Despite my Lack of Effort!

Waterford, south-east Ireland, 6th February 2021

Despite very little input from the Undergardener, there was a good display of flower in the garden this week and isn’t that the very best return on labour – no work, yet lots of flowers!

My only worth-mentioning work of the week was that I power-washed the tarmacadam around the house and down the drive. It had become heavily covered in moss over the winter and in need of a good cleaning. Power-washing is a slow and tedious method but preferable to using chemicals which could damage plants and be a cause of pollution.

Snowdrops are without question the plant of the moment in the garden. We are at mid-season for snowdrops, generally given as when the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is in flower. We have had snowdrops since September and they will continue well into March but at this time of the year there are new snowdrops opening each day so a walk around the garden is guaranteed to bring something of interest – and, of course, each one has to be photographed! (And then posted online to annoy those who believe they all look the same!)

The Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, gives a beautiful spot of yellow as a contrast to the general whiteness of the garden flowers at this time of the year. They make a nice companion plant to Cyclamen coum and snowdrops and are very easy to grow, multiplying well in the garden.

The first hellebore we bought for the garden was the most generous of plants for it self-seeded with an amazing generosity. It, and a multitude of its descendants, are still in the same place as first planted and over the years we moved large numbers of seedlings to fill beds as we made them in new areas of the garden and then, when we had more interesting plants to use, we never felt any compunction about lifting them and putting them on the compost bin. They had done their holding job and would be recycled as compost. At the original planting site, they continue to seed about and do so very nicely onto a stone wall which faces north so is covered with moss. This is on the roadside of the garden. The ordinary hellebores:

Some of the “nicer” hellebores are also beginning to flower in the garden, plants we have bought over the years, the fancier varieties. These are the first of those to flower:

Snowdrops are an in-fashion plant at the moment and have become the subject of passionate collection for some. They are also excellent garden plants, giving interest and impact at a time of year when there is little else of interest in the garden. Here are some garden views with snowdrops:

Zooming in a little, to see plantings of snowdrops in smaller groups along with their companion plants of the season – Eranthis hyemalis, Cyclamen coum and Helleborus x hybridus cultivars.

Finally, individual snowdrop portraits: those snowdrops which opened during the past week – well, most of them anyway!

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributions to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

42 thoughts on “Despite my Lack of Effort!

    1. Oh, we all need a little brightening up these days and isn’t it wonderful to have the garden and the plants to do so!


    1. The favourite is the one in flower today! Though, ‘Annalivia’ is a favourite for it is one I found myself and named for two of my granddaughters, Anna and Olivia.

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  1. Your garden is looking splendid! I dream of my snowdrops increasing and spreading into great swathes like yours! Are they snowdrops in your lawns too? I have little luck with Cyclamen but I persevere. Like you I also let my helebores seed around and am gradually spreading them to all areas of the garden as they are such good value at this time of year. The only downside being removing the leaves! I have stripped them completely in December but I see there ara a few more damaged leaves the need tidying – but a small task compared with the reward of the flowers!

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    1. Some of the snowdrops are better growers than others and make good patches over the years. Yes, there are snowdrops in the grass – the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and they are building up gradually.


  2. A wonderful post that I could spend hours on! Hellebores really like it here – I had a vision of a bank of hellebores that’s coming true now – but I never seem to get round to digging the seedlings up and setting them elsewhere as ‘place-holders’ as you do. You’ve inspired me and I think it’s becoming crucial this year as they are seeding into other plants and have quite smothering leaves. You’ve introduced me to the cultivars of G. woronowii, which I didn’t know existed. The species seems to do well here (as has G. ‘Warham), so I shall be on the lookout for those cultivars. I love the green-tipped and yellow-marked cvs, but am nervous of the latter. Would you say they were less strong? Thanks so much for this – I need to find a way of ‘book-marking’ favourite posts so I can return to them!


    1. G. ‘Warham’ is a plicatus cultivar. There is only one yellowish cultivar of G. woronowii – ‘Elizabeth Harrison’, the one that made a record price of £925 for a bulb a few years ago! Mine came as a gift from a friend in Germany so precious. Good yellows are ‘Wendy’s Gold’, ‘Madelaine’, ‘Primrose Warburg’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’ – and all should be reasonably priced.


    1. They set each other off – the snowdrops, cyclamen and aconites and none too vigorous for the others. By comparison, I find Cyclamen hederifolium too vigorous for snowdrops and swamps them. That little aconite self-seeds and comes true to name so a promising plant.


  3. I’m convinced that outside a few rainy days and a little mud, your garden is in a constant state of perfection. Such a beautiful layout, and I can only imagine how much work really does go into keeping it like that.
    Love seeing the mixes of eranthis, cyclamen and snowdrops. It’s one of my favorite scenes for the early spring garden… even if my own garden is still far short in finding just the right spot where all three are happy.

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  4. Hi Paddy – your garden looks just how I’d like mine to. It looks so natural despite the fact I know how much effort you and Mary put in. This week I’m determined to buy some mail-order aconites as they look so beautiful with the snowdrops. I love your Paradise Giant by the way. That one is new to me but what impact – wow!

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    1. Many thanks for the kind comments, Katharine. The garden is our pastime and hobby and, most of the time, being out there is enjoyment and not regarded as work so all to our benefit. Re ‘Paradise Giant’ – if memory serves me correctly, it originated at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens but started life as a clump of seedlings and when divided and distributed it was noticed that not all ‘Paradise Giant’s were the same. At some stage, someone decided that which was the real ‘Paradise Giant’ and I was sent some bulbs to replace my previously grown and false one! Pfffff a long-winded story! Nice snowdrop nonetheless.


  5. That mossy wall with the hellebores is such a delightful feature, Paddy, and makes me wonder about extending the areas of our garden where I have them too…And what choice snowdrops you have – and presumably deep pockets or generous friends too!!

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    1. Very shallow pockets so, obviously, very generous friends – a good circle where we swap, exchange and simply pass on to friends.


  6. A lovely winter selection. I can’t wait for my snowdrops to bulk up but they have only been in the ground a year so some time to go. You may have persuaded me to invest in some winter aconites and I am very tempted to add some white coums to the snow drop border. I’m also hoping my ordinary hellebores will self seed – I am feeling very impatient now!!

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    1. I edit all my photographs with Photoshop. I reduce them all in size so they upload quicker to the internet and also take up less space on the Media storage in WordPress. Part and parcel of this reduction is size is the addition of the name to each photograph. It is something which you can set up once and then do the photographs in batches (unlimited numbers) when needed.

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      1. There will be alternatives…the photo software on my PC (I think it comes with the Windows package) is OK for basic edits, so I’ll probably look for a file shrinking app and a way to get my signature on the images. I’m not pro enough to justify a monthly rental fee!

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      2. Photoshop Elements is available as a once-off purchase and has most of the features of Photoshop, enough really. I got the full version free so am happy to be able to use it.

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