A few pictures were taken last weekend and I suspect this weekend will be worse. Ample warnings have been given, so now it’s up to you to proceed at your own risk. I shall try to be as brief as possible but even with that, photo per post limits will be broken. If you’re the type who feels obligated to read and leave comments I suggest a scroll to the bottom and give a quick “Oh they look nice Frank. Good for you!” and that’s it.
Snowdrop season is here after all and my filter is down.
A completely averagely perfect snowdrop to start. ‘Bess’ couldn’t flower more, but last year lost everything in a late freeze. It all comes around and I love her this year 🙂
‘Magnet’ was one of the first here. One bulb which has split up into a puddle of white, and I suspect this year he can split again to start that drift.
They’re not all plain white. ‘Green Brush’ is hopefully settling in now after I lost him twice. Sometimes a good friend comes to the rescue with a replacement!
‘Trymlet’ is one of the pagoda shaped drops referred to as an ‘ipoc’. The outer segments take on the appearance of the inner and all of a sudden it’s a new look, one which I like well enough, but…
And then there’s yellow. ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ is one of the most beautiful, and still hard to find. I was thrilled when a friend offered one up as a trade, because it’s every bit as elegant as I hoped it would be.
One of my favorite late winter views is here under the cherry. White snowdrops, magenta hardy cyclamen coum, yellow winter aconite (Eranthis). One of my first bulb books had a grander view with the same plants and I never thought I’d get even this close.
One of the winter aconite is Eranthis xtubergenii ‘Sachsengold’. It’s a E. hyemalis, E cilicica cross with the more divided foliage of its one parent. That of course doesn’t matter, but to me it does 🙂
This bed also contains the unique ‘Blewbury Tart’, the first of many Alan Street snowdrop discoveries and possibly the one which ignited his future in horticulture. Found almost fifty years ago, he must have been a toddler at the time.
I am the ‘Walrus’. A little bit was given to me two years ago and he’s finally come of age. I hope he sticks around, because I love him of course! Who would have thought a snowdrop would morph into this.
This little nivalis has a smudge of green on the tips. We call it ‘Friendship’ and although it’s barely anything special it gets passed around and it’s one of my favorite treasures.
Speaking of tiny things that aren’t anything special yet are everything special, here’s crocus gargaricus ssp. herbertii. The name is bigger than the plant, but I was ecstatic to see the golden flowers this spring even if I was the only one to notice them. It’s been awol for two years and I thought for sure it had gone to that big compost heap in the sky. Thankfully not.
In case you were wondering, winter became serious, the foxglove smothering ‘Bill Bishop’ suffered its usual demise, and Bill rose up through the withered remains. I of course ended up doing nothing, just like I prefer.
After six years galanthus ‘Art Nouveau’ has become a clump. For some reason that’s good enough and I don’t need drifts of this one. It’s kinda too special for a drift and what I should really do is divide and fertilize. A well fed bulb shows even longer inners and the extra space would let them really show off.
‘Bloomer’ is another favorite. The almost-yellow of the pale ovaries looks awesome here amongst the blue fescue.
Just a few inches down the bed, ‘Mrs. Thompson’ is for once showing off her fickle three, four, double, or twin, flowers. She just does whatever she wants. For me it’s the first time she’s done that here.
If you’re still holding up ok here’s a break from snowdrops. Crocus heuffelianus ‘tatra shades’ was amazing for all of the 48 hours it took the rabbits to find it. I guess the rabbits need their spring tonic just as much as I do.
*Schadenfreude* – the German word for pleasure one gets out of another’s misfortune. ‘Gerard Parker’ was one of my most prolific drops. He went from one to a clump of forty bulbs in just a few seasons so I moved him to a “better” spot for more showing off. It was going to be amazing I thought… until it wasn’t. Two years of late freezes nearly wiped him out and now he’s moved back to where he started. Finally he looks healthy again.
I love this view. ‘Diggory’ is in front with ‘Wendy’s Gold behind’. This is just plain showing off, but if you look at the bottom right there are two Diggory seedlings. They look nearly identical but don’t have that curl that dad (well actually mom) does, and I absolutely need to move them out to another spot before they mix in hopelessly.
Elsewhere in the garden are more seedlings. In front of ‘The Wizard’ are two siblings, one who shares dad’s green outer mark, and another without. Of course these also need new homes, but fortunately they’re a little easier to single out as seedlings.
Not a seedling but a newer one with a different kind of green marking. ‘Greenfinch’ has elegant lines on nice rounded outers, and guess what? I love it!
