23 February 2014

Tread softly

A wobbly jet stream meant that winter storms queued up in disorderly fashion and rushed across the Atlantic to roar across this country and our neighbours to the east ... tearing down trees, bringing down power lines, flooding many many homes and fields, and generally causing a lot of misery. Nestled in the 'burbs, on a slope at the edge of the Leinster granite, we got away very lightly: lots of water but no flooding, a couple of trees down in the local park, but no damage any nearer than that. We were very fortunate. Today the wind picked up again, but we *did* get some spring-like sunshine over the last week or so and never was it more welcome. 

In between the storms, the sun came out

With spring sunshine come the spring flowers. Squills in the local park, and irises and snowdrops at home - the ones in the pics are those that I planted last autumn, when I cleared a lot of ivy and geraniums from underneath the birches at the front of the house. 

Squills are coming up in the local park
Up close and personal with Scilla verna

Iris reticulata (and a snowdrop!), planted under the birches in the front garden last autumn

Iris reticulata, such intricacy!
Squills in the local park and irises in my own garden, along with the wrens, blackbirds and thrushes in fine voice in the mornings -- all are such welcome signs of spring! But we decided to go a little farther afield to see spring on a slightly larger scale - the aconites and snowdrops in Burtown House were looking lovely, bringing to mind Yeats' cloths of heaven,
"...Enwrought with golden and silver light..." 
and doing what these small spring flowers do so well: appearing delicate and fragile while actually being as tough as old boots. Winter storms? No problem. Driving rain and sleet? So what. They shake it all off and keep on keeping on. My kind of flowers.

Aconites and snowdrops under a yew tree in Burtown House
(I got some berries from this tree last year for my Alphabet Yew)

Aconites, insouciant in the wintry weather

Aconites looking well settled 

As well as spring flowers in woodlands, my thoughts at this time of the year turn to alpines. Nervous trips to the greenhouse were rewarded at last when at least one (and perhaps only one) of the Drabas came back to life. It is really astonishing - one day they're all grey and dead looking, the very next day, small glaucous green buds butt their heads out of the middle of some tiny rosettes. Phew. The AGS 'season' starts soon and there'll be all sorts of amazing plants to see; I only hope I'll have something to put up on a bench that will pass muster. 

Thoughts are turning to alpines and the like too, some Sempervivums I planted in an old pot last autumn


And so to the ongoing Twenty-one. On 21 February, B and I were in the hospital at the time I normally walk in the mornings, so these pics were taken later in the day. But they're all the better for it: at least there's some light there, even if not much else has changed since 21 January. Things move slowly in late winter, but March and April should ring the changes! 
Iz in the sunny field
Morning shadows in the park
You wouldn't think a storm had raged through here just over a week ago
Which path to take? 
Finally, some sunshine makes its way into the back garden

Not much to see here ... move along please
Things have been busy of late, so there hasn't been too much drawing or sketching going on. Just a rough and ready sketch of some Burtown snowdrops under a mossy beech tree and a rather pitiful sketch of a single snowdrop from my own garden, with a lovely line from another Paula Meehan poem:

"They are less a white than a bleaching out of green.
If you go down on your knees
and tilt their petals towards you
you'll look up under their petticoats
into a hoard of gold
like secret sunlight and their
three tiny striped green awnings that lend a
kind of frantic small-scale festive air."
from 'Snowdrops' by Paula Meehan

A rough, seasonal sketch 

a lone snowdrop
Tread softly.

1 comment:

  1. While my garden, unlike yours, is a complete tip, its wonderful to see the snowdrops and I think a couple of primroses heading up through the debris. Spring IS here, despite the weather... Graineweile