I've always loved snowdrops, but I had no idea until quite recently that there were so many varieties or that the rarer kind could make so very much money. Single bulbs, seemingly, can sell on eBay for more than £200! There have been comparisons with the eighteenth century Tulip Fever.
Scotland's gardens are rich in snowdrops and there are 'snowdrop festivals' all over the country. There are winter flowering snowdrops and summer flowering snowdrops and everything in between. Culzean Castle is our local snowdrop haven. You can wander for miles, and enjoy the sight of masses of these lovely little flowers, among the sheltered woodlands, along the shore. Later, they give place to wood anemones, daffodils and then bluebells and violets and primroses. Tantalising even to write it. Having had an appallingly icy November and December with plenty of real snow, we're now experiencing much milder, wetter weather. Long may it continue. It seems to have encouraged the birds to start staking out their territories, and the many bulbs I planted last autumn, in the pots outside the window, to poke their heads out - and a few brave snowdrops to start blooming. We do wonder, though, if we have seen the last of the snow. We doubt it. How could we be so lucky. And our venerable old apple tree at the bottom of the garden never ventures a blossom or a leaf before May!
All of this, though, goes to explain why I much prefer January and February to November. November is the wrong side of the year and thoroughly depressing. After all the Christmas decorations are cleared away for another year, I always go out and buy some spring flowers, pots of hyacinths (which tend to be 'half price' in our Supermarkets after Christmas) and primulas and narcissi, as well as bunches of early tulips - possibly my favourite flower of all time. And here in Scotland, by the end of January, you notice a very definite lengthening of the days, which is always good for the soul!
It's time, as well, for me to reactivate my eBay shop. I didn't do much over Christmas, having too much other writing - and entertaining - to do. But there's something about the sight of those white snowdrops, and the sight of all that lovely, clean, white linen, piling up in my cupboard, that makes me want to get started again!