Friday 4 February 2022

To a snowdrop

For much of today we had cold rain here. Rumour has it, it even snowed in Bury St Edmunds, 16 miles distant. Further afield, in Long Melford, the appearance of snowdrops was a source of justifiable excitement. This is the time to recall William Wordsworth's poem To a snowdrop. Daffodils more famously have their place of course, but not yet.

Flowers of Hope: Snowdrops in Long Melford today.

To a snowdrop                                       by William Wordsworth

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!

The rain provided an opportunity to stay under cover to sow aubergines ('Moneymaker'), chillies ('Demetra'; 'Long Slim'; 'Hungarian Hot Wax'; and 'Early Jalapeno') and sweet peppers ('Beauty Bell'). Tomatoes can wait until March. These all benefit from a long growing season so its good to get them started early. I sow them in seed trays placed in a heated propagator (I have two). This is the simplest of devices, providing a little bottom heat which is enough to improve the speed of germination and the rate of germination. An annual task which is another harbinger of Spring, despite today's weather.

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