Sunday, 17 February 2008

Snowdrops, snowdrops everywhere but…

…not in my garden! Okay hands up, I have been useless at planting bulbs for years. This is probably due to a few factors the most likely cause being that I move my plants around a lot. The bulbs then end up deeper in the ground and never see the light of day again.

Ah, but I have got around this now with two ’Shirl-friendly’ ways of planting bulbs – but I’ll keep that for my next post. Snowdrops are one of the most common bulbs growing in a typical Scottish garden and I do plan to try growing them again for next year. For the moment though I will share some images from outside my garden.

The Scottish Snowdrop Festival began on February 1st and continues until March 16th and this is its second year. However, my visit today was to Dalmeny Park in South Queensferry (a 45 minute walk from under the Forth Rail Bridge) which has opened one Sunday in February for many years now. I have been before although that was a few years ago now.

The walk from South Queensferry seemed a good idea at the start. It was a nice day. However I had not walked this route before and hadn’t realised how long it would take – nor how steep the walk would be! Yep, I really think I should have been in training for this walk. So… some time later I found myself walking past the cars that were queuing to get parked. Walking was a good idea after all – I found an extra spring in my step as I walked past the cars!

‘Suitable for agile walkers’ the sign with the arrow read when I finally came to the woodland path that led to the snowdrops. Up the path I went, as did other visitors although a few people perhaps shouldn’t have. The positive side of this walk today was that the ground was a little damp but not wet. Good job as I chose not to wear my wellies!

Gosh, I had no idea the climb lasted so long. I stopped a few times to catch my breath under the pretence that I was admiring the view – yeh right! If I hadn’t already walked up a hill to get this far it would have been quite a different visit. Oh I hoped this walk was worth it. Finally I came over the brow of a hill and there they all were! Thousands of tiny white bells greeted me by gently nodding in answer to my question. Yes, yes it was worth it! Lots of other people stopped for a moment too joining me in reaching for cameras in their bags and pockets.

Down then up again, twisting and turning the winding paths went. Snowdrops were above my head height on one side and below my feet and out into the distance on the other. Mossy rocks and branches added colour to the darker setting of the woodland with rusty brown leaves on the ground. Oh, I love woodland walks.

The lighting throughout my walk varied a great deal as the tree canopies above opened and closed. The woodland floor went from enclosed to open too creating a wonderful atmosphere which was also enhanced by the variety of people that were taking this walk too. The woodland was alive but not with wildlife but with the chatter of people out on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

I took a different route back to South Queensferry choosing to walk along the road by the River Forth. I walked under the Forth Rail Bridge and straight to a restaurant for a coffee and well earned seat by a warm wood burning stove. Ah yes, I really should plant wonderful drifts of snowdrops in my garden for next year – I really should!

All photos above were taken at Dalmeny Park on February 17th 2008.

25 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl it looks like it was well worth the walk. I can't imagine so many snowdrops. A beautiful sight no doubt. They make my little clump look pitaful. ha.. I might even be inspired to plant some more next fall. Thanks for the tour. You deserve a big cup of coffee after this walk.

jodi said...

OOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhh! Shirl, those are just awesome even if they weren't in your garden. I can't imagine seeing so many galanthus all at once--and the fragrance must have been exquisite!

Vanillalotus said...

Wow that is breath taking. I wish I could be able to see that. That would be well worth a strenuous walk. I've never seen so many.

mon@rch said...

I have never seen so many snowdrops in my life! WOW! . . . No really WOW!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That is so amazing! I can't imagine beholding such a magnificent sight. Yea, I'd say that was worth the walk.

Anna--Flowergardengil said...

I've never seen anything like that--awesome. And they smell good too? I would probably cry. I cry everytime I get in a situation like that. It's like my senses get in overload and tears flow easily. Heck, I almost cried looking at the pics.

Mad Man Bamboo said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the walk.

Sean

Frances said...

Shirl, that is the most fantastic sight ever! Kudos for making the walk and bringing your camera, to share with us this magnificent vision. It is like a dream!

Frances at Faire Garden

Jayne said...

Looks like something out of a fairy tale! Meadows and meadows of flowers.... see any fairies? :c)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Glorious snowdrops and zillions of them! What a wonderful sight Shirl! That was certainly worth that steep climb! :-)

BTW did you know that a Dutch garden travel agency organises a Snowdrop trip to Scotland every year?

Melanie Vassallo said...

Shirl, what a wonderful, beautiful post about a woodland walk. You make me want to run outside right now and go for a walk through the woods too but there are no snow drops here yet.