This one is brand new this year from an ‘in the green’ planting last spring. Some people complain vehemently about the risks of moving actively growing ‘in the green’ snowdrops, but I rarely have trouble when they arrive well cared for. I really love this one, it’s named ‘Angelina’ and it’s a newer drop which I paid an embarassingly high amount for but I don’t care.
This one was not a lot of money. It’s a plain old Galanthus elwesii from a bulk bulb order. It was probably 60 cents and although it looks amazing and yellow and therefore rare and valuable… it’s probably not. Sometimes cold and a foot or two of snow on top will have your drops coming up yellow and although it’s fun it’s not that uncommon. You can see the one behind is pulling a similar prank.
Another cruel prank was that half this ‘Viridipice’ clump has vanished. I’ll dig this weekend for clues, but it won’t be the first time a batch of newly planted dry bulbs does fine the first year and then disappears the next. usually it’s the G. nivalis types that pull this trick for me.
You’ve almost made it. Here’s some relief from endless closeups. Even if a few of the photos look nice, there’s still much to be desired here in terms of garden design, so it will still be a few years before the tour busses show up.
One of the goodies in this back bed is ‘Erway’. He’s kind of a weirdo with his conehead top, but you may have noticed that weird carries a lot of weight in the world of snowdrops.
Weird works, but so does big. ‘Moortown’ has strong, heavy flowers with a nice inner mark which bleeds up with a smear of green. Of course it’s another favorite, and unlike the photo implies it’s a pure white snowdrop.
Wow, even I’m getting tired now. Just a few more. ‘Baylham’ is one of the few doubles I like. Small, well formed, nicely upright and normally a strong green color.
Speaking of strong green color, ‘Jade’ is looking exceptionally green this spring. Actually you could just leave that as looking exceptional, because he is.
…and Sunday’s evening light leaves you off with a waterfall of ‘Percy Picton’. Normally I complain about his sprawling ways but this year, without a couple inches of snow flattening out the blooming clump, he looks great.
You made it. I forgive you for skimming. There’s no doubt I’m deep into this and hopefully for your sake my camera breaks this weekend.
But then there’s always the phone camera. Enjoy the weekend and I hope it’s sunny and safe wherever you’re at!
I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I don’t know how you remember all of the names of the snowdrops. Each one is a treasure.
I hope you are able to enjoy the weekend too.
Don’t be too impressed. I have labels and lists and practice frequently 😉
Lovely snow drops!
Thank you Frank, that was delightful! You have so many lovely varieties that I haven’t even heard of and so many that are firm friends. Magnet was my first one too and like yours has bulked up really well. I don’t think it will be too long before the tour buses are paying you a visit!
Haha, I’ll be satisfied if my visitors are forever limited to a few friends. I can’t imagine a tour bus… unless I can convince my neighbors to give up their lawns and plant sheets of snowdrops! What a joy that would be 🙂
It’s nice to see how some varieties are as just as good, regardless of which side of the ocean they’re on.
It’s good to see a garden with the snowdrops at their best while they have gone over here with just a few stragglers hanging on. I’m very fond of ‘Baylham’; I just like the tone of green which it has. I wonder if your “Mrs. Macnamara” is ‘Mrs. Thompson’ for it is the one which generally has the aberrant segments?
What do you think of ‘Elizabeth Harrison? I feel the camera always flatters the yellow as it is not as bright in real life.z
It is an eye-opener to your weather for me to hear that snowdrops could be set back so much by your frosts. They may be laid low here but would pick up again quickly; never any significant damage.
Great show, which I enjoyed very much.
You are absolutely correct on the mislabelled Mrs Thompson. I’ve gone back and changed it, thanks!
Yes our season is just starting up, but to look at the forecast I suspect it will be a fast one. Sunshine and warm weather next week will rush everything along and I’ll be surprised if these snowdrops last for more than another week or two before they start to look tired. It will be too short of course, but the sun will be welcome.
‘Elizabeth Harrison’ has a clear, bright yellow here but I think many of our stronger yellows are due to the stronger sunlight during the time of year we see them open. Not only is it later in the year, but we are also much further south, and the plants get much more UV light relative to your location. This part of Pennsylvania is closer to the latitude of Rome than any part of Ireland!
Last year was a terrible season with a mild February and then a hard freeze in early March. The worowonii seem most tender and most were mush, but the leaves do regrow (extend further, not resprout) and this spring it’s as if nothing happened. I guess there’s always hope.
