Friday, 31 July 2015

Valentine with Snowdrops (Grækkebrev med vintergækker)

 Friends were visiting on the weekend and I was casually (although with a little pride, let’s be honest) pointing out 2 kinds of crocus and a double snowdrop (Galanthus, above (single form)) flowering in troughs near the front door as they were leaving. Suddenly my Danish friend had a wave of nostalgia – for the Danish custom Grækkebrev med vintergækker (Valentines with Snowdrops). If I have this right, you send your anonymous handmade card (cut-out decoratively and with verse, below), snowdrop flower (vintergæk) inside, to your valentine and if they have not guessed the sender (whose name is made out in pinpricks) by Easter...they must provide you with an Easter egg.
(And so on this cold morning I am making a Grækkebrev med vintergækker for my friend. I hope I have done it correctly.)
`Come with me’ I ordered my friend, to where I had a few snowdrops (single Galanthus) flowering. Armed with only a trowel, I found them a little hard to dig up, only managing to find one bulb; but I didn’t pick up the spade for a reason: it scares people off. `Oh no, don’t worry’ says one friend, or another:`I can’t admire anything, you always want to dig up a bit for me’. Well, yes, it’s a magic pudding (usually). Why wouldn’t you share?
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria. (

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