Little drops of green & white

Does any flower give more hope than snowdrops!

Pure white modest flowers with a chaste beauty, that belies there tough nature.
There they are each January, bravely emerging between the fallen leaves and ivy tendrils.

They are of course hardy, but they are not the fastest of bulbs to colonise a woodland or river bank.
Where you see drifts of snowdrops you are looking at decades or even centuries of growth.
Such plantings are some of the loveliest sights you will see.

Snowdrops are often found in burial grounds, and such plantings must be for hope and memory.
I have seen snowdrops in well kept town cemeteries and on wind blasted burial grounds full of old graves, and they always stir the heart.
In Drumnadrochit, a village close to Abriachan there is a very special area of woodland at the confluence of two rivers, called the Cover.
The Rivers that flow through the Cover to Loch Ness have regularly flooded in the past and have brought down plant material from gardens.
Hence we have had Japanese Knotweed (thankfully, hopefully eradicated now) and raspberry canes, but the one intruder I think is wonderful is the Snowdrop
Undisturbed under the trees they have multiplied and now give a lovely show each year.
I was there on Sunday, a lovely mild day with the feel of the approach of spring.
For anyone with a new house and garden, wait for the first January, February and see if you have snowdrops if not, then buy some, and as with tree planting it is for the next generation.

The magic of Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel, I remember it from my childhood…..a transparent liquid in a half pint bottle, administered when I can home bruised after a day at the local park, a not infrequent event.
I think it is still around and I remember keeping a bottle in my fridge for years when my children were small.

Witch Hazel, Hamamelis mollis is a wonderful shrub, a thing of legend.

These beautiful shrubs flower on bare branches before the leaves.

Hamamelis mollis Pallida is a lovely sulphur yellow variant that flowers in the icy grip of January. The spidery petals are long and with a delicate perfume that rises when in the warmth of a room.
There are darker coloured variants, two of which we grow. Jalena with coppery yellow flowers and Diane, a coppery red.
They are very nice shrubs , but as they flower later in late February/March they somehow don’t seem to make the impact of the early flowering Pallida.
All make an impact in autumn with wonderful rich yellow and red colourings.

Witch hazel is one of those glorious shrubs that you dream of having in your garden.
At Abriachan we had the chance and we planted Hamamelis mollis Pallida about 15 years ago. It is not exactly slow growing, but seems to take to time and it is only this year that I have felt confident to take a branch or two for the house.
I love it, a beautiful, classical beauty.

Badger Shenanigans

After much mud, sweat and tea (rs), the 2012 plant catalogue is off to the printers.
This years front cover shows the local badgers cavorting on the beehive during one of their midnight raids. 
Does anyone else have badgers making themselves at home in your garden?

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