A snowdrop walk in Fife

Snowdrops in Balbirnie Park.

snowdrops, Balbirnie Park, Fife

I spoke to an elderly man who told me that these snowdrops were grown commercially originally and as a young lad he had picked them and packed them into boxes for sale in the cities. The Victorian estate is probably why there was a railway station nearby.

snowdrops, Balbirnie Park, Fife


snowdrops , Balbirnie Park, Fife

There are several places advertising snowdrop walks, in rural estates where you have to pay for the privilege, but there is probably somewhere near you where you can admire the snowdrops for free. Within Fife in the east of Scotland there are swathes of snowdrops in Falkland, Glenrothes and Balbirnie Park. Unfortunately the snowdrops don’t look great in these photos, but the burn (stream) and trees look fairly scenic.

If you look closely at the photo below you’ll see a heron, almost in the middle of it, I love those birds but a friend of mine thinks they look like vultures and can’t stand them, I think they look elegant.

heron , Balbirnie Park, Fife

Balbirnie has some great trees in it, even some redwoods, but some haven’t survived.

Balbirnie Park, Fife, trees

Sadly, with all the terrible storms we’ve had to endure this winter there were also quite  a few trees which had been blown over. The saddest one is in the photo below, I think it was a beech tree, going from the smoothness of the trunk, but it’s hard to tell when there are no leaves on trees and you can’t even see the shape that it grew in. If it was a beech tree it looks like it must have been between 150 and 200 years old, beech trees tend to fall over after 200 years anyway. It damaged some other trees on the way down,  but bizarrely it landed across the length of what was a lovely wee stone  bridge, and is now blocking it completely, I’m just amazed that the bridge hasn’t collapsed under the immense weight of the tree, but one side of it is badly damaged. It’s on council land and given the state of the budget it’s doubtful if it will ever be fixed.

fallen tree, Balbirnie Park, Fife

As you can see they have already cut up some of the tree, but maybe they are waiting for more experienced people to deal with the rest of it. It’ll be an awkward job.

fallen tree , snowdrops , stone bridge, Balbirnie, Fife

You can just see the intact side of the small bridge through the leaves in the photo above.

Balbirnie Park, fallen tree, Fife

So many trees are lost with every storm we get, and as this winter they’ve been coming at the rate of two a week at times, it’s time some serious tree replacement started.


My garden – a few weeks ago

I took these photos of the plants that were beginning to wake up after a long , seemingly never ending winter – where I live anyway.

The lungwort below, or pulmonaria if you want the fancy name looks delicate but it had been flowering for weeks when this photo was taken.

lungwort, my garden

Instead of multiplying as I had hoped, only two of my ‘Joyce’ dwarf irises appeared.
dwarf Iris 'Joyce'

As you can see I still have quite a bit of tidying up to do, the weeds seem to grow all through the winter.

Rockery, my garden

Snowdrops, my garden

You can just see a glimpse of purple/lilac to the left of the snowdrops below, that’s a heather just beginning to flower.
aSnowdrops 2

Since taking these photos the forsythia has started to flower, and it looks like the plum tree won’t be far behind, however our weather is going to get really cold overnight again. It’s tough being a gardener in Scotland!

Spring flowers in my garden

As the weather has been unseasonally mild I’ve been able to potter around in the garden a bit earlier than usual. I have no illusions that this is the end of winter for us though as we’re more likely to get snow at Easter than at Christmas, but the spring flowers are loving the weather and the snowdrops have been blooming for ages now. The ones that I transplanted for the wedding decorations are over and done now, they didn’t like being taken indoors.


These crocuses adored the sunshine. I’d never seen them open so far before.

Some of the wedding decoration snowdrops – below.
The miniature daffodils have survived the rough winds we’ve been having over the past few days.
miniature daffodils

miniature daffodil

miniature daffodils

The purple haze behind the daffodils below is a spring flowering heather, so the garden is beginning to look quite cheerful again, but I’m not going to clear all of the winter detritus away until I’m sure that the cold weather has gone. All those dead bits of last year’s plants help to protect them from frosts which I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of.
miniature daffodils

Spring garden in Fife, Scotland

It seemed like Spring arrived early this year with everything beginning to bloom sooner than expected. Well it has mainly been a very mild winter with very little in the way of snow, and what we did get melted very quickly.


The crocuses above are multiplying each year, but they only look their best when the sun is shining on them. Typically we got the heaviest of snow after everything began to flower and I thought that the delicate snowdrops, aconites and primulas would be flattened, but they’re not as fragile as they look.

