Unbucketing Day

Wow.  What a difference two days can make.  We’ve gone from winter to spring in just a few hours, and even though I won’t officially call spring until the last snow has melted,  I’m practically spinning with spring fever over the thought I might see some more snowdrops unlocked from the ice this weekend.

galanthus three ships

If you’re not sick of seeing ‘Three Ships’ yet, well you might have some of the same issues I’m dealing with.  He looks pristine even after weeks and weeks under a 5 gallon bucket. 

In case you’re wondering, ‘Unbucketing Day’ is a relatively new holiday which I only just declared this afternoon.  I’m sure there’s a more formal process to establishing new holidays, but I did have some cake this afternoon, and I’m pretty sure eating cake is at least steps one through four of the holiday creation process.

galanthus potters prelude

‘Potter’s Prelude’ has gone by a bit under his bucket.  Even weeks of below freezing temperatures and a few feet of snow can’t stop the passage of time, since he has been in bloom for over three months now.

Fancier folk might call for an uncloching day to celebrate the day when temperatures seem civil enough to uncover these protected goodies, but I resort to buckets.  Ugly buckets.  I can understand the attraction of antique glass cloches sparkling throughout the garden but they don’t come cheap and I’m not sure anyone here would appreciate such an elevated level of refinement when autumn’s decaying gourds still sit on the front lawn and an old washing machine still highlights the far end of the front porch.

galanthus Mrs Macnamara

Even ‘Mrs Macnamara’ has tolerated her time under the bucket.  This is the best she’s ever looked, but even with protection a few blooms were lost to cold, so I don’t think she’s an ideal match for my garden…

So join me in the celebration.  A little warm weather and the snow can’t melt fast enough.  There are a few thin spots where ground is showing but most of the garden is still under nearly a foot of icy, packed snow.   It’s still enough to get into nearly every inappropriate pair of shoes I wear, since of course I slog through the snow right after work and don’t bother changing into better footwear first.  I really just need to be more patient.

winter witch hazel pallida

The witch hazel is late this year.  ‘Pallida’ is only just today warm enough to uncurl the first bits of yellow thread.  Hopefully by this weekend….

Who am I kidding?  This is no time to be patient.  I guarantee by tomorrow afternoon I’ll be shoveling snow off things, poking through mulch, and being far more nosy about my plant’s personal lives than I should be.  I’ll probably even plant a few seeds!

Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

23 comments on “Unbucketing Day

  1. Unbucketing day! I can get behind that. If I ever have snowdrops that need to be bucketed in the first place, that is.

    • bittster says:

      This year the buckets have been pretty steady, on once and then off. Usually there’s a lot more back and forth as the weather warms and then the bottom drops out of the thermometer, so I can’t complain.
      It’s always the same snowdrops… probably not an excellent choice for my climate, but I just can’t resist.

  2. Pauline says:

    I think you are going to have a wonderful weekend! How enterprising to use your buckets to protect your snowdrops, they look very happy with their protection but I’m sure they will be very happy to see the sunshine at last!

    • bittster says:

      They look so much better in the sun!
      The longer days and warmer temps should be enough to bring them to spring. This morning’s new snowfall didn’t even bother them 🙂

  3. Ian Lumsden says:

    When that little switch occurs in Mother Nature everything lightens up. It happened here in the UK a couple of weeks back, the snowdrops very gradually giving way to yellow narcissus and the hellebores showing their charms. Spring.

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My area is a little ahead of yours as to the unbucketing issue. Snow is gone here except where it was piled high. I have been outside cutting off hellebore leaves so those buds can stand up and be admired. My snowdrops are doing good too. They weren’t too mashed by the snow. Enjoy your weekend. I hope the sun shines bright and the wind is low. BTW I don’t get tired of seeing snowdrops. Mrs Macnamara looks just fine to me.

    • bittster says:

      If last night’s snow melts off soon enough I’m going to go out there and pull a few soggy leaves and dead stems off the beds closest to the house. It’s only about four feet of bed on the south side of the house but it will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
      I should really clean the salt and grime off the car, but….

  5. De says:

    Dagnabbit! Another holiday for the calendar. I am clearly not a convert yet since I’ve never put snowdrops, or anything, under a bucket. Will continue to come back for more proselytizing, assuming I’m going to buy snowdrops, as well. I’m a little shy about the bulbs right now, mainly for lack of time to investigate and purchase. If I can throw seeds in a milk jug, hopefully I have a head start on some basic bucketing skills. Will go do some drills now with the mop bucket…
    (Are you keeping the washing machine to upcycle as a planter, a la clawfoot-tub-in-the-garden? You could probably plant a crabapple in it if it has a large drum.)

