Thursday, 23 September 2010

First snowdrop, first daffodil

Calling for tea at my parents' this afternoon, my mother was quick to point out the first snowdrop of the season, a self-sown Galanthus reginae-olgae in the Cyclamen plunge-bed of the alpine house, which had just popped its bud. Having been away I haven't been in touch with the galanthophile network, so don't know when the first snowdrop of the year was reported, but this was the first I've seen. The pleasure in seeing the first r-o of the year is always slightly muted by the thought that it heralds the onset of winter.

Also flowering well, whether in pots or loose in the sand plunge, was Narcissus miniatus (below), the Eastern Mediterranean plant usually known as N. serotinus (this name is now used for more westerly populations). It's a charming little plant, flowering as soon as moisture is provided in September, and producing a flowering stem (scape) that also does duty as foliage, producing the carboydrates needed to replenish the bulb. It soon goes to seed, and unless caught in time this scatters all over, resulting in abundant interlopers. These grow well, but the bulb is very slow to multiply vegetatively, if it ever does. I have never attempted to grow it outside, but suspect that it would need a very warm sheltered site.


  1. ..and I'd just gone round the garden in yesterday's glorious sunshine, noting Mermaid and Gloire de Dijon and Paul Lede having another fling of bloom, extending the summer - and you remind me of winter's coming...but... as soon as this rain stops I'm going out to rake feverishly about for my g.r.o......

    Welcone home, anyway, we'll miss your colourful pictures....

  2. As a former Alaskan, I, fortunately, can look at the first blooms of r-o with great pleasure and a feeling that spring is upon us. Rather a perverse sort of way of seeing it, to many people I suppose, but with so many winter flowering bulbs and perennials and shrubs and trees, I never want for floral beauty in the quite interlude we call winter in the Pacific Northwest. It's still like a dream to me, even after 13 years here.
    And whatever its name, your little N. minatus looks a charmer of a weed.
    What a good son, you, to leave all these things for your parents to enjoy.

  3. John, I love your blog. I have recently been doing landscape design on my own backyard, and I realized that havving a garden--with flowers can really add something to my backyard. I can have splashes of color and really make my place stand out. I love the Narcissus miniatus--it is so pretty. Thanks!


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