Six on Saturday. 6th Feb 2021

59 thoughts on “Six on Saturday. 6th Feb 2021”

  1. Yes, I think ‘Hippolyta’ is a good match for your double. It is one of the Greatorex doubles – all bred by Heyrick Greatorex in the 1940s or so, I think it was. They were named for Shakespearean heroines and all make excellent garden plants – the double snowdrops last longer in flower as they don’t become fertilized and don’t set seed. However, Mr. Greatorex was a devoted enthusiast and while he named quite a few of these double snowdrops (all crosses between the double common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis flore pleno and Galanthus plicatus) it can be very challenging to distinguish one from another. His were the eyes of the truly devoted/obsessed and he saw the very minute differences which galloping horses might not notice. All excellent garden plants nonetheless!

    And, nine more arriving! An enthusiasm/obsession beginning?

    1. Hi Paddy – in fact it’s an old obsession revived from the days when I was a gardener at Kew in Alpine & Herb and visited the spring shows at Vincent Square with greedy eyes bigger than my purse. I was totally smitten. I’ve had several modest collections in the past (including a few bulbs gifted by Richard Ayres at Anglesey Abbey – still mourn them and wonder if they’re alive somewhere in Buckinghamshire!). I just move too much! When I first came to this garden I had too much else to spend on, although I had planned to buy 3 cultivars each year. By the way – do you know ‘Fields of Flowers’ in Ireland (sells snowdrops)? Brexit has forced me to turn away from British growers and my previous post this week was about what I’d turned to. I might stop at the nine, but then again I might not! It is very hot in this garden and back in 2012, before I understood the garden properly, I lost ‘Sam Arnott’ and G. elwesii. I have 4 remaining. But this year I decided I’m too old not to gamble on love!!!

      1. Yes, I know Field of Blooms – Guy de Schriver – very well. Guy has a good selection of snowdrops and reasonably priced and good quality. You should look to Facebook and search out a group called ‘Classic Snowdrops’ and you will come on a “Fred Blogs” (a pseudonym) who lives in Normandy. He is a great snowdrop enthusiast and expert and grows an excellent range of cultivars and, indeed, has introduced many outstanding varieties to cultivation.

      2. Thanks so much for that Paddy – currently drooling over your pictures on your own Six!!! It may take me some time! And you got me pausing to look at Facebook too, so this is taking a while!!!

      3. You echoed Mary’s approach to snowdrop purchasing when she started about 30 years ago – three bulbs of three varieties each year. After about ten years, a great friend in Northern Ireland realised she was very keen on snowdrops and sent on a shoebox full of new varieties – and again the following year – and again – and Mary felt they came too fast, too many, as she liked to study them in the catalogues and choose ones which struck her as special. At that stage, she put me in charge of the snowdrops so I became a galanthophile by order of the headgardener! Her interest is returning and she bought three new ones this year from Altamont Plants – there’s another source for you, if he would post to France. You would need to drop an email for the list, email your order, wait for a ‘phone call to pay by card and then they would be posted – newly set up for mail order, responding as best he can to the present lockdown situation. He has an excellent list, mainly ex Avon Bulbs. Mary ordered three and I ordered one and he included an extra because, as he said, he thought we might like it.

      4. Oh my goodness – how you are feeding my frenzy today! Like Mary (I guess) – I wanted to get to ‘know’ them slowly. I only bought my nine because the lovely Dutch grower that I bought from had a very good offer of two collections. The first collection was 8 cvs, one bulb each, of some very good standard old friends, including Sam Arnott, Virideapice, Atkinsii, Straffan, Pusey Green Tips,etc. Although I was nervous about one bulb of each, I was also greedy and just decided to go for it (also buying 2 bulbs of Magnet). Fingers crossed. The lady grower also happens to be in a village in Holland where a friend of mine used to live and the friend told me her garden was lovely. It seemed like a sign! Thanks so much for all your info today! Now back to your own blog and those wonderful snowdrops …

      5. You have chosen very well, all good reliable garden plants that have stood the test of time. ‘S. Arnott’ is one of the greatest of the snowdrops and I adore it. ‘Atkinsii’, the same. ‘Straffan’ is an Irish one and great – two flowering scapes per bulb!

      6. I didn’t know how to respond to Fred directly below – and was too polite to ask Paddy if it was you, Fred!! Glad that’s sorted … Have already asked to join the ‘secret’ snowdrop Facebook page. First useful thing I’ve done with Facebook for a long time!

      7. I didn’t know you’d worked at Kew – how wonderful. No wonder you have such a great garden and such interesting plants. This week I’m loving your scented shrubs and the euphorbia. Beautiful!

      8. Yes – I did, and thanks for your compliments!!! However, just because I worked at Kew (and have the diploma, since also a student there!) Doesn’t make me a good gardener, just a knowledgeable one!!! I felt like I was a complete beginnier when I moved here.

  2. That’s a lovely way to photograph a snowdrop. Unless they are grown up on a bank or something it is hard to see their beauty. I think my poor few are common singles and doubles, and yes the doubles seem to be doing better. I am liking that euphorbia too. I might have to indulge in some for my Cornish hedge – lots of nooks and crannies there for it to creep into.

    1. If you have a lot of bits and pieces of stone in full sun you’ll never regret it – it’s seeding down my steps in the garden too – all 90 odd of them. I’d love to see it all in 100 years!