    • bittster says:

      🙂 I never thought to hone my unbucketing skills with a little winter mop practice indoors. Brilliant!
      It makes a lot more sense to focus on winter sowing containers rather than waste time moving buckets around, so I wouldn’t be in too much of a rush to plant poorly adapted snowdrops! Better to find a witch hazel or two. Mine opened a little more yesterday and really cheers me up, without ever needing any extra protection from me! -well that’s not entirely true. I do fence the youngest ones to fend off the rabbits.
      The washing machine still works well enough, we just picked up a better one at a garage sale and don’t know what to do with this one. I’m sure someone could use it… it would be a shame to dismantle, although I do like the idea of a big new planter!

  6. johnvic8 says:

    Delighted to learn another venue for a bucket list. Keep up the good work.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    I’m adding the holiday to my list! 😉 With the turn of weather, looks like ‘meteorological’ spring (March 1st) is right on schedule. Those open patches will spread and grow, goodbye snow!
    I looked yesterday next to the foundation and saw my first shoots of snowdrops poking through. Yay! This is early for them (earlier each year it seems) but no complaints there. Because the yard and other snowdrops are still covered, it makes for a nice succession in bloom times.
    Happy Galanthus season!

    • bittster says:

      The snow held most everything back, and was a nice blanket for the earliest sprouts, but I’m noticing that the snowdrops and a few other things were still growing under their icy cover, bucket or no bucket. Even though things got pretty cold I don’t think the frost went too deep into the soil. Actually in some spots I don’t even think the soil was frozen… but of course that’s just right up around the house foundation which is still the only snow-free part of the garden.

  8. Paddy Tobin says:

    I am aghast at your weather conditions and admire your devotion to growing snowdrops in such conditions. The season is winding down here but still plenty in flower – without the buckets!

    • bittster says:

      I think your garden is definitely a cloche garden, buckets would never fly even if they ever seemed necessary!
      Not to scare you but we had another inch or two of snow last night. The snowdrops have just shrugged it off, but obviously winter is still thinking it over.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We had about a quarter inch of snow this winter and that was too much for us! Cloches? My annual effort to produce early rhubarb, of the pink and tender variety, involves two upturned plastic rubbish bins with a bag of leafmould on top of each to keep them in place against the wind. It works! Rhubarb with orange, cinnamon and panna cotta awaits in my dreams!

  9. Cathy says:

    Your buckets do seem to work extremely well, and I love the name of the new holiday. 😉 We sbould invent far more of them as the gardening year progresses. We just had Iris Day and I think next week will be the Hellebore Holidays! Enjoy your snowdrops Frank!

    • bittster says:

      Yes I agree! It’s still not a hellebore holiday here, but I hope yours is close. It never warmed up as much as I wanted, but by the end of the week it looks promising. Such is March 🙂

  10. We are having our January thaw and it looks like it should continue for about a week or so. I can see an inch of bare ground next to the house on the south side. That means snowdrops very soon. I need to get out and walk around and see if there are any other snowless areas. Still pretty white out there. I never thought of buckets so the snowdrops would come up in winter as it were. I save my buckets for spring freezes.

    • bittster says:

      The bucketed snowdrops are all winter and fall drops, which are already in bloom or sprouting far before the others. The buckets just give them some protection from being crushed by snow or damaged by wind on a frozen day. With the most recent cold all the others are still laying low… literally in some cases… and they won’t open until that first spring day arrives. Many haven’t sprouted or lost their blanket of snow yet!
      I don’t even want to think about spring freezes yet…

  11. rusty duck says:

    Unbucketing Day sounds pretty good to me. Am I allowed to have a sneaky extra glass or two, as I do on Bank Holidays?
    We have just had a stunning weekend of sunshine and T-shirt gardening. It’s wonderful. I can sense your excitement for the start of the season and boy, don’t I share it!

    • bittster says:

      Just one stunning weekend can make your entire season!!! -although I hope there are plenty more on the way.
      We didn’t even get above freezing yesterday, and the skies were mostly gray. I snuck in an extra glass, but it wasn’t due to all the celebrating… Hopefully we’ll be back on track by the end of the week!

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