Books I Love

LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

To A Snowdrop – Wordsworth

I mentioned last Monday that I had recently used snowdrops to decorate my dining table for a Valentine dinner party. The last few days have been very hectic and I have found myself yet again on a Monday without a fresh vase to share. On nights like this a small backlog of posts is a good thing and so tonight I am sharing the little flowers from my garden that brought such a touch a whimsey and romance to my February dinner party.


Although my borders this week are bursting with spring colours – the deep blues of the reticulate iris are now accompanied by the first yellows of narcissi February Gold and the hellebores in their many shades are in full bloom – it is the snowdrops are still stealing the show. They flowered late this year – not really getting going until towards the end of January, but February has been stunning with singles and doubles lighting my borders. In these lean times the multitude of snowdrops called out to be brought inside to fill many tiny vases which could be dotted along my dining table and added to side tables and the mantel for extra impact.


Before placing the vases I first cut lengths of ivy and laid it down the centre of the table. As this arrangement only needed to last for a night there was no need to worry about foam or water – in fact the ivy lasted perfectly for a couple of days. To make sure that the snowdrops were not hidden amongst the greenery I stood each tiny vase in a champagne bowl to raise the height of the flower heads. I then added candles at differing heights to ensure a suitably romantic atmosphere.


As well as lining the dining table I added a few vessels to a tray of tea lights and to the side tables in my drawing room. Having intended to take photographs when the table was fully set and the many candles burning, in fact I remembered the following day just before I cleared everything away, so sadly there are no flickering candles reflected along the table or in this mirrored tray.


I am a lover of tea lights and have many tea light holders that also double as small vases when I need extras.


These snowdrops lasted surprisingly well – for a couple of days despite being in a room that is kept toasty with a wood burner.


Has anyone been reading the new book ‘Snowdrop’ by Gail Harland? When I first saw this on Amazon I did wonder if I could justify another snowdrop book, but I am delighted that I decided to order it. It is everything that a flower focus book should be, containing not just botanical information but also chapters on stories relating to snowdrops and works of art, poems, books and music that reference snowdrops. Having skimmed quickly through this delightful book yesterday afternoon I am glad that the evenings are still long enough to ensure I will have the time to read this book more slowly. I cannot spend to long with this lovely book however as my other order last week has proved to be a huge tome!! I have always loved the work of the poet Sylvia Plath and enjoyed reading her abbreviated journals many years ago. Last week I discovered that these journals had been released in an unabridged form and I could not resist the ‘Buy Now’ button – I think these diaries will be keeping me busy for quite some time to come!

I mentioned above that there is a spring like feel beginning to arrive in the garden but the temperatures are still chilly and last week saw storm Doris whirling her way in. Sadly we lost a big Poplar tree which collapsed onto my pergola cracking through the wooden supports and taking down climbing roses, hydrangeas and some very mature box balls. A bed that I was very happy with is now looking extremely sorry for itself, but this is the lot of the gardener – nature will have her own way however much we try to manipulate her and as gardeners we have no choice but to go with her flow. I have taken pictures of the sorry mess so will share those soon. In the meantime I have a lot of cutting back to do and will keep my fingers crossed that after a severe prune these damaged mature shrubs will bounce back with the warmer temperatures of spring.

As always I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden so do pop over to her blog to see what treats she and the many others who have adopted this Monday habit have to share with you tonight.

I really love to find cookery books that inspire me to grow and cook with ingredients from my garden and when such a book also contains beautiful artistic images of plants, gardens and recipes I am smitten!. Such a book is The Artist the Cook and the Gardener by Maryjo Koch. I came across this […]

Continue Reading