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My Winter Blooms

February 10, 2020
by the gentle author

‘No enemy but winter and rough weather…’ As You Like It

Every year at this low ebb of the season, I go to Columbia Rd Market to buy potted bulbs and winter-flowering plants which I replant into my collection of old pots from the market and arrange upon the oak dresser, to observe their growth at close quarters and thereby gain solace and inspiration until my garden shows convincing signs of new life.

Each morning, I drag myself from bed – coughing and wheezing from winter chills – and stumble to the dresser in my pyjamas like one in a holy order paying due reverence to an altar. When the grey gloom of morning feels unremitting, the musky scent of hyacinth or the delicate fragrance of the cyclamen is a tonic to my system, tangible evidence that the season of green leaves and abundant flowers will return. When plant life is scarce, my flowers in pots that I bought for just a few pounds each at Columbia Rd acquire a magical allure for me, an enchanted quality confirmed by the speed of their growth in the warmth of the house, and I delight to have this collection of diverse varieties in dishes to wonder at, as if each one were a unique specimen from an exotic land.

And once they have flowered, I place these plants in a cold corner of the house until I can replant them in the garden. As a consequence, my clumps of Hellebores and Snowdrops are expanding every year and thus I get to enjoy my plants at least twice over – at first on the dresser and in subsequent years growing in my garden.

Staffordshire figure of Orlando from As You Like It

28 Responses leave one →
  1. February 10, 2020

    How lovely! I too make use of beautiful vintage pots that I find in East End charity shops.

  2. Alex Knisely permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Such lovely flowers !

    I do not know enough about photography to have an opinion on technique but the photographs that you show us here are to my eye very handsome.

  3. julia Harrison permalink
    February 10, 2020

    What an uplifting sight. Thank you for sharing your beautiful collection of blooms. I love the Staffordshire gentleman peeping out.

  4. david whittaker permalink
    February 10, 2020


  5. Prue Briggs permalink
    February 10, 2020

    How beautiful, the pots are lovely too. Such a good idea

  6. Jill Wilson permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Lovely stuff. I always buy some daffodils on Feb 1st as a cheery reminder that spring really is on the way.

    And this year I was given an amamyrillis (spelling?) for Christmas which cheered up January and you could almost see it growing it went up so fast.

  7. February 10, 2020

    “If of all worldly goods thou art bereft
    And of thy meagre store two loaves are left
    Sell one, and with the dole
    Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul”
    Don’t know who wrote that.
    Time for me to find a (blue) hyacinth!

  8. Sheila Crowson permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Very inspirational. I shall rush out to the garage to sort my charity shop pots and buy some flowering bulbs.

  9. Janet Howe permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Thank you Gentle Author . Just what I needed this Monday morning along with the sunshine .

  10. Wendy permalink
    February 10, 2020

    What a lovely thing to do. I am going to do likewise.

  11. February 10, 2020

    Hopeful signs of spring:

    “Pitchers and catchers” will soon arrive at Baseball Spring Training

    And The Gentle Author has set out his plants in beautiful arrays!

    Yet, there is a coating of fresh snow here in the Hudson River Valley today.

    Sigh. Back to the studio.

  12. Kathleen Tenney permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Thank you so much GA. Your daily posts are always enjoyed and appreciated. Today’s has lifted my spirits considerably. !

  13. Pauline Taylor permalink
    February 10, 2020

    I enjoy seeing the photos of your Winter blooms every year and, for me, there is nothing like seeing plants coming into bloom to lift the spirits. I have primroses growing in pots beside my back door, the winter jasmine has been blooming for weeks now and my neighbour is getting the full benefit of one of them, the hellebores are on bloom and, joy of joys, my akebia, which I thought had died after being blown down in a gale last year, is showing green shoots. HURRAH for Spring!

  14. El Toro permalink
    February 10, 2020

    Really enjoyed the flower photos. Made a gloomy winter day a bit brighter!

  15. February 10, 2020

    I am so unhappy for not having such a Green Thumb for those wonderful Blossings …

    Love & Peace

  16. Nina Archer permalink
    February 10, 2020

    …. thanks for cheering me up this wet ‘n windy day …

  17. February 10, 2020

    It was because of your fascinating blog posts about primula auricular that I track some down on the west coast of the United States and now propagate and sell them in my little plant nursery.

  18. February 10, 2020

    Beautiful !

  19. Kelly permalink
    February 10, 2020

    I do the very same! But could not have expressed the feeling so eloquently:)

  20. February 10, 2020

    Lovely blooms you have G.A. I am watching my ginger grow and my patchouli fail. I’m not sure if I should celebrate the new life or mourn the loss of the other ( I had such high hopes for the patchouli as it thrived all winter).

  21. February 10, 2020

    Thank you. I love flowering bulbs as a precursor to spring. I had an amaryllis which bloomed and bloomed and bloomed with double red flowers which helped make my days delightful. I have 2 daffodils blooming in my California yard. I love the fields of daffodils all over Britain, which should be out soon for your pleasure.

  22. Judith Haxton permalink
    February 11, 2020

    Food for the Soul. Thank you !!!

  23. Ana C R Quaresma permalink
    February 11, 2020

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful !!! Thank you so much for sharing. Make my Day.

  24. Ana C R Quaresma permalink
    February 11, 2020

    Beautiful, Beautiful !!! Thank you so much for sharing. Make my Day.

  25. February 11, 2020

    These Flowers and their boxes are So Beautiful!! I wish I was Better at my flowers!!!????????

  26. Kate permalink
    February 11, 2020

    Who wants unseasonal Red roses for St. Valentine when spring is on the way!

  27. February 19, 2020

    As we cope with the long haul of winter, how magical to see the blooms of spring flowers in your lovely pots……. happy to see Huguenot ones too!!

    So simple but so effective and brings happiness……thank you GA.

  28. February 24, 2020

    A simple, exercise in mindfulness. No subscription or professional input required! Thank you.

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