Archives for posts with tag: snowdrops

The first snowdrops appeared, so we’re within sight of spring:

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March, and our profusion of snowdrops are beginning to fade from luminous white to delicate papery grey. There are still drifts of alpine white among the trees but these are beginning to be overtaken by the pointed acid yellow buds of daffodils preparing to flower. On the grass, in places, there are purple and white crocus forcing their heads above the green blades and, best of all, one or two highlights of buttercup yellow crocuses, including one slap bang in the middle of our winter puddle pond. That particular golden bloom comes from the bulbs we planted this autumn, so is especially gratifying. Most of our spring blooms are inherited and we’ve been marveling at each new discovery, as well as taking the opportunity to move clumps around and add some extras in pots.

In late Autumn, I moved two old Belfast sinks from the back of the house to the front, to benefit from the sunshine. I planted this with perennials and bulbs in shades of blue and green. Pleasingly, all the plants seem to be coping well with the winter and a cheery purple anemone is the first bulb to flower. The luscious green curls of tulip leaves are also growing up through the mulch of gathered seashells used to dress the top of the soil.

Thanks to all this floral abundance, I’ve been able to indulge in cutting blooms for the house, gathering two bunches of daffodils today which are now in jugs in the lounge and the kitchen. The coming spring has also encouraged us to crack on with work in the field – before new growth overtakes us. Our new WWOOFer. Audrey, and Matthew have been busy raking off bracken patches in the field and we’ll plant wildflower seeds in the bare soil to give them a bit of competition. The bracken strafing is a project inspired by the Woodland Trust site visit on Friday. We’re waiting for the full report but it looks like the best option for creating a woodland in the field will be to plant trees in stages, starting with the areas close to the current copse and those that benefitted most from the sheep grazing. In these areas we could plants around 500 trees (willow, alder, hawthorn, scots pine) this year. For the remainder, we need to get hold of livestock to turn the soil and beat down the bracken which looks like being our biggest enemy.

Check out the rubble-free wall and new flower bed.

Check out the rubble-free wall and new flower bed.

After a very hectic few weeks it’s high time I updated the blog with our progress. When you’re in the midst of work it can seem that nothing is being achieved, so it’s good to sit back and gather my thoughts about all the changes. I am typing this sat in my almost-decorated kitchen while our second WWOOFER enjoys a quiet evening off after an afternoon of constructing supports for the bird nets on our new veg beds. We signed up as WWOOF hosts last month and, with the help of two volunteers, since then we have:

  • Removed the eyesore rubble that has been sat outside the house since we excavated the inglenook
  • Created 5 new vegetable beds and one flower bed
  • Moved 6 barrow loads of snowdrops from our compost area to a new location on the north lawn so they can be admired from the kitchen window
  • Painted the bare plaster in the kitchen white
  • Carried out a survey of the land and made a topographical map of the terrain
  • Cleared most of the shrubs in the centre of the lawn
  • Hung folding chairs on the wall in the sun room
  • Gleaned and chopped enough firewood for us to not have ordered logs for nearly a month.

In other words – got cracking on a to-do list that would otherwise have taken us months. Here’s a picture of Vincent, our current WWOOFER, digging a bed in the sunshine on Saturday – spot the photographer.

Vincent digging

While all this has been happening we’ve been battered by wet and windy weather. Not much fun for us or our volunteers but the strong winds have provided free firewood from some of the trees and we have cut off some precarious dead limbs as a precaution.

On Friday we have a site visit from the Woodland Trust to discuss planting a woodland in the field, now that Jo and Phil’s Hebridean lambs have returned to their mums before going to market.

The other big change has been a personal one for me as, for the first time in more than 21 years, I am no longer in formal paid employment. I decided the financial cost of childcare and travel, and the emotional cost of being away from the family for days every week, was too great and have decided not to return to working as a subtitler after my maternity leave ends next month. This was a really hard decision as I did love my job and we do need a second income. So, until we win the lottery, I’m doing freelance writing work – mainly creating blog posts for companies overseas, which explains in part why I have not been updating my own blog! I’m working for a good friend, have completely flexible hours and the extra money has made a big difference to the family finances.

The final change in the last month has been upgrading the sash windows in the playroom, the south windows in the lounge and the kitchen. These were all rotting and the new windows are a big improvement – reducing draughts and greatly improving the outward appearance of the house. We’re hoping to overhaul some of the other windows ourselves and get more done by Ventrolla when we can afford to.

Finally, I have to wax lyrical about all the signs of spring bursting up around the house. We have more snowdrops than we know what to do with and, in the new bed by the kitchen door, we’ve planted some of the snowdrops, daffodils, cowslips (kindly donated by Janet) and the campanula Fiona brought us. I really can’t wait to get cracking on the garden and have been spending a ridiculous amount of time collecting ideas on Pinterest.

New flower bed

New flower bed

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Sunshine and showers today but in one of the lulls I took the chance to take more pictures of our gorgeous snow drops.

bank drifts

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It’s a real luxury to have so many of these dainty beauties you can give in to the urge to pick some. Not known for lasting long as a cut flower, they have the most subtle fresh scent, so I placed a tiny glassful by the sink to admire them.

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