Snowdrops and Skiing

Posted in All posts, March, on

It’s that time of year when the green fingered are itching to get on in the garden.  There’s the odd day of warm sunshine, letting us know that Spring is just around the corner, but up here in Scotland, patience is the game. Depending on whether you have a greenhouse or polytunnel, there are some jobs that you can crack on with, but I find I’m best to wait, as I’ve been caught out before. Seeds sown in the excitement of a few warm, sunny days in February are then caught in another cold snap and end up rotting, all very disheartening and a bit of a waste. I’ve grown to accept that living in a frost pocket just means we have to be that little bit later with everything in the garden.

Thankfully the snowdrops can always be relied upon to cheer up February and into March, they are still flowering away tucked under hedgerows and in drifts in the woods along from us. We’re also lucky enough to have a national collection of snowdrops at Cambo Estate just outside St. Andrews.

As a family, we never need much of an excuse to head down to this beautiful coastal town in Fife. Moss the Black Lab is guaranteed a walk on the beach, we have a potter around the shops, enjoying a nosy in the low windows of all the quirky little houses in the lanes around the town, and generally fish and chips are on the menu too, so all in all, the perfect day out!

We headed down to St. Andrews on March 1st, officially the first day of Spring going by the meteorological calendar, but more importantly it’s my Birthday! I always feel like we’ve turned a corner when we get to March, Winter is behind us for another year, even if it is still freezing with snow on the ground, but there’s hope in the days getting longer and a little bit of warmth in the sunshine! Cambo Estate is a magical place, over 350 different varieties of Snowdrops within the gardens and woodland areas that flow gently down to the sea.

A stunning walled garden also has carpets of Snowflakes and Aconites, along with dainty collections of miniature Iris and the nodding heads of Hellebores.  Throw in masses of winter flowering shrubs, Viburnum, Daphne and Witch Hazel to name a few and you have the making of a stunning Spring garden to enjoy for the day. Given the prolonged cold spell we’ve had, the snowdrops at Cambo have lasted particularly well this year, so we enjoyed a real show of them around the estate. Thankfully we were well wrapped up as the bitter wind would have cut you in two!

One of the plus points to living this far north of the border is our proximity to the snowy hills of Glenshee. Last year I took up skiing, having been a fairly reluctant snowboarder for a number of years who’d managed to break bones while trying to master it! Swapping from one plank to two has been a huge success, no broken bones so far, and it has totally reignited my love for getting out in the hills during the winter months.

We also enjoyed a lovely week in the Alps earlier in the year (above), great snow, sunshine and some superb food and wine! I particularly enjoyed the French food, crepes, tartiflette and far too many pastries for breakfast, my excuse for over indulging that I’d burn it off on the slopes!

On our last day we enjoyed some outdoor apres ski at a lovely little bar at the bottom of the slopes, vin chaud was ordered, but with the addition of a slug of Genepi to sweeten it up a bit. Wow, it fairly packed a punch, this lovely aperitif which I’d never heard of, is made from Artemisia, commonly known as Wormwood, which is gathered from the mountain in the summer months. The flower heads are then steeped in either vodka or pure grain alcohol to make this tasty, golden hued liqueur. A bottle was swiftly purchased, wrapped in ski socks and stuffed in my ski boot to make sure it made it home safely!

So as much as we’re always reluctant to see the snow disappear and pack away the ski gear for another year, it’s always a joy to get clearing the herbaceous beds to let the spring bulbs poke through, get the tatties chitting and give the greenhouse a good spring clean. The warm days of Spring can’t come soon enough for me this year!

Thanks for reading,