Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Snowdrop Season

I am cautious about predicting spring. Last Wednesday as I practiced my tai chi I looked out the window and saw the golden light and the greening grass and decided spring was well on its way now. As soon as this thought took shape, the sea glowered and spewed forth a torrent of hail. It passed quickly, but left a smear of salt on the window to ensure that I cannot make any more presumptions about the passing of winter. Clearly the thought was an act of hubris that could not be tolerated.

Today, however, I venture to believe again that spring is inelecutably pushing winter aside. The most cloistered of the snowdrops in the shelter of the walled garden have begun to bloom. Their less protected cousins have pushed their first green leaves boldly out of the earth. A few daffodil tips are showing under the hedge, and the trees are showing the first swellings on their stems that will soon become buds. One sturdy willow sheltered only partially by a stone wall from the direct blasts of the ocean has sprouted catkins.

If these tender plants can believe in spring, then who am I to remain skeptical?

I read in Country Living about a woman whose entire garden consists of snowdrops of different varieties: some with tiny green stripes through their white blossoms; others with little yellow caps atop the white flower. I find charming both the variants on the classic all white flower as well as her idea of a luxuriance of a single flower which emerges, as she notes, when there are few flowers to compete for attention. I like to think that the simple white blossom would be remarkable even in a crowd of flowers, but I understand how it could be overlooked when the showier flowers come out to play--bluebells, daffodils, tulips all have more presence than the gentle unassuming snowdrop, but certainly no less courage.

So for now I will revel in this season of the snowdrop. Neither winter nor spring but a time of quiet flowering in sheltered spots.


At 12:36 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

When we went to the Broch of Gurness, there were a few flowers dotting the grassy areas around it, but the flowers were thickest in one particular spot surrounded on three sides by walls. It was a cute little nook. The flowers were low-growing and white. I doubt they were snowdrops.

What a neat idea--only snowdrops! Variety within unity.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

It may have been daisies. I love them and would cheerfully have a lawn full of them and chamomile but some folks think of thsoe as weeds--sad lack of imagination I think.
"variety within unity" I like that phrase and that image. Feels kinda like a Matthew Arnold poem.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Heather L. said...

snowdrops come out so much earlier in the UK! We are still in the midst of dreary winter here.

I love the UK Country Living -- such a great magazine.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

No snowdrops in Chicago.

Just more snow dropping -- snowiest Winter here in decades....

At 1:17 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hello, Heather. Yes, I think Country Living is a very good magazine. Some of the magazines are much too stuffy--toffee-nosed, but CL had good stuff in it. I may subscribe. Sorry you are still in winter's grasp.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hello, Cur! Good to hear from you. I would much rather have snowdrops than snowdropping. Hang on, not even in Chicago can winter last forever.


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