Time to spring into action
THE year has turned and as daylight lengthens there are signs of the coming of spring in my garden. The snowdrops planted in groups beneath trees in the lawn and along the edge of the drive are in bud showing gleams of white against the green of the gras
THE year has turned and as daylight lengthens there are signs of the coming of spring in my garden. The snowdrops planted in groups beneath trees in the lawn and along the edge of the drive are in bud showing gleams of white against the green of the grass. Thanks to lower temperatures this winter they are set to flower at the right time in February instead of earlier, which has been the case in the recent very mild run of winters. Early last year I created a new shrub bed next to my pond which I filled with Cornus Winter Fire, a variety producing bark shading from yellow to red for interesting winter colour. In the autumn, I decided to add some white flowered crocus bulbs and snowdrops which were planted in their dry form. Both types of bulb are coming through the soil now, but while the crocus looks likely to bloom well at least half of the snowdrops are clearly only producing leaves without flowers. This experience underlines the fact that snowdrops are best planted in the green, that is when they still have their leaves but after their flowers have faded. There are a number of nurseries which offer a mail order service selling snowdrops in the green towards the end of February and in the past when I have bought from them I have found that the bulbs have flowered very well the following year. Now I have such a large collection of snowdrops in my garden that I can afford to split the clumps after flowering and plant these in fresh areas which they can colonise instead of buying in. However, when I planted the bed of Cornus last year I did not think about under-planting with snowdrops until it was too late to use plants in the green. Although the dry bulbs are a disappointment in their first year they will be fine in future years and soon form healthy splashes of white and green to contrast with the red and yellow stems of the Cornus.