I woke up this morning to the cheerful cacophony of a chorus of birds singing their hearts out in my garden. Yes, my garden! They chose my garden to be their stage.
Such gaiety saw me leap out of bed, with a somewhat unusual surge of enthusiasm, and head for the window; I am instantly captivated by the abundance and activity of the little birds that have chosen to visit this space I call my own.
Five coal tits dart in and out of the branches of the silver birch as if they are playing some crazy game of tig. Then come the blue tits as fast and loopy as their monochromatic cousins. This playful dance carries on just below my window when a movement further down the garden catches my eye. It’s my goldcrest, a regular visitor. This minuscule bird makes my heart skip a beat whenever I see her because she always brings with her a curious sense of belonging, a feeling that all is well in my world.
A couple of robins join in the throng; it is a veritable feast of feathery activity. These birds are literally eating my garden and they are very welcome.
This past week Twitter has been awash with photos of snowdrops; it’s that time of year. Snowdrop enthusiasts (or galanthophiles to give them their fancy name) are in their element and who can blame them? These pure and delicate flowers are so charming they can entice even the most latent of gardeners outdoors to witness their beauty.
Visitors flock to country parks and estates to witness the glorious sight of great swathes of snowdrops growing under trees and along grassy embankments. I however come over all Lord Byron and prefer the path less travelled. I gad about down country lanes, venturing into ancient churchyards to indulge my passion.
Now I married for love not money and therefore do not live in a country estate but this doesn’t mean I can’t have my own little clump of snowdrops to adore. I have several clumps growing in my suburban garden and each year they spread a little further, so much so I can now pick two or three stems and bring them into the house where I spend too long marvelling at their gorgeousness.
Padfoot shares my love of snowdrops and carefully tiptoes over them to sit in his favourite place.
I think he has noticed their delicate fragrance too.
When a flower captures my attention I like to find out more about it and the snowdrop has quite a story. Folklore has it that folk were once afraid to bring the flowers into the house for fear it would turn the cows milk watery, make the butter go bad and affect the hatching of eggs under a sitting chicken. Now I’m no farmer but my own chickens lay very few eggs in snowdrop season and have shown no desire at all to try and hatch them in freezing cold temperatures. As for the milk and butter I think the development of the refrigerator has saved the day.
It’s exciting times for the snowdrop nowadays. Scientists have discovered certain properties may help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, MS and trauma to the nervous system. Such promise of hope from a herb that blooms at a time of year when we all look forward to brighter and better days.
I’ve noticed that most writings about snowdrops always end with a warning. Do not eat them, they will make you very poorly. Now I’m not sure why anyone would want to sink their teeth into this little beauty but just in case you are tempted, best not.
Snowdrops belong in the flowery section of the kitchen garden. If you fancy growing some, now is the perfect time to get started.
Snowdrops are offered for sale ‘in the green’. This means they have flowered and will still have their leaves attached to the bulbs. Planting them in like this gives them a much better chance of thriving.
The blooming of late winter flowers is a sure sign that Spring is on its way so why not introduce some into your own garden. They are guaranteed to lift your spirits and chase any winter blues away.
A massive “Thank You” to Paul Cliff for letting me use his beautiful photo of a coal tit and to my sister Sarah Anderson who spent the weekend tiptoeing through snowdrops and bombarded me with photos. Blog collaboration at its best!
Ps The pictures of Padfoot are all my own work 😉