NGS Snowdrop Garden and Spring Bulbs 2014 – ‘First Week’ at Gelli Uchaf

Forget the wettest ever Welsh winter.

February’s fantastic flowers are loving it and blooming at Gelli Uchaf.SDIM5508 (2)

This by chance is my 100th post, so I’m relaxing and making it very short on words or ideas.SDIM5522 (2)

It’s designed to capture what the spring bulbs have looked like in a tiny bit of sunshine, and under grey skies over the last couple of days, at what is my favourite time of the gardening year.SDIM5466 (2)

And this is the first year that we’ve had the idea of opening the garden, as one of the participating gardens in the new National Gardens Scheme (NGS) snowdrop garden festival. This is maybe a bit precocious for a garden started from scratch just 19 years ago, but I reckon we have upwards of a quarter of a million snowdrop flowers, and about 150 different varieties, built up by annual division and accumulation over a lot of that time, in our 1 acre cottage style garden.

Being over 800 feet up, our season starts a little later than many, but these photos are designed to show that the garden has lots more of interest in the spring bulb, shrub and plant category, as well as the snowdrops.SDIM5424 (2)

Timing of flower emergence being very variable, a few of the snowdrops have finished already, but the vast majority are opening now, with some later arrivals only just poking green shoots above ground. So at least this year, our selected opening date was pretty good. I plan to do a weekly photo update, so that anyone deciding to visit can have a better idea of what they might see, and the pictures will change significantly, as Narcissi also begin to emerge and join the scene over the next 3 or 4 weeks.SDIM5329 (2)

So do give us a call or email if you’d like to come and share one of our favourite times of the year, and help support the NGS charities (£3 per person admission to the garden to the NGS). SDIM5406 (2)

If you can’t make it, then I hope you get a boost from some of these early spring flower images, at such a chilly time of the year.SDIM5303 (2)SDIM5488 (2)SDIM5497 (2)SDIM5510 (2)SDIM5519 (2)SDIM5526 (2)SDIM5524 (2)SDIM5527 (2)SDIM5315 (2)SDIM5401 (2)SDIM5331 (2)SDIM5436 (2)SDIM5484 (2)SDIM5440 (2)SDIM5429 (2)SDIM5486 (2)SDIM5419 (2)SDIM5515 (2)

14 thoughts on “NGS Snowdrop Garden and Spring Bulbs 2014 – ‘First Week’ at Gelli Uchaf

  1. Wow….incredibly lovely pictures of stunningly beautiful flowers!

    • Hello GV,
      Thanks for the comment and I’m glad that I’ve been able to share some of the images of this special time with you … a shame that you can’t visit and smell the Daphne and hear the quickly building spring birdsong as well…
      Best wishes for your own special spring season,

  2. Thanks for those wonderful reminders that spring is on the way, thought here in the NE US it will be another month before the snow melts!

    • Hello, and thanks for the kind comment. Writing the blog and sharing ideas with folk around the world has brought home how even in the Northern hemisphere, seasonal timings vary so much. I do moan about all the rain we’ve had this year, but it’s extraordinary how the Mediterranean area plants cope so well on a steep south facing slope. I know that many parts of the States have suffered with the snow and a severe winter, and hope that when it comes, spring will be especially enjoyable for you,
      Best wishes

  3. I notice the dominance of blue and purple crocuses. Is that true of all the garden or just the ones in this album? Squirrels always take all my crocuses, sadly. It does seem a good time for the little irises though.

    • Hello Andrew,
      Thanks for the comment. There is a predominance of these blue/purple forms of Crocus tommasinianus for quite a few reasons – which I’m going to discuss in my next post – along with suggestions for preventing squirrel predation…so bear with me. But we also have other forms which emerge a little later, as you’ll hopefully see on subsequent week’s posts,

  4. This is a wonderful example of how spring bulbs should be grown and a testament to your hard work and vision. I hope you can appreciative visitors to your garden, I have enjoyed the virtual tour.
    Our bulbs have as green shoots, but if we can some calmer drier weather and a little sunshine, March should bring a wonderful array of spring bulbs. I am an optimistic gardener.

    • Hello C,
      So far in 4 years of by appointment garden opening with the NGS throughout the year we’ve never had a single visitor in February or March, which is a shame, since we think it’s one of the best times of year for colour and interest – hence our change in strategy….but at least with the blog one can share some of the fun and excitement, in spite of this grotty weather,

      • After listening to a talk this week on some of the (mainly single generation) historic house (and) garden makers of Ceredigion from the later 1700’s and early 1800’s I’m even more convinced that unlike a gem’s relative permanence, a garden in this part of the world is always going to be a very transient effort. And after its’ carers have shuffled off, it will quickly be engulfed…
        But the bulbs…or at least some of them, will live on, thriving with benign neglect, a hint of preposterous dreaming …

  5. The garden looks so beautiful and just how I would like some parts of my garden to look like in the future although mine is smaller. I love to see the way the crocus and snowdrops have naturalised. I’d love to see it as it is just now, if it were only nearer. Amelia

    • Hello A,
      Thanks for the kind comment. It does indeed give us such a boost right now. But we always look at it, and see potential for further improvements. Indeed Andrew’s comment below has already given me some ideas for this autumn. But what we’ve found is that we need to write things down now, and spend time walking round the garden, just looking, and photographing ‘weak areas’, so that come bulb ordering, or seed scattering time (in the case of Crocus), you remember where to put what! Also every year we regret not buying more bulbs and getting them in to gain a season.
      A thousand C. tommasinianus sounds a lot, and costs about £45 wholesale. But what pleasure they’ll give in year 1, let alone 3 years down the line when self sown seedling should start to appear. I reckon that’s a good bang for your buck compared with say a few shrubs or herbaceous plants. But we never learn… We bought 1250 Crocus for the magic terrace garden last year, were fed up by the end of planting them, but really needed the same again since we only covered half the area, so you rarely get things right. And time rarely seems on your side either does it?

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