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JEARRARD'S HERBAL


26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Anglesey Abbey'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Ruth Birchall'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Comet'.
Some fabulous weather at the start of the week highlighted the snowdrops around the garden. The meadow is full of little white marks where G. 'Lady Elphinstone' is pushing up. The flowers start to open almost as soon as they break through the soil and for a few days they stare upwards from ground level. Give them another week and the stems will have elongated enough for the flowers to dangle, but for now the effect is most peculiar.
Bright sunshine at the start of the week opened the snowdrops wide but unfortunately it made photography very difficult. I did my best, but most of the flowers were overexposed. I had to wait for the midweek cloud to flow back in before the pictures looked ok.


26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Lavinia'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'.
So this is snowdrop week. The Hamamelis are fabulous, the hellebores are burgeoning and the Daphne bholua smells divine but the snowdrops are dominating everything.
Under the camellias, G. 'Brenda Troyle' is increasing rapidy. The time has come to lift and split the clumps again but I am reluctant to disturb them. It will be better for them in the long term but I need a calm day and a steady nerve. They are unlikely to arrive together and the possibility of cold weather is lurking in the air.
G. 'Ruth Birchall' and G. 'Comet' are both making a show. The largest flowers on each are about 4cm long. They hang heavily from the pedicel. 'Comet' is perhaps the larger of the two but 'Ruth Birchall' has greener leaves and looks lusher as a result.
Among the double flowered forms, G. nivalis 'Flore Pleno' always cheers me. There is something deeply truculent about the way it squeezes itself reluctantly from the ground so it is almost a shock when the flowers expand and glow in the sunshine. Among the taller hybrids, G. 'Lavinia' has been particularly good this year, the outer segments have splayed open to reveal the green inners. G. 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' is more demure, you have to tip the flower upside-down to see that it is a double. It is very distinctive in the border, the tiny ovary is little more than a triangle of punctuation above the triangular flower. She has a determined geometry that is unmistakable.


26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Bill Clarke'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Heffalump'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen'.
Equally distinctive is the delightful G. 'Godfrey Owen' with six outer segments instead of the usual three. He also has unusual inner segments but the number of them varies. Sometimes he gets as far as six, but not always. As an arithmetical inaccuracy it is too trivial to hold against him, the 'inners' are barely visible anyway.
G. 'Heffalump' counts as far as three when it comes to outer segments, but then goes wild with the inners. The 'outers' are narrow and precise, the 'inners' have a long green mark like a swimming mermaid. I know they are mermaids because they have hips, I have never rifled through the segments to see if there are any mermen hidden further in. It doesn't seem decent.
G. 'Bill Clarke' is the first of the yellow snowdrops to open this year. It is increasing more slowly than 'Wendy's Gold' but I think the colour is better.


26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Gerard Parker'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Modern Art'.
26th January 2020.
Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'.
Some of the snowdrops that I grow are here because they are distinctive, but many of them are selected from more whimsical reasons. I liked the look of G. 'Gerard Parker', it has poise. As it has bulked up I can also see that the clawed outer segments reveal a large olive green inner mark. It dangles in a particularly satisfactory way. I have half a dozen flowers this year and they all hang in the same way, at the same height and they sway together like synchronised swimmers preparing to dive into a pool. Little, precise, co-ordinated movements.
G. 'Modern Art' has far less grace. It has tall green ears above the flower, a scharlocki-likey with green tipped outer segments and a lean, streamlined appearance. G. 'Natalie Garton' by contrast has a much more comfortable look. She is a double, but the outer segments never open wide enough for it to show. Another one that is immediately identifiable from a distance. Most of the snowdrops are yet to flower, the stems are poking upwards full of promise. Somehow this feels like the best of the season. Everything is still fresh.
The seasons weather is unpredicible, anything could happen by this time next week. A moment of stillness in the garden is something to savour, there won't be many more of them before the rush of spring takes hold.