Posted by: christinelaennec | January 31, 2011


It’s nearly February now, and everyone in Aberdeen is pointing at the sky in disbelief at 4:15 p.m.:  “Look!  It’s still light!”  We’re so pleased, you’d think we’d made this happen all by ourselves.

I always feel a sense of excitement at this time of year, because there are real and tangible signs that spring is on its way.  The other day I was lucky to be able to walk through the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens on my way to work.  The grass was crunchy with frost, but that didn’t deter some of the earliest flowers of the year:

Snowdrops and primroses (primula juliae), Cruickshank Botanical Gardens, Aberdeen. 28 January 2011.

And the cyclamen made such a vivid splash against the frosty green:

Cyclamen braving the frost, Cruickshank Botanical Gardens, Aberdeen. 28 January 2011.

Inside, we’re also looking eagerly for signs.  I do find the moment when a bud metamorphosises into a flower quite thrilling:

Waiting for the bud to burst - tête-à-tête daffodils, January.

Bulbs really are magical.  I remember planting these last November, not long before the deep-freeze set in – and here they are:

Miniature iris, crocuses and "hyacinths for the soul". Bulb bowl made by St. Andrews Pottery in Fife.

The bulb bowl was a present from our friend Caron.  It’s so beautiful that I couldn’t believe it wouldn’t be ruined by having bulbs planted in it.  And this winter I thought it would have broken in the frozen greenhouse (before I rescued the bulbs and put them in the probably-also-freezing stairwell).  But it’s survived several winters and is none the worse for it.  The colours in the glaze are stunning and they compliment the purples and blues of the bulbs so well.

Lastly, let me show you that the birch tree has lots of very small buds on its branches.  One day, it will have teeny bright-green leaves!  Unbelievable, I know.

Look closely - buds are forming on the birks! Taken at sunrise, 18th January 2011. Note the "early bird" on the right.

Happy run-up-to-spring!



  1. Oh Christine, these photos are beautiful and really tell a story about spring. I love the bulb bowl, very similar to one of my yarn bowls 😉
    Nearly finished my book and will be sad when it’s done as I have so enjoyed it. It brought back many happy memories from my travels in the Middle East, especially Egypt as I have been to many of the mentioned places. I am sad to see the destruction that is taking place at the moment.
    Hope is well in Aberdeen
    Much love Heike x

  2. Good news from the south, Christine – the days are even longer here on Anglesey – and it’s coming your way!


  3. Here in Amsterdam the days are getting longer too and I love it despite the fact that I’m a winter person..I bought some lovely hyacinths and narcissus last weekend, I never knew there’s a kind of story behind hyacinths, it’s the second time I heard the sentence : Hyacinths are for the soul….I can’t wait the see the Bluebells in Scotland again….

  4. spring is coming…thanks for this reminder. we’re snowed in with grey skies and I’m paging through plant catalogs longing for sunshine. i need to force some bulbs for a bit of spring. your photos are wonderful. i love the one with the sunrise….gorgeous.

  5. Dear All, I’m so glad you like the photos, and thanks for stopping by. Lisa, as you see, I decided to use the sunrise photo as a new header – I thought it was high time for a change! Erna, I don’t know where the “hyacinths for the soul” quote is from – I must find out!

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