There's some lovely little bulbs that flower in winter - or they do in our Mediterranean climate. This is where I go from relishing the `coolth' (come on, that should be a word!) in the Dandenong Ranges (and tulips do well here, how lucky am I?) to admitting that, yes, I'm really in the foothills so it's pretty warm really, much like Melbourne in the summer months.
So we have Cyclamen coum and Galanthus (above) amongst the bulbs, Garrya and daphne amongst the shrubs, hellebores and Euphorbia `Rudolf' amongst the perennials and heck of a lot of wildflowers, too, blooming through the coldest months. The floral wattage is never turned off.
So why am I thrilled by this tiny pot of petite snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii `Sam Arnott')? Especially this year; the autumn warmth has resulted in some spring flowers out now, some roses are still blooming, salvias still covered in bright colour and of course lots of hellebores are putting out fat buds too.
It's a petite flower so lovers of large blooms may not `get' this.
I love small flowers and I'm often interested to see if people fall into the large bloom group (my sister) or small flower group (me and my mother); large clematis/ camellia/ gladiolus (what I call huge or blousy or unsubtle and usually hideous, to be honest) or a person may be in the small flower group: small clematis/ camellia/ species gladiolus (what I call subtle or sweet and they call boring or insignificant - what are you growing that for? Do you want a bit? No!).
Also I've never experienced a British winter, the real thing, where you relish coloured bark, and a tiny bulb like this snowdrop is (more) understandably greeted with joy.
Why am I pleased as punch?
One of those inexplicable things?
But joyous, all the same.
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 (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)