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After the snow has gone, March 18th

Jo Perry


Spring suffered a major setback due to the recent snowstorm commonly known as ‘the beast from the east’. Here on the coast in West Cork I think we came off very lightly. Nevertheless, we had more snow than I have ever seen since I moved here in 1989. Our grandchildren, who live in the village, were delighted, never having seen real snow before. But I was really pleased that it only lasted three or four days.


Coming so late in the winter we were lucky that we haven’t had too much damage. Crocosmia, or Montbretia as it is known here, was badly knocked back as was the Calla lily, just coming into flower against the wall along our drive. We have a lovely double flowered nasturtium ‘Hermine Grashoff’ which I thought was safe in the tunnel. It had come through the winter without a hitch but it won’t recover from this. Luckily I had taken a good few cuttings in the autumn which were also in the tunnel but safe on a heated pad under a cloche. The ground though, is still sodden from the wet winter and then the deep snow.

Just as the snow started to melt and there seemed to be a prospect of gardening again, my 90 year old mum had an accident and has been really poorly since. My sister and I are caring for her and thankfully have full support from the Community Nurses and Home Helps. But at the moment she cannot be left on her own. So, as it was my stint on Saturday I found myself desperate to find something useful to do indoors. I found a box of used plant labels, a brillo pad, and a bowl of hot water and proceeded to clean off over 600 labels ready for reuse in the coming weeks.

Yes, I did feel very virtuous but also nostalgic. I was reminded of many plants I no longer grow or have lost in the garden. How could I have forgotten the lovely little wild Californian poppy, Eschscholzia caespitose Sundew. I grew it year after year and it worked particularly well in pots directly after the tulips. Then there were tomatoes that I used to grow but have discarded in the pursuit of even more unusual varieties. Rose de Berne and St Pierre, two of the first heritage varieties that I grew and they are actually still very worthy of a place in the tunnel. And so much more. I can feel yet another seed order forming in my head.