As blizzards of snow envelope Britain the “Winter Aconites”, Eranthis hyemalis, show through the white blanket that carpets the land. With a wide geographical spread from Europe to the Himalayas this rhizome sends up a stalk of light bronze with immature leaves a similar colour. The underground part of the plant is a rhizome, long, thin and mis-shapen with straggly roots coming off.
The deeply divided leaf is crowned by the bright yellow flower. As temperatures increase the cupped petals open to reveal the flower parts. Left to their own devices the clump soon bulks up, seed is freely produced and in undisturbed soil seedlings are visible around the mother plant. These take three seasons to reach flowering size.
Look at the companion planting in the image, slowly establishing is a seedling of “Annual Meadow Grass”, Poa annua. A timely reminder to all that the soil is warming up and the next generation of weeds are developing. Spring is arriving and with lengthening days the opportunity to spend an hour in the garden as the soil dries out and becomes workable must be taken. Get on top of the weeds now and a relaxed summer is guaranteed.