Dreaming of flowers

The snow piles around my driveway have melted a bit. I can see over them now!

I have to work at it, but I do imagine there is grass under there somewhere. And flower bulbs…

I’m not seeing them yet, of course, but crocuses are the first thing to bloom in my yard. There are just a few, as chipmunks ate most of the 200+ bulbs I planted soon after moving into the house. After the first few years, I stopped bothering with tulips. The deer eat them as soon as they bloom, leaving sad, green, headless stalks behind. Since then I rely on my daffodils and grape hyacinths for spring cheer.

While I wait, I’ve been browsing pictures of flowers in England, where the season is more advanced. My Regencies often start in the spring, although it’s not because of the London Season. I’ve never written a “London Season” story—maybe because there have been so many of them and I have not thought of a fresh take on the subject. Instead, my characters are usually in the countryside for one reason or another. These are a few early flowers they might enjoy.

Snowdrops in England

Snowdrops (galanthus nivalis) are some of the earliest bloomers. The National Trust and volunteers planted 100,000 of them last fall in Manchester to honor the centenary of the First World War. Check out these pictures of the Manchester snowdrops.

English Heritage lists these sites for snowdrop spotting, with some lovely pictures forvirtual tourists like me.

Primrose - Primula vulgaris growing in Beech woodlandAnother common flower I enjoyed seeing while I lived in the UK is the common or English primrose (primula vulgaris). I did not know it at the time, but it is an edible plant; the leaves can be used to make tea and flowers for wine.

For more lovely garden images, check out the current flowering conditions at Exbury Gardens, which I visited many years ago. Here’s a picture of Exbury a bit later in the season, when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom.

Exbury Gardens - Colours of a Japanese style garden in autumn.Do you have favorite gardens to visit? What’s in your garden? Feel free to share pictures if you have something in bloom already—I promise not to be too jealous!


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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6 Responses to Dreaming of flowers

  1. Elena, I’m with you –can’t wait for spring! Still lots of snow here, though thank goodness for all that has melted this week. I love the spring flowers -snowdrops, and English primroses, especially. Snowdrops always make me think of the very first time I visited England, and how surprised I was to see them there –in January!! Months earlier than we get them here in New England.
    Yay! Just heard a piece of ice dam fall off my roof as I typed this. Spring IS coming –soon!!

  2. Ki Pha says:

    Oh, I love flowers! Sadly I haven’t been to many of the gardens in my state but I know we have great ones here.
    As for my garden, I’m hoping to get a chance to garden, though it’s very unlikely I will. But I will definitely be buying new seeds and maybe plant then in a pot. What I’m going for are Blue Bells/morning glories!

    • Elena Greene says:

      Oh, I love blue bells. When I was in England I was fortunate enough to be able to walk in woods in April that were carpeted with them. The smell was heavenly! I hope to try them in the woods behind my house sometime.

  3. I am keeping an eye out for rhododendron blooms and all of my Spring bulbs. I don’t want them to bloom just yet as we always get a bitterly cold snap around Easter and I don’t want it to kill my flowers! I am beyond tired of Winter, but I don’t want to go straight to Summer, which is rather what we did last year here in Alabama. I would like a little Spring weather to enjoy!

    • Elena Greene says:

      Oh, I know about those abrupt transitions! Some years we have them even in upstate New York. One week my daffodils are blooming, next week it’s 80 degrees and they are all wilting. That’s one thing I loved while living in England. Spring was very gradual and between early and late flowering bulbs, one could enjoy the show for a nice long time.

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