In mid to late February as we are reaching the end of the winter season, life in and on the ground begins to stir and rise. Snowdrops are perhaps the most noticeable signal that the life cycle is beginning anew. But, however wonderful the purity of white snowdrops, it is also a surprise to note the colourful range and variety of plants that are also out in flower at this time of year especially in our gardens; but only if you are interested and inspired enough to seek them out.
A good example and a place to start on this intriguing journey is the delightful nursery called Cotswold Garden Flowers, to be found on the edge of Badsey, a small village set within the lovely Worcestershire landscape.
You will need your best navigational skills or a good SatNav to find it as you meander through the village maze, taking left turns here and right turns there convincing yourself that you must be lost – but then finally as the road peters out altogether and becomes a stony track you find, with relief, that you have arrived.
Bob Brown who set up and runs the nursery, is an expert plantsman and gives informative and entertaining talks too. Plants to him are akin to people they have their good points, their weak points and their quirky points – he knows and notices them all.
He has a team of helpers who he has trained up to give advice and sometimes they may alternate with Bob to give an equally wonderful talk. The photo below was from a talk by Mandie that I attended in February last year.
The format of the talks is based on a theme, but the substance is generated from the plants that are collected from around the nursery on the day and so they are always tied to a particular seasonal moment.
Bob is a plantaholic, he seeks out the unusual; but he also likes to rate his plants from a practical perspective. His website and nursery catalogue give more useful information about the technical aspects of planting and growing – such as soil preferences or hardiness ratings.
Talking of hardiness if you go in the winter months when it is cold it’s advisable to wrap up warm as the talk takes place in an underheated room – but there is warmth in the welcome and friendliness of the people you meet and also the coffee and homemade cakes which are delicious.
You can just turn up to a talk, but it’s better and more polite to book a place as the seating is limited.
SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Link to Cotswold Garden Flowers website:
Find out more about the wild clematis vitalba:
Donovan (b-1946) Scottish born singer-songwriter and guitarist, sings his own folk influenced composition ‘The Lullaby of Spring’ from his double album ‘A Gift from a Flower to a Garden’ released in 1967.