Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wet, wet, wet..............

Back in Cornwall and it's still raining and windy. There are lots of trees down in the lanes and roads after last night's gale but, serenaded by the buzz of many chainsaws, things are getting back to normal as the worst of the weather seems to be over. But not before we've lost a few tiles off the roof which will necessitate some repairs.

A recent report in The Times claims that the average rainfall in the UK for January at 185 mm was the highest since records began a couple of centuries ago. That's a lot of water but not as much as the 300.2 mm our Parish Weatherman recorded for the same period proving, if proof were needed, that Cornwall is a wet place!

Notwithstanding the lousy weather, Spring is definitely here and we are seeing a little colour in the garden from a few flowers. Growth will accelerate from now on and we are heading into the very best period for our patch - it's definitely a Spring garden.
Our snowdrops are doing well this year and we've got patches all over the place. Only one variety at the moment but I think we'll remedy that at some stage. Although it is often thought of as a British native wild flower, or to have been brought to the British Isles by the Romans, it was probably introduced around the early sixteenth century. And, as it interests me, its Latin name, Galanthus, means 'milk flower'. Another fact for galanthophiles: the name snowdrop does not mean “drop”, as in drop of water, it means drop as in eardrop – the old word for earings.
Our garden seems to be ia good place for Hellebores (aka Christmas rose or Lenten rose) and they are just starting to flower. An interesting plant in that its sepals form the 'flower' and that's the reason they last for so long - they don't don't drop off as petals would.  The actual petals are modified to hold nectar and are the small cup-like structures seen around the centre.
That's it: three pathetic daffodils and they are still in bud. But there are several hundred more to come (assuming they all come up, which is not a given because of the extremely wet Winter we've just had).
The first of our white Hellebores. I knew that the plant is highly toxic but I didn't know that it is one of the four classic poisons, together with nightshade, hemlock, and aconite.  In fact, the name hellebore comes from the Greek “elein” meaning to injure, and “bora” meaning food.

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