Thanks so much for the breathtaking photos.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa, Jodi, Vanillalotus, Tom, Robin, Anna, Frances, Jayne, Yolanda and Melanie and Hello Sean :-)

Gosh everyone, I really didn’t expect this response :-D

Lisa – I had taken this walk before so I did have an idea what to expect. However, sometimes past images change with time but this definitely didn’t. I clearly remembered the image of (the good part) seeing snowdrops but forgot completely about the walk! You are welcome – I am delighted to be able to share my visit. Yes, the coffee at the end was very enjoyable :-D

Jodi – I remember the first time I every saw this sight and I was completely blown away! I also thought I remembered seeing labels naming the different varieties but I didn’t see any this time. Funnily enough, I don’t remember smelling the fragrance perhaps as I was walking amongst lots of other people. I had promised myself a return visit here for a number of years now but rain and other factors made that not possible. When the weather was fine this year I was determined to go – and I am so glad I did :-D

Vanillalotus – It really is, it really is! It was definitely worth the walk and the photos I posted were not the only ones I took. There were many, many more snowdrops than my photos showed :-D

Tom – I agree this was definitely one of those ‘WOW’ moments :-D

Robin – Amazing, incredible so many words could describe the sight but funnily enough I heard young children running past me kidding their parents saying ‘Where are the snowdrops? I don’t see any’. An ‘Are we there moment’ I thought to myself at the time’ :-D

Anna – thinking about this image I would compare it to seeing open hillsides completely covered in purple flowering heather. As I said above I didn’t notice the scent but I am sure it was there. I could easily understand how a sight like this could be an emotional one!

Sean – Thank-you and you are very welcome. I love your bamboo pics BTW :-D

Frances – I am so glad you and everyone else enjoyed seeing this sight so much! I had always planned to return to this walk and definitely with a camera as I didn’t have one with me the first time I saw this amazing sight. You are quite correct it was like something out of a dream :-D

Jayne – I can completely see your thinking. Even more like a fairytale there was actually a ruined stone building too with snowdrops all around it but it was difficult getting close for photos – there could easily have been fairies hiding in there :-D

Yolanda – It was quite a wonderful sight and once I got my camera out I soon forgot about the climb for a while! Gosh I had no idea that tours came to see the snowdrops in Scotland but I do know that tours leave Scotland to see the Dutch bulb fields every year :-D

Melanie – Thank-you, I am delighted you enjoyed my walk. Perhaps soon you will be able to see snowdrops in woods near you. Thank-you, I am thrilled that you and everyone else has enjoyed my photos so much :-D

Diana said...

Shirl - this was my first visit to your site and you've captured the most amazing photos to share with us. The way you caught all the nuances in the lighting is beautiful. I'm sure this long trek was well worth is and even more stunning in person. I'll be back lots to visit.

fluffywelshsheep said...

your pictures are lovely :)

shirl said...

Hi there, Diana and fws :-)

Diana – Thank-you for visiting! The trek was definitely worth it and yes the sight was also much more stunning in person. However, I do have my photos and I am delighted that you enjoyed seeing them :-D

Fluffy welsh sheep – Thank-you and thanks for visiting too :-D

Kerri said...

Shirl, thanks so much for sharing these gorgeous photos. What a glorious sight! The drifts of snowdrops must seem like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...well worth the effort, I'm sure.
Sounds to me like a very pleasant way to burn calories :)

Chris said...

WOW a carpet of snowdrops is certainly apt here. I have never seen so many, just beautiful!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Wow! I have never seen pictures of Snowdrops so thick on the ground, much less seen them in person. How fantastic! (Can you tell I like Snowdrops?) Someday, I'll get my husband to take me to Scotland for this while we're tracing his roots.

Pam/Digging said...

So that's how they're meant to look. They do look like snow covering the ground. Beautiful!

Entangled said...

Wow, what beautiful pictures! That must have been breathtaking (in more ways than one) in person.

Barbara said...

Boooaaah! How beautiful all those snowdrops! I'm really overwhelmed! I never saw so many on one place!

shirl said...

Hi there, Kerri, Chris, Mr McGregor’s Daughter, Pam, Entangled and Barbara :-)

Kerri – I am only too delighted that I can share my images with you all! It was a glorious sight to finally walk over the last hill and see snowdrops go on and on. It was indeed worth the effort :-D

Chris – It was indeed like a carpet and I too have never seen so many either :-D

Mr McGregor’s Daughter – These snowdrops were pretty thick on the ground but in some areas they just trickled round trees like an artist had placed them! If you like snowdrops February would be a good month to visit Scotland and I do hope manage one day :-D

Pam – They were beautiful and from some viewpoints they did look exactly like a covering of snow :-D

Entangled – Thank-you, yes I was a little out of breath when I finally got to the brow of the hill but the sight of thousands of snowdrops more than made up for it :-D

Barbara – I also have never seen so many in one place. I am so glad you enjoyed seeing them too :-D

Crafty Green Poet said...

Stunning photos, we should go there for snowdrop viewing too! We went to Cammo Country Park, just outside Edinburgh and the snowdrops were lovely, specially in the walled garden.

shirl said...

Hi again, Juliet :-)

Thank-you! I have only seen the snowdrops at Dalmeny (twice now) so I should try somewhere different next time too – although Dalmeny has to have a return visit if you go! Glad you enjoyed Cammo :-D

My issue with walking from the front at SQ was time. I was dropped off and didn’t realise how long it would take! I will know again and not need to rush :-D

Gotta Garden said...

Oh, oh, oh, oh, OH!!! Well, here I am...a year late! Shirl, this is so utterly amazing...I think they might have asked me to leave (hehe) as I would have simply squealed with delight! This Scotland festival is on my bucket list for sure!

(But, I'll brush up on my walking...thanks for the heads up!)

Thank you for pointing me here!