Seven Years and Counting

Prepare yourselves for the 2021 snowdrop season.  They’re starting to come up in earnest and if it’s as warm and rainy this week as they say it will be, all the drops should be open or at least up by this weekend.  Of course I’ll photograph nearly every one.  Multiple times.  I will understand if I don’t hear from a few people while this goes on.  Seriously.  Please don’t even feel obligated since there are already enough people ignoring the guy who wanders around in the cold mumbling and kneeling and photographing dirt that a few more won’t matter.  I’ll be oblivious anyway.

In general snowdrops are nothing much to look at unless you have a couple decades worth of adding and dividing and transplanting under your belt.  But small progress can be made.  Here’s an un-named Galanthus elwesii which a friend shared with me years ago.  It faced death many times before I knew what I was doing, but in 2013 I found a good spot, and in 2014 it finally escaped the muck and cold and narcissus fly attacks which were holding it back, and bloomed beautifully.  It even earned a spot on this blog.

galanthus elwesii

A perfectly average no-name Galanthus elwesii.  It’s one of my favorite garden treasures.

All my purchased snowdrops start as one bulb.  One bulb is nothing much to look at.  You tell someone you have ten different varieties and they ask “where?”  and then you head back inside to warm up.  But eventually one becomes five becomes fifteen and you are on your way, and one year you go outside and say ‘wow, I could almost call that a clump’… and then you look around quickly to see if anyone saw you talking to yourself again…

galanthus elwesii

Seven years and a couple days later.  Obviously I’ve done nothing to it in the meantime, just waited.

So I think I have clumps.  They didn’t all take seven years, and some are not even close, but it’s fun, and today my mother in law accidentally made eye contact as she drove by and stopped to tell me it wasn’t summer.  I said it’s warm enough, and then without any prompting she said ‘oh you do have flowers already.  Will they be ok if it gets cold?’  I went on too long.  She regretted it.

Have a great week, and to the non-snowdroppers I’ll see you in a couple weeks 😉

22 comments on “Seven Years and Counting

  1. Yes, I think my favorites are the ones that bulk up quickly.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    I love snowdrops because they are the first flower of the year to bloom – a true harbinger of spring. Enjoy yours and do post photos!

    • bittster says:

      It’s awesome to get that immediate reward when the snow melts. The snowdrops are in full bloom, but even the earliest crocus are still waiting a few more days before they open up their little rabbit-treats 😉

  3. Pauline says:

    I can sympathise, when I see peoples eyes glaze over , I try to stop talking about them! All mine started out as just one bulb, but with patience and a bit of splitting, soon you will have drifts. Most of mine have gone over, just a few left flowering, then it will be 9 months to the next one, in the meantime I’ll enjoy yours, so lots of photos please!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, I thought I was the only one who did that!
      I’ve already enjoyed your season, so it’s only fair I take my turn now and fill a few more weeks with snowdrops. Hopefully we do not get the cold spell that yours had to go through… although if we do, it won’t be our first. Snowdrop season here is usually a much more “vigorous” weather event 🙂
      I can’t wait for the drifts!

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I only have three kinds of them. I love them and wait eagerly every February for them to emerge. I don’t mind your going on about them. Tis the season after all.

    • bittster says:

      Even three kinds are more than you need. One is oftentimes enough if it’s the one that does excellently in your garden… and hopefully also the one you love!

  5. Chloris says:

    And what a joy it is when you have clumps of different ones and seedlings appearing which just might be special. Ah, but you don’t mention the eye-wateringly expensive ones that disappear without trace. Best draw a veil over those lost beauties.

    • bittster says:

      I love the seedlings. I have a few this year, and they’re absolutely nothing new, but they’re mine and of course I think they’re amazing. I could never be a plant breeder.
      Speaking of eye-wateringly expensive varieties…
      I may have committed to buying one. The definition of expensive isn’t important, and it’s all relative, but I know that when I hide the bill from my smarter half it must be too much. Let’s hope it doesn’t immediately die.

  6. deanna Clarkson says:

    What a lighthearted post to read as I sip my morning coffee. It would be nice to have snowdrops, but it would be even better to have your wordsmith talents!

  7. I think all of us cold climate gardeners are talking to ourselves by March. I have been gazing out the window and periodically traipsing through the snow to see if anything is happening. We’re hitting the 50°s today and then rain, so I am hopeful. I am impressed to realize you start with only one bulb. Now I don’t feel so bad that that is what I do as well.

    • bittster says:

      I’m excited for you. I hope the snow exits quickly and you can soon see a few signs of spring. Obviously these lingering days of winter are the worst!
      Yes, almost all of them were just one bulb. I get really excited when any of them reach the more than five flowers point, since some of the seven-year bulbs are not even close. Of course I won’t mention the slackers 🙂

  8. Oh, I love this! I have only three not-quite-clumps of no-name G. elwesii (I am saying 3 but one group has not opened any buds yet). Thank you for saying it wouldn’t be ridiculous to buy just one bulb; I would really like to try something like ‘Primrose Warburg’ but have blanched at the prices, lol

    • bittster says:

      Yes, the prices. I’ve blanched at them and then blanched again. And then I blanch when I write a check. It is so unlike me to spend money like this, but addicts will do as they do until they hit rockbottom. Fortunately my idea of over the top is what other people consider an ok price for their dinner entree. To each their own.

  9. Considering how excited I am to see this year’s snowdrops, I can’t believe I used to make fun of Galanthophiles, (present company excepted, of course). I too have clumps, but I want drifts! Last spring, right after bloom, I transplanted a bunch of bulbs to move the process along.

    • bittster says:

      Oh you wouldn’t be the first one to make fun of me 🙂 There’s something about that first pop of growing things that lifts your winter spirit out of snow-mode and gets you ready for the new year. Some people can wait for crocus season, but I just can’t!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    Real beauties. Congratulations on your patience. Looking back I’ve missed many opportunities in the garden by choosing quick and easy color. I’ve never seen a drift of snowdrops in person but it must be inspiring.

  11. Paddy Tobin says:

    As your season gets into full swing ours is most certainly winding up here in south-east Ireland. There are some of the later ones still going well – ‘Lady Moore’, ‘Marjorie Brown’, ‘Uncle Dick’, ‘Cicely Hall’, ‘Trym’ are the best at present and there are a few others which are still in flower but looking a bit raggedy!

    Should you ever feel foolish about taking the photographs – I also try to photograph them all as they come into flower, when they are in flower, when they look at their best, when the sun shines on them, if the wind changes direction etc etc and…..when it is raining or the grass still wet I have regularly donned full raingear – coat, pull-up rain trousers, wellington boots – and have been seen lying perfectly prone on the ground to get a low-lever shot! Why not! I enjoy them and make the most of them.

    We bought a few new ones this year, ranging in price from €30 – €60 and hasten to point out that this is far more than we would normally spend but we weren’t getting out this year, generally less expense on entertainment/pastimes, so we justified it because of that. Swapping is a more regular way of having new plants here and I enjoy this very much.

    Looking to further reports and photographs!

  12. Cathy says:

    Well, I do hope your snowdrop season is a good one Frank. I am happy with my five or six that showed up, and when I visited my old garden this week there were lots of clumps where I planted some about 15 years ago, so there is hope yet! Enjoy your snowdrops!

  13. Love your self deprecating humor. I resemble that remark. 😊

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