I've never been much of a gardener, although there was a time when I knew all the Latin names of every plant in our garden and most of the ones in the plant nurseries. Maybe that's because I was more interested in reading books about plants and gardens than I was in getting my hands dirty and my muscles sore actually doing the work.
That last statement is not quite the whole truth because, to be honest, the bits of gardening I enjoyed most were building walls and fences, laying paths and erecting greenhouses. (All of which I have done at one time or another.)
Nowadays, though, the best bits in my garden are the bits where things happen without human intervention and where the absolute minimum of human effort is required to clear away the weeds. That means especially under the trees. And right now it means... SNOWDROPS!
They were getting a bit of a battering today with the strong winds and lashing rain so I couldn't zoom in too closely. It wouldn't have been fair on them. They are models of simple perfection and we shouldn't take too much notice of their momentarily ruffled appearance and temporary blemishes. They will bounce back to normal when the weather improves.
To me snowdrops are the most amazing flowers because of their combination of delicate fragility and dogged tenacity. To all of us in Scotland they are now always associated with Dunblane. But even here they were a symbol of hope and a sign of a future that refuses to lie down to anything that the past or the present might heap upon it.
Perhaps the thing I like most about snowdrops is that in some ways they can be incredibly difficult for gardeners to grow from scratch. But if they appear by themselves, and look after themselves, they flourish year after year with carefree abandon. That's my kind of gardening now.