Bella’s dividing snowdrops and bringing Spring into the kitchen.


This weekend, even though the wind had a cruel, bitter chill to it, I was determined to get outside amongst the snowdrops. The short flowering period of this delicately beautiful (once cultivated) now wild flower, at such a bleak time of year, makes it incredibly special. Snowdrops seem to really thrive here at Walnuts Farm, and with careful division of the bulbs and re-planting over the last few years, we have managed to populate large swathes of the front meadow and woodland area alongside the track with these uplifting little plants.  However, rather like unruly children, snowdrops don’t always grow where you want them, and on Saturday I saw that many had up sticks and migrated to fill the damp ditches along our boundary, probably spread by seed.

I decided to view this act of freewill as an opportunity to bring some of this outdoor beauty indoors and create a natural tablescape of snowdrops and moss for the kitchen. I never thought it was possible to bring snowdrops into the warmth of the home but I was inspired to see it in action at Daylesford farm during a quick visit ‘up country’ during half term. My plan is to re-plant the snowdrop bulbs outside once the little flowers have faded, and populate even more of our ‘wild’ areas with the flowers.

So, full of enthusiasm I set about filling my large creamware pan which in summer and autumn is brimming with fresh vegetables, but is currently looking less than abundant with just a few loose onion skins, garlic bulbs, dried chillies and a half-used piece of ginger rattling about at the bottom. I filled the pan with some potting compost, and divided up the clumps of snowdrop bulbs, packing them in quite closely together. In nature, they seem to enjoy this companionship and are rarely seen growing alone. I then filled the gaps with damp moss which I peeled from our clay roof tiles on the bread oven – very satisfying as the moss comes away in big slabs. I packed the moss around the flowers to help retain moisture as snowdrops like rich, damp conditions and sprayed the whole thing with water before carrying it indoors. A truly gratifying, simple pleasure…

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