We are always thrilled when Harry Pierik, one of our favorite Dutch garden designers, writes a guest post. His ‘Hidden City Garden’ is mesmerizing. To learn more about Harry, visit his website. Fran Sorin
“Snowdrops are coming.
Until now, it is a mild winter in our “Hidden City garden”
Still some kinds of plants are blooming , winter bloomers in abundance and the season of the snowdrops is dawning.
It’s time to prepare.
Photo above ~ Small deepened path to the second part of the “Hidden City Garden” to the lawn and the flower borders. In the background to the left of the centre you can see the brown branches of the bushes which are in the border, however the snowdrops on the ground are not yet visible from here.
First we take a retrospect to Autumn. The border is still a colorful sight with flowering perennials and shrubs.
About mid-December, many plants are brown and frayed and when the stems snap, it’s time to clean up the flower borders and prepare the arrival of snowdrops. In our garden the snowdrops grow in the flower borders instead of in the lawn, so first of all we have to create space. Pieces of- and dead plants perennials are cut and removed. The shrubs are pruned in shape and the flowerbed is gently raked.
Helleborus need to be cut back so that the new flowers and leaves are not masked by the previous season’s remains. Especially because the old leaves are very often affected by fungal diseases. These leaves don’t go to the compost heap, but disappear into the bin. Besides you make space for the snowdrops which otherwise languish in the shadow of the leaves of the Helleborus.
All the other material not affected by diseases goes to the compost heap. If the soil is clean new compost is spread over the soil so that the soil is pretty dark and contrasts with the emerging snowdrops. More importantly, the annual new layer of compost stimulates the soil life. This will not only develop snowdrops but also the other bulbs, perennials and shrubs in the border develop well. So applying a layer of mulch is both beautiful and practical, a golden combination.
Depending on how the winter goes, there will be more and more snowdrops in bloom.
In late February, early March, the flower beds are dotted with thousands of snowdrops. There are over 200 different varieties in the garden. The first bloom in late December, following by some in January and most of them in February, March. Top left you just see the large leaf of the Rhododendron rex. Front left of center flowers the Helleborus thibetanus.
Now wait awhile until the sun is shining and then the snowdrops open. ”
Harry’s previous articles can be read by clicking on: