The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens by Elizabeth Lawrence is what inspired my interest in snowdrops, but it took many years before I actually got any planted. This is partly because I was confused by their blooming time. In Elizabeth Lawrence’s southern gardens they bloomed on Candlemas Day (February 2) and sometimes “more than once known them to take advantage of an ‘amazing interlude’ of mild weather in January to slip out of the half frozen muck and flower serenely.”
Here in my New England garden there is often snow on the ground through March and I feared the beautiful snowdrops would bloom under the snow – all unseen. No point in planting them here! But I finally gave them a try, planting a dozen bulbs below some poorly sited dwarf apple trees. Here they have bloomed and given me great pleasure along with Glory-of-the snow, scillas and grape hyacinths. They are planted in the grass and I try to make sure it is mowed low before it goes dormant late in the fall. The fall seems to last longer these days, and spring arrives later. This year Candlemas Day dawned with freezing rain on top of the snow. On April 2 I mentioned in my journal that the snow was still melting. The photo above was taken on April 15.
For this reason, Miss Lawrence’s garden seemed as exotic as any I have ever read about, but what makes her book such a delight is her love of plants, and of gardeners, and her knowledge of those plants, and the gardeners who became her friends. To me, her books seem to contain so much history, of plants, of gardens, and of friends. There is something to learn about all three even though my garden on a windy Massachusetts hill is so different.
I couldn’t get the assigned reading for Garden Bloggers Book Club, but I can highly recommend the delights of The Little Bulbs and Gardening for Love: The Market Bulletins edited and with an introduction by Allen Lacy.