Yesterday we actually enjoyed a couple of hours of early morning sunshine….nice to know that the sun is still up there. We also knew that it wouldn’t see the day out. It didn’t and what has become the norm for this winters weather returned….rain, dark grey clouds and a creeping cold.
But there are some small signs that Spring is on the way….our first Snowdrops are thrusting themselves out of the damp soil. No massed displays yet…. but just a few appetisers of what is to come. Soon be February 🙂
(C) David Oakes 2020
The Snowdrop Woodlands at Hopton Hall, Derbyshire
Mid February, with local temperatures rising to 13c plus, and gorgeous sunshine and blue skies, you could be fooled into thinking that Spring has actually arrived.
May be it is too soon to brag about this wonderful weather..… but certainly not to soon to take a walk through the woods at Hopton Hall. It is a visual feast and a welcome sight after the darker winter days. The woodland is mainly Beech, which despite their lack of leaves, cast long shadows of the white carpets spread below. So join us for a peaceful stroll…
Hopton Hall dates back to the 1400. It is now in private ownership. Over the past few years they have restored, and added to, the gardens and woodlands that surround the Hall. Wildlife is being attracted to a number of ponds and a larger lake. The woods look carefully managed. Apart from the woodland walks through the snowdrops, a Rose Garden with terraces, summer house and topiary is being restored to its former glory.
Even though it is February and the Roses a long long way from flowering, the Rose Garden, in its winter clothes is still well worth exploring (and a note in the Diary to revisit in July or August)…. and from the Rose Terraces it is a short stroll down to the Lakes.
So a summer treat to come….but right now in the February sun it is the Snowdrops that are the real treat….
(C) David Oakes 2019
Snowdrops strong and well
We have had a real mix of weather this last two weeks. On the 22nd February I posted some images of the Snowdrops in Shipley Woods. Glorious as they were I felt that I had timed my visit whilst they were still displaying well….though some blooms were just turning brown at the edges. Since then we have gales, rains, thick frosts and of course snow. Snow that covered these snowdrops in a thick blanket. The thaw is now well set in and the snow all but gone, so I was surprised to find that instead of suffering, the snow seems to have had a refreshing effect….the carpet of white standing fresh, proud and white once more as you can witness above.
But Snowdrops have caught the artistic imagination for centuries. This Victorian Greetings Card published by Raphael Tuck and Sons is one such example. The company always looked at ways of maximising sales….so this card was printed with various messages on the reverse. Christmas Greetings, Everyday Best Wishes and also in this case Easter Greetings… 3 sales from one design.
Card from David Oakes Card Collection
(C) David Oakes 2018
This Oak has stood for over 1000 years and its all seeing eye has seen storms, and much else, come and go. In a welcome and sunny break between the storms it was good to explore the woods to see how they faired. In parts the strong winds seemed to have acted like a vacuum removing all the ground clutter and leaving a relatively clear woodland floor……
Elsewhere the ravages of those winds are clear to see with broken branches…..
and up-rooted trees…….
More storms are forecast but for now it is great to enjoy the early morning sunshine as it creates a warming glow silhouetting the this Yew with a spring like feel….
But the real surprise and a welcome bonus to the morning was the discovery of this clump of Wild Snowdrops hiding safely away below some wild brambles……
Spring may well be on its way!
© David Oakes 2014