Tag Archives: spring garden

Snowdrops in Spring

New feet within my garden go–
New fingers stir the sod-
A Troubadour opon the Elm
Betrays the solitude

New Children play opon the green-
New Weary sleep below-
And still the pensive Spring returns-
And still the punctual snow!

Emily Dickinson (79)

March 25, ’09
Degrees 40’s
Yesterday we had snow.

My books arrived and, oh my goodnes, I LOVE them. I’m just getting started, and have read the “Early Spring” section of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens by Marta McDowell. We’ll follow along with her on this blog the early Spring plantings of Emily. If you’d like to add other poems of hers (or others) that you think might refer to the flower we’re highlighting, please do so in the comments–we’d love to read them.

Today’s flower, in Early Spring, is the Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). They were the first flowers to bloom in the garden. They are a bulb flower. Here is a picture:

snowdrop

Information from theplantexpert.com as follows:

“The major benefit of planting Garden Snowdrops is their early arrival. They can show up weeks before crocuses do, and will often poke through a covering of snow. In the South, snowdrops may even bloom all winter long.

A snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means “milk-white flowers”.

Since they are small, you probably need to plant a large number to make a dramatic effect. However, in a rock garden, or planted among other early-blooming plants like Snow Crocuses, an odd number of snowdrops here and there can be just as effective.

Under the right circumstances (see Notes) snowdrops will naturalize very well, and a planting of them can last a lifetime. They are well worth the investment. As an added benefit, snowdrops (like other members of the Amaryllis family) are normally avoided by deer and rodents.

Flowering time: Very early spring

Plant height: 4 – 6″ (10 – 15 cm), although some cultivated varieties grow up to 10″ (25 cm) tall

Minimum planting depth: 3″ (8 cm)

Hardiness zones: Suitable for zones 2 – 9, although they do best in zones 4 – 7

Colours: Clear milk white, usually with emerald green tipped inner segments

Shape/form: A single, nodding, bell-like flower, about 1″ long with 3 lobes, and shorter inner segments, hanging from a stiff, slender, leafless stalk; 2 – 3 very narrow leaves grow from the base of the plant

Alternate names: Common Snowdrop, Milk Flower

Latin name: Galanthus nivalis

Notes: Good for rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, at the fronts of borders or in front of flowering shrubs, in lawns, or along woodland paths

Prefers moist, humus-rich soils, sun-dappled shade, and cooler climates, as in zones 4 – 7

Naturalizes both by self-seeding and bulb offsets

Example varieties: Garden Snowdrop (white), Flore Pleno (double white flowers), Viridapicis (green markings on tips of both outer and inner petal segments), Sam Arnott (larger flowers, with distinct heart-shaped green markings), Atkins Snowdrop (taller than most, with long, shapely petals)”

Have you planted Snowdrops in your garden? Will you this year? What is your exprerience or memories of them?

Happy First Day of Spring Account

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson, 812

Today I’m doing an inventory of my trees–to see if they’ve made it through winter.

The Poplars have bark damage–maybe from the cats–maybe from the deer when they were rubbing off their antlers. Yet, they’re still budding. My question is, what do I do to help them now? Will they survive stress? Will they continue to grow at the rate of the others?

poplar-bark-damage
The buds of the same Poplar.
poplar-with-bark-damage-3

My Flowering Plum, in front of the house, also has bark damage. This one’s survival is so important. I chose it from the others because I liked its shape–the way it spread out and would give the window area privacy.

fp-bark-damage-front-of-house
Its buds.
fp-in-front-of-house-bark-damage

The FPs along the driveway are alive. I noticed that there is one growing much slower than the rest. Are its roots hitting rocks? It also has bark damage from over a year ago.

stunted-fp-first-day-of-spring-bark-damage
The runt.
stunted-fp

Here is one we planted last Fall. It was pretty mature to begin with and had a huge heavy root ball. We broke it during transplant, but it, too has survived the winter.

fp-broken-root-ball-first-day-of-spring-09

The Weeping willows have survived.

And this one, the little Willow–the tiny one we planted 18 months ago which barely grew–and then we transplanted last Fall to make room for the new ones–it appears to be alive as well. We thought it was dead last Fall. Could it really have survived?!? Look at the profusion of buds. Wow!

willow-we-took-for-dead-2

willow-we-took-for-dead

The new Willows–much larger–but only planted last Fall.

weeping-willow-2

Here are three more in back–a Birch and two pines. They are alive. I’m so happy!! I love Birch trees. I hope to put in more this year.

birch-2

birch-1

This is not a tree, but they are coming alive–Day Lilies.

day-lilies

My quest this week–find and buy 3 Forsynthia and 1 Magnolia.

Have you done an accounting of your garden? Are your trees coming alive today–this first day of Spring?