Finally getting like...Spring

Jamie V.
Sun, 05 Mar 2006 07:47:20 PST
Jamie Vande   Cologne   Germany   Zone 8

We have had an unusually cold Winter in Germany.  Lots of snow and 
almost 3 months at or below the freezing point.  Wouldn't have been bad, 
had we, also, received some sunlight!  Yes, all the nasty critters have 
had a hard time and I expect that we will have very little in the way of 
garden pests in the Summer.  I spent a few hours removing wilted and 
withered foliage from the Hems, Paeonies, Astilbes, etc., while noting 
the small Winter Aconites (Eranthus) popping up all over the place.

An interesting story lies behind these cheery yellow cups standing but a 
few centimetres above the ground.  I used to teach a class in ceramics 
at the adult education centre.  One of my students, a rather righteous, 
old-fashioned type with a certain self-assured charm, had what would be 
akin to a garden plot.  This is a club of gardeners that have no home 
garden and rent a piece of a large gardening estate and try to get along 
with each other.  Well, the stories of the injustices were rampant, but 
my student always enjoyed explaining how she tried to rise above this 
and get on with gardening, while carfully modeling one more ceramic 
ornament for her private paradise.  One afternoon she appeared at class 
with a large plastic sack full of green and brown for my garden.  Tons 
of Eranthus that has seeded throughout her plot.  Well, I was delighted, 
as they are literally the only item that blooms through the late snows 
and I had none!  I planted them about in my lawn and still had more to 
plant.  I planted a few more in my semi-shade area, but there were still 
more to go.  A few came into the rockerie and then the sun was setting, 
therefore the rest were simply thrown under various shubs and vines, 
left to their lot.  Well, they all grew!  Especially those just thrown 
under shrubs!

The sad part is that this student recently succumed to cancer.  We all 
new of her plight and I suppose we were her support group at the 
ceramics workshop.  We all got involved in helping her set her wigs 
after the chemo and generally playing sounding board.  I think it was an 
interesting experience for us all.  Needless to say, as I enjoyed the 
yellow Eranthus during my weeding I thought of her.  See, we do live on 
in the hearts of others!

I have an unidentified snowdrop in the garden.  Three times as large as 
G. nivalis, blooms about two weeks ahead, but is otherwise identical.  
Does anyone know much agout Galanthus?  Is there a typical cultivar that 
meets this vague description?  Could it be a hybrid that seeded about?  
I do not grow any other species, but neighbours have what appears to be 
G. elwesii.


Jamie V.

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