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A North Wales Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: The rain it raineth every day..... - Entry 41

There was no January report this year because:

a) there were hardly any days when I could get into the garden, and even fewer when there was enough light and absence of wind to enable the taking of photographs;

b) there were so few flowers worth talking about.

In this N-facing garden on a fairly steep slope it takes a long time for the soil to warm up, and when it stays thoroughly waterlogged for months on end things are even worse, so while people around the country were reporting all sorts of plants coming into growth and bloom early in what has been a very mild winter, as far as lack of frosts is concerned, everything is late here. Most of my snowdrops have only come to their best in the last two weeks, and quite a few ('Augustus', Sophie North', 'Warei', 'Howick Yellow') are a week or more off yet. Anyway, just to show you something before February too passes by, here are a few snowrops (singles first) that I photographed today (12 Feb.). In order they are 'S. Arnott','Brenda Troyle', 'John Long', 'Mrs Thompson', Straffan', 'Magnet' 'Trymposter', 'Dionysus', 'Jacquenetta', 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'.

G. 'S. Arnott'

Galanthus 'S. Arnott'

G. 'Brenda Troyle'

Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle'

G. 'John Long'

Galanthus 'John Long'

G. 'Mrs Thompson'

Galanthus 'Mrs Thompson'

G. Straffan'

Galanthus 'Straffan'

G. 'Magnet'

Galanthus 'Magnet'

G. 'Trymposter'

Galanthus 'Trymposter'

G. 'Dionysus'

Galanthus 'Dionysus'

G. 'Jacqunetta'

Galanthus 'Jacqunetta'

G. 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

Hamamelis x intermedia (H. mollis x japonica) 'Arn

This is putting on a really good show just now, but has to be pruned assiduously after flowering to keep it within the bounds of the space available to it.

Hamamelis mollis 'Arnold's Promise' Hamamelis mollis 'Arnold's Promise', close-up

Ribes laurifolium

This close evergreen relarive of the much commoner, pink-flowered, 'Flowering currant' (Ribes rubriflorum) is good here through January and February, but it is a very straggly shrub which is best trained on a wall or fence. 

Ribes laurifolium

Hellebores late too!

Finally, my hellebores are beginning to rouse themselves and within another forthnight I should have a good show; for the moment I have only what I believe to be an H. atrorubens hybrid to show you, but it is a beauty. But then, we have become so used to seeing all sorts of wonderful hellebores that we are perhaps a little spoiled, like a child in a sweet shop. One thing I do know is that I much perfer the singles to the doubles; to me the loss of the beautiful boss of almost countless stamens with their creamy anthers is in no way compensated by extra rings of tepals. But each to his own, and I readily admit that I am probably in the minority as regards my preference for single flowers.

Helleborus atrorubens hybrid
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