Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Survivors.







The snow has almost gone, at least for the time being. There are still stripes of old snow under the stone walls where the sun, still weak and only paying us fleeting visits, has failed to reach. Elsewhere in the fields there are patches where there is a dip in the ground and the snow was deeper; and where the snow in these dips has melted icy pools stand, the ice thick enough for the birds to practise their skating. Old snow is a sorry sight, dirty round the edges and pock-marked on the surface, where it has begun to melt and then changed its mind.
We think of it as bitterly cold, but actually it is quite kind to the plants in our garden because it covers them with a comparatively warm, white blanket which protects them from the hard frost.
And now that that blanket has gone the garden is a sad place. Soggy, slimy dead leaves drape themselves over everything. There is hardly a vestige of green.
But wait! Look closer and you will see that some things are stirring. Tiny sharp green blades with a little bulging white tip are pushing through in familiar places, where they appear every year. Yes the snowdrops - aptly named this year - are there and will soon be out if the sun gives them a bit of a boost. In the manger under the landing window the tete-a-tete daffodils are well up, their leaves standing proud and straight and advertising "we are hardy!" And the helebore are well out and telling us that they don't mind the weather at all. "We are not called the Christmas Rose for nothing," says Niger. And Argutifolius pushes her long blossom out from a circle of dark green, very dead-looking leaves as if to say that she will not be outdone by Niger.
On the trellis the winter jasmine has survived "bloody but unbowed" and is just beginning to pick up her head again.
Yes, Nature has her survivors, and should we get more snow then they will hide under its blanket and wait for the right day to say - Spring is on its way. If the weather improves then they will soon be joined by those other harbingers of Spring - the pulmonarias, the primroses and the Lenten roses. I can hardly wait.

23 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

Weaver, When I go out I must look more carefully. I saw nothing yesterday. But I think you are at least a month in front of us here in Austria, if my mum's daffs are anything go by. Survivors! Yes, we need survivors!

jinksy said...

I always marvel at the hardiness of tender plants. Nature knows a thing or two about survival...

Elisabeth said...

Spring is already on its way there. I can hardly believe it. We've yet to get through Summer here but I can understand your eagerness to get beyond the cold and snow there. Those little buds bring such cheer.

Heather said...

I am right with you Weaver! Each year I am amazed at the hardiness of such delicate little plants. You have beaten me to it with your lovely photo of the first of the 'Christmas Roses'. I shall nip outside shortly to see how mine is faring. There is so much to look forward to, isn't there? - even if it does snow again tomorrow!

Dave King said...

Hurrah to you for raising hopes and spirits. As always, thoroughly well written.

Karen said...

..We've got another two dreary months to get through, but already there are things poking through the ground. As always, beautifully written.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

We got another hard frost this morning, so I think Spring may still be a little way off - sorry! But anything that can bring a little cheer is welcome!

Golden West said...

Daffodils are sure to follow!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

There resilience awakens ours. A beautiful piece Pat. Spring does not feel quite so imminent here. Nice to be reminded of it.

Hildred and Charles said...

How lovely to see your Hellebores, Weaver. Yesterday, while filling the bird feeders, I noticed some hardy daffs an inch or two above ground, and the Lenten Roses are lovely crimson stubs, pushing towards the sunlight. One can never be sure what February will bring. I must go and look at the buds on the forsythia and see if they are advanced enough to come in and bring us golden cheer.

Pondside said...

Our Hellebores are looking lovely over here, and the Jasmine is blooming for the first time ever. Isn't it a thrill to find those new plants forcing their way up through the cold soil?

willow said...

I can't believe you already have little sprouts up over there! Amazing.

Bob said...

Hi Weaver, like you our snow has all but gone. I agree with you about the snow keeping things warm. We had a few very cold nights but on the whole I don't feel that the cold was very penetrating. Bob.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Weaver,
here in NY we will have to wait until the beginning of April. Everything comes so much later here.
No signs of anything at all here except dead dead dead.....
As ever your writing brought the whole English spring scene to life.

word verification: splob
what is that?!

Titus said...

Lovely post Weaver, and quite uplifting. My back garden is still sad, soggy and slimy, however, with ice on the lawn, but I do have some crocus tips showing! (Weirdly, I can only ever grow the mauve/blues - all my yellows disappear. Do the mice prefer them?).

Penny said...

I am glad your garden is showing signs of life.

ChrisJ said...

Please do show us some photos of the snowdrops when they bloom. I miss them a lot.

Cloudia said...

You are guardian of the seasons!



Aloha, Friend


Comfort Spiral

dinesh chandra said...

This is good news , the snow already gone , only the impact is there,

Regads

Dinesh Chandra

Crafty Green Poet said...

The first snowdrops have been seen not far from Edinburgh so the first slow stirrings of spring are definitely starting...

The Weaver of Grass said...

I now read that another big freeze may well be on the cards for next week - this milder weather may be only a lull. If this is so then all these spring signs will have to go to sleep again.
Bob says the frost was not very penetrating and I would agree with that - otherwise those vole roads would not be possible (see today's blog). As for Titus and her not being able to grow yellow crocus - maybe the corms are more tasty to mice. Does anyone know? I know that the yellow flowers are a magnet for sparrows who quickly peck them to smithereens. Thanks onc e again for the comments.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

How cruel, how cruel! To tempt me to your most recent post and show me photos of flowers! And here, amid the grayest of days, the light flat and dim, woods dull brown, I sit, staring at mud beyond the window and knowing even the harbinger snowdrops won't be up for another 6–8 weeks.

Okay, I forgive you. I do like the vole "lanes" in your grass. Either due to fear of hawks and cats, not to mention foxes, coyotes, and owls, my voles either tread very lightly beneath the snow cover, or else they have ample provisions and comfortable accommodations safely underground. I see nary a track since the snow melted.

Great post. And really, I enjoyed those flower photos.

BT said...

Wow, another fantastic post Weaver. I love your photos too. Twisty still has some bulbs to plant!!

The Christmas roses are lovely. I must venture out to the rootery and see whether ours have poked up their heads yet. Oh come on Spring.