and quite pretty when there is not much else to look at. They are not keen on deep shade (oh!), they have a vast natural variation (really?) and, as I was emphatically told by Colesbourne’s snowdrop supremo John Grimshaw, the planting-in-the-green thing is a myth. Move ‘em in summer, apparently.
It goes against everything I have ever been told, but the man knows his stuff and has a big shiny book to prove it. Which I also want.

The picture is of me and John Grimshaw checking out the exciting autumn flowering snowdrop Galanthus reginae-olgae.

And the 2009 award for most robust salad leaf? It has to go to wild rocket. I grew some a few years ago, since when it has gently self-seeded itself into pots and between paving, minding its own business and being generally useful. But on Christmas Eve dinner looked done for (due to a failure to construe ‘…and salad’ from the instruction ‘fruit and veg’ on the Christmas supermarket shopping list). But under a couple of inches of snow, the rocket was still going strong. Some of the older leaves were cold and translucent but new shoots yielded several handfuls of tasty leaves and the great salad disaster of December 09 was gloriously averted.

Just been handed a chilli-flavoured chocolate penguin. Really quite surprising…

Listening to: Maroon 5

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