  3. It is very close to ‘Hippolyta’ which I bought this week, but I think yours is a fine form with a beautiful heart shape.

    1. It is very pretty – I didn’t used to like the doubles so much, but when I photographed that one on the balcony table I sort of fell in love!

    1. Thanks so much – yes, they make me feel so optimistic too. I’m raring to go, and it seems the garden is as well, in spite of everything.

    1. Thanks – I’m afraid I took it last year. This year, since our snow in mid January it’s just been wet, wet, wet. Not nearly so pretty.

  4. Welcome back! Really nice to see your pretty photos again. That Euphorbia is really interesting. I like those winter flowering shrubs too, you are right about having more time to appreciate them, I should grow one or two.

    1. I think my first love was probably winter flowers when I was a student. But maybe that was sheer laziness. When we used to be tested on our (graded) fortnightly plant idents there was less to learn! But I still think there’s nothing lovelier than the atmosphere of a large garden that pays close attention to the beauty of winter flowers. And the scents – you really notice them at this time of year.

      1. There’s no doubt, it is lovely to have a garden that looks good in winter – but mine tends to gravitate very much towards May! Do you follow Paddy, who has a spectacular Irish winter garden?

      2. Hi Seth, my garden looks lovely from January through to June. At its height in April/May/June. If I lived in Britain, would be longer (here, not too bad in Sept/Oct!) You have to have a big garden to think about winter properly, but every garden should have some winter interest. I’m sure yours does! Yes, Paddy is currently teaching me so much about snowdrops, for which I am so grateful. Have an excellent week.

  5. I love the crocus, I may have to search one out although the rabbits limit most of the plantings here!
    As usual your photography is excellent and I love joining you for these ‘look arounds’ in the garden. The honeysuckle is borderline hardy here, but a friend further south has it and I may need to give it a try. That late winter fragrance would be totally worth the gamble.

    1. How sad about the honeysuckle – I imagined it was tough as old boots – never checked because I’ve gardened with it in the past. We get winters down to -15 (or used to until everything warmed up a bit, but as recently as 2016 it was -10, when the honeysuckle was already in the ground). Give it a go. I have another (L. fragrantissima) in my little border in the street where I park the car and I appreciate it if anything even more. So, it seems, do the neighbours. Of course – remembering your recent post – you really, really get it cold, don’t you?

      1. Same here with the cold, if you check the records it used to get much worse, but lately -18C is where it has been bottoming out. That’s not at all far from where you go, so I will try the honeysuckle!

  6. I’m intrigued by the mirror garden, so obviously I’ve got to go searching more of your posts. But I’ll get to the bottom of it, Cathy. That, and to seek out why your garden is so difficult. Beir bua.

    1. There’s a mirror up there Padraig! Set in place by the previous owner to reflect the surrounding landscape. Re difficulties. I don’t want to sound like a moaner because I simply ADORE my garden – we fell in love with the views, the ambiance – the magic of the place. But there are over 90 steps and I am 64. Everything needs to go up and down those steps (including roly-poly me). Also, at the top of the garden, on the terraces, the soil is the heaviest clay I’ve ever worked in my life (and I’ve worked a lot of gardens, often with ‘good’, if heavy, clay soils). Down on the much gentler slope down to the river (flat for my garden!) it is much more normal, I feel more ‘at home’. Plus, this area used to be extremely cold in winter – down to -15 regularly. Warmer and wetter (usually) now. In the summer the terraces are baked for 1-2 months each summer in 32-40 degree heat without any rain. Oh, and did I mention the voles that used to eat every woody root that was put in the ground (I started planting in baskets, but there were a lot of tears at first), plus the chafers (still not sure which kind they are – we call them ‘vers blancs’) that like to eat the roots of herbaceous, bedding plants, dahlia tubers, etc.). I am sure there are others dealing with difficult conditions like mine – but the garden would have to be pretty extreme to be harder to work than mine. However – I am learning about loving the things that self-seed, when my herbeceous plants give up the ghost … learning so much in fact, more than I ever learnt as a hort student. Especially to be very, very humble and very, very happy when something works! Shame it took me this long! Thanks for your visit!

      1. Now that’s a pretty comprehensive update. Thank you, a chara. Indeed I saw the mirror with my ery own eyes.
        It certainly gets pretty hot there in summer. Our camping trips to the Loire area about twenty years ago stopped us in our tracks once temperatures moved aboe 25. Merdre!

  7. Lovely photos of your crocuses! I agree, the color of the buds is hard to place and that contributes to the magic. The Lonicera blossoms are surprisingly lovely in their delicate asymmetry.

  8. Crocus are so pretty in other people’s gardens. They do not naturalize for me. The best sorts bloom later is spring, but they are the crocus that are supposed to bloom in autumn!

  9. Lovely photographs Cathy, especially of the crocuses – and it has been intriguing to read about your snowdrop journey and the follow-up comments 😊

    1. Thanks Cathy – I’m feeling very excited to get back (a little) in the snowdrop swing and get my books out again – can’t remember a darn thing I ever learnt!

  10. A lovely selection and a sign of hope that somewhere around the (far) corner spring is on its way. Like you we’ve had an awful lot of rain and since I got back last weekend I haven’t seen the crocuses open once. They just sit there feeling sorry for themselves. I have lots to do too but the thought of working in a flooded garden isn’t very appealing. Let’s hope we get some sun soon! Enjoy your garden x

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