Snowdropping 2021

I’ve heard them say it’s the bad trips, not the good, that you remember best, and over the years they become some of your best memories… so maybe someday this trip will rank more highly, but for now its chilly wetness ranks it closer to the bottom.  At one point my snowdropping buddy stated the day reminded her of the windy, frigid visits to upstate NY and the Temple Gardens open day, and she could be right.  In my defense our local forecast was decent, but I foolishly assumed it would be even milder and just as dry 100 miles South.  Silly me.

naturalized snowdrops

I would guess snowdrop adventures in the UK and EU are far less gritty than our adventures.  Tea and cake from what I’ve heard.  To satisfy that question, we didn’t find either.

As I was driving down my better sense knew this trip was too short-notice and not up to or normal standards, so I dropped the hint that I would be fine doing our traditional park visit alone, and Paula must have looked at the thermometer and thought ‘hallelujah!’

“Yes” she said, “That’s fine, maybe I’ll go next week”.

naturalized snowdflakes

The yellow of the winter aconite (Eranthis hiemalis) was fading, but the snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) were just coming up.

The park we visit hasn’t changed in years, but this year I noticed some cleanup.  Brush removed, new paths, general cleaning up.  I’m glad to see some love going in, but also have to admit a little sadness.  Paths of bare earth cut through swathes of snowdrops and winter aconite means many bulbs were destroyed.  Decades of neglect built the show, I just hope a cleaner and neater future leaves a place for them and remembers the history of this plot.

eranthis

Bulbs are tenacious though.  A tree disaster happens, a scar opens, and still the yellow of winter aconite manages to sprout and bloom amongst the debris.

Ok so I really wasn’t all that sad and I did spend a good hour or so examining hundreds of flowers looking for something special so it was still an excellent visit, but the real star of my trip was Paula’s garden.  I swear there were twice as many blooms as I remembered.  I love when I pull up somewhere and get that stupid grin and start talking to myself about how cool it looks.  Sometimes I even do that with passengers onboard, and probably get concerned looks, but with each passing year I notice less and less, and care?  Not even 🙂

american snowdrop garden

The glow of ‘Jelena’ (Hamamelis ‘Jelena’) lights up and perfumes the highs while snowdrops and heucheras fill the lows.

It was so refreshing to see all the color filling a garden.  On the ride over I was desperately scanning the neighborhoods looking for anything but it was never much more than desolately neat lawns and mulch, or way more evergreens than even a cemetery would want.  Occasionally there were some snowdrops or a hellebore, so I guess there’s hope, but inspiring?  No…

american snowdrop garden

Paula has reached the point where nearly all the beds have snowdrops wedged in between the dormant perennials and mix of shrubbery.  She complained about too many seedlings.  I pretended to understand.

As usual we stood out in the cold examining every drop, commenting on how well it grew and where it was from.  There were also witch hazels, winter aconite, and snowflakes to discuss.  It’s great seeing a garden which comes alive while the rest of the neighborhood sits brown and dead.

american snowdrop garden

One of many hellebores.  The color stood out better in real life, I’m sure I yet again had some camera setting mis-adjusted.

By the time we slowly shuffled around the far end of the garden the icy drizzle had switched over to a rainy drizzle, and when I suggested it might be more polite to skip the other garden we had scheduled, Paula seemed fine with that.  We were both ready to warm up and dry out.  I even passed on an offer to dig one or two trades… tell me that’s not a sign!

american snowdrop garden

The last couple years of plantings line the side garden, each special variety socially distanced with only the occasional seedling breaking quarantine.

I guess I’m not as feverishly desperate as I used to be.  It’s still a thrill to go visiting but it’s more and more about the people, and then coming home is less and less of a let-down.  There are still a few (actually plenty) of snowdrop treasures I covet, but give me a sunny winter day with bunches of average white ones surrounding me really makes me feel as if I’ve arrived…. at least in MY mind 🙂

Have a great weekend, and let this be your **last warning** that pictures from my own garden are up next!

18 comments on “Snowdropping 2021

  1. “I even passed on an offer to dig one or two trades”–oh wow, the weather must have been really bad–or perhaps you are ill?

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My goodness. You were wet and miserable. You need to invest in a rain suit that will go over your clothes, BIG umbrella too. What nice collections of flowers to see tho. I wasn’t cold at all. 😉

  3. Harold Cross says:

    Frank, Nice little rant about your 100 mile jaunt. Paulas garden is always a treasure…

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    You refused a Galanthus trade? Uh-oh, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto. 😀
    Every time I see one of those lovely Asian Hamamelis, I want one so badly! ‘Jelena’ is gorgeous. The wishlist grows. 😉
    I saw the first spears of your daffs poking through today, I’m so looking forward to the glorious show thanks to your generosity.

    • bittster says:

      Right!!? The Asian witch hazels really have their moment at this time of year. I obsessed on them a few years back, but after a dry spring last year all the new ones opted out of setting flower buds, so it’s a bleak hazel show this spring. Hopefully next year will be better as they settle in, and if I’m really lucky the two tiny grafts I bought will someday also be covered in flowers!
      There’s also been some work with the natives. Showier selections and they’re somewhat hardier than the Asians.
      I hope the daffs bloom well! A few were small, so fingers crossed.

  5. Pauline says:

    Your friends garden is delightful, the witch hazel is fantastic, along with all her snowdrops of course. Weather does make such a difference when garden visiting, all weather clothing is a must!

    • bittster says:

      I like to complain about the weather, but honestly after we come out of the real frigid parts of our winter, being out for hours in just above freezing temperatures is almost an excuse to put on shorts 😉

  6. Paddy Tobin says:

    Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! That’s too cold!

  7. Paula says:

    Next year at long last, I will come to the Bittster winter garden ! Write that down now friend 😀

    • bittster says:

      We will see. My witch hazels are still unimpressive and the hellebores here are far less everything. And there’s not a single local snowdrop garden for us to visit 😦

  8. Love the first pic – snowdrops in the ‘hood!

  9. Cathy says:

    Jelena is gorgeous… Your friend has got green fingers too. Lovely to find such a pretty garden in winter. 😃

  10. I decided I am just going to look at this post in pieces. ‘Magnet’ is one of the best as far as I’m concerned. Just received my ‘Blewbury Tarts’ from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens and will plant out today. But the ‘Walrus’!! Wowee. I love the fact that you have other flowers blooming with them. Plus, all the ones you sent me have come up so I am a happy gardener.

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