When warmish weather appeared after that I had intended to get stuck into the garden and clear away the winter debris, but suddenly the wind seemed to be coming from Siberia again and it was just too cold to brave it. I can’t wait to start gardening again though.

The winter aconites below are already seeding themslves around the garden, I always feel so lucky when that happens, flowers for free, just because they’re happy.

The clump of primulas below really needs to be split up, I must remember to do it when they stop flowering, which probably won’t be for another month or two. They’re such good value.


I’m never sure if my hellebores below are Christmas roses or Lenten roses as they always flower in between the two festivals.

Isn’t the snowdrop below a beauty? They’re clumping up nicely but this one below seems to be a bit of a loner, splendid in its isolation. It reminds me of a wind turbine, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, as I happen to think that wind turbines look elegant.


Last week I received my free tree and dog rose seeds from The Woodland Trust in the post, and they’re germinating already. Exciting times! I’ll keep you posted on their development.

Snowdrops at Balbirnie

We drove all the way to Cambo on the north-east tip of Fife at the weekend to buy some snowdrops, the Cambo estate is famous for them, but we declined to pay the £5 each which they were charging people to take a walk around the woods there. As I said to Jack, it might be exciting if you live far from woods, but 10 months ago we moved out of town and now have woods right on our doorstep. As you can see here.

snowdrops 1

We hadn’t been for a walk through the woods for a couple of weeks as during the really cold frosty weather and snow we cut across the golf course on our morning walk for the paper, there were no golfers to get in the way of, mind you they don’t mind if you do go that way, so long as you wait for them to whack their ball.

snowdrops 2

So it was a surprise to us when we walked in the woods a couple of days ago and lo and behold – there are snowdrifts of snowdrops in our local woods too. They aren’t open yet, it must be a bit colder at Balbirnie than it is at Cambo, that makes sense as Cambo is close to the coast.

snowdrops 3

But they were a nice surprise because I had thought that Balbirnie Woods were just well known for rhododendrons.

snowdrops 4

If you click on the photos you can see them a bit bigger, but the snowdrops are really too wee to make much of an impact, they’re just a lovely sign of the spring to come really.

Below is the pot of snowdrops which I bought at Cambo, a mixture of two different types, I hope they multiply in my garden.


This is the aconite I also bought.


Roll on spring!

Galanthus leocojum – snowdrops

I bought these snowdrops (in the green) at Cambo estate in north-east Fife a few years ago and they had been multiplying but this year only these two have appeared. I’m surprised that they didn’t succumb to some kind of rot mind you as the ground has been sodden more often than not in the past year.


As you can see these snowdrops are quite different from the ones you normally see. They are a lot bigger too, these are about five inches tall. You’re probably thinking – look at the state of her garden, it’s full of last year’s leaves . I’ve cleared up about half of them but I like to leave some for the blackbirds to have some fun with. They love to throw the dead leaves about in the hope of finding something yummy underneath, hopefully slugs or slaters, both of which are too plentiful for my liking. I’m not sure if that’s the best strategy as it might mean that beasties have a better chance of breeding like crazy and hiding from birds, but anyway, it’s my excuse – and I’m sticking to it!


I’ve just realised that not everyone will know what I mean by slaters – it’s Scots for woodlice. No, I’m not going to take a photo of them – they make me shudder!



These are the snowdrops which I bought a couple of years ago at the Cambo Estate at Kingsbarns near St Andrews. They’re much bigger than the bog-standard Galanthus and so beautiful, they look like they’ve been painted by fairies.

They’re beginning to multiply and are spreading around the garden too and it hasn’t half cheered me up to see them again. After such an early start to the winter with the snow hitting us at least a month before it usually does these are proof that the worst is over.

Mind you, that could be famous last words because we often get snow around about Easter time!


You wouldn’t believe from looking at this blog that gardening is my main hobby. It certainly hasn’t featured much and that is mainly because the weather has been so awful, even the so called summer didn’t make an appearance for the third year. But for the first time since before Christmas we are without a hard frost – for three days in a row – amazing. It’s beginning to feel a bit like spring but I reckon my garden is about six weeks behind where it should be.

There isn’t much sign of life except for the beautiful snowdrops which we bought ‘in the green’ from the Cambo Estate at Kingsbarns near St Andrews. I’ve planted lots of snowdrop bulbs before but they always failed to come up. Someone told me that mice eat the dry bulbs. The Cambo snowdrops are really unusual ones and they are actually multiplying in our garden, which is a great bonus.

Cambo is well worth a visit if you enjoy plants and woodland walks.

The photos in this post are from my own garden.