You are growing at the limits, it seems, of the snowdrops’ tolerance, something which is bound to be a challenge. G. reginae olgae are a challenge with me as, generally, our summers are too wet for them. Because of this, I grow them in pots in the glasshouse where I can be sure they will remain perfectly dry and baked all summer long. I have a few in a trough which is in the shelter of the house, getting full sunshine and very little rain and they have done well this past two years.
It’s interesting how differently plants react to all the various climatic variables. Further North people have no problems because the snowdrops remain dormant until spring, further South they shrug off the slightly milder freezes. Out in the drier parts of our country the cold doesn’t seem to bother them as much as long as there’s no snow… and it changes… Lately I have added fall bloomers, and some have survived. A G. peshmenii does just fine, but I suspect it’s actually a G. reginae olgae and I’m planning to plant a few more out this summer. Although they are in a woodland site I suspect the overall summer heat here gives them what they need to do well, things which can only be duplicated through dry and baking conditions in your climate.
It’s always interesting to experiment and see how plants will do for you.
Paddy, don’t forget, we don’t just get frosts in the winter, we get heaps of snow and if not snow, bitter cold.
Yes, a lot different to our climate where snow is uncommon and frosts are really quite gentle. We had one night of -2C this year as our coldest of the season. I think that equates to around 29F
Pleased to discover your blog but you have labelled ‘Mrs Thompson’ aka ‘Yorkshire Cottage’ as ‘Mrs Macnamara’ – Mrs Mac is early and never, ever produces more than three outers.
Thank you Brian, my mistake has been corrected!
Mrs Macnamara is also one to struggle here because of her earliness.
That was wonderful Frank, a fabulous collection. What a treat. No skimming here, in fact I’ve scrolled through several times. You even have Elizabeth Harris which I’ve been coveting for ages. Mine are getting over now apart from G.plicatus. I love your aconites too.
Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do get a kick out of them, and it looks like there’s no chance denying the galanthomania anymore.
I was thrilled to get Elizabeth H, I couldn’t believe my luck!
An absolute delight. I only wish my ‘specials’ bulked up so impressively! I blame the squirrels. And the rabbits. And the mice. But then don’t I always..
Haha, I have my share of specials which just sit there for years as a single bloom. I also have a few empty spots, and it’s not because I have yet to plant there!
They look great! Love the crocus!
Hey Laura! So good to hear from you, it’s been a while.
All the best!
Oh, they look nice Frank. Good for you! However, by my count you left out 215 of the promised snowdrop pictures (I’m not counting those 2 where a snowdrop is only teasingly shown 3/4 out of frame, nor those non-snowdrop shots, lovely though they are). Despite the disappointingly small number of photos, it’s a wonderful-looking display, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Too bad it’s such a long drive, I’d be there a lot.
A visit would be great, I’d love that. Remember though, it’s all a lot of angles and cropping and not nearly as interesting when you see the big picture. Another thought… if you were closer I’d visit as well, and I think that would get old fast, especially when you’re moving dirt and busy and I’m just sitting there offering unnecessary advice.
I hope to get a few more pictures this weekend, but everything might already be represented. Oh well! Who’d even notice a few doubles, they all look alike anyway 😉
Thanks for the show. Made it to the end.
(Nice nails, Frank)
Haha, I’ve been wearing gloves (mostly)! Glad you made it through 🙂
I am soooo envious! 🙂 And I have a related (sort of) question: What kind of critter would nip off snowdrop flowers and just leave them there? The entire flower, I mean: ovary + perianths, and in perfect condition still. I have a little group of eight G. elwesii and I discovered the other day that six flowers had been nipped off that way. Almost like something came along with teeny-tiny scissors! Any idea who the culprit is?
Grrrrr…. I would guess either birds or a rabbit. Every spring I see the same, some years the little dummies need to nip a dozen flowers before they figure out they taste terrible, and of course it’s always the ones I was really looking forward to or the most treasured one.
It seems to only happen during the first week or so. Maybe they do learn, I just wish they could remember from year to year.
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it was rabbit. Just the other day, I began stocking up protective gear for the new plants that will start to arrive next month, and the seedlings when they eventually get planted out.
Your galanthus joy is infectious, Frank. I just browsed through all of your March snowdrop postings and they are enchanting. My favorite picture has to be the snowdrops, hardy cyclamen, yellow winter aconite one in this post. A feast for the eyes on this cold, blustery day when little is blooming in my garden. Enjoy! You did good! P.x
🙂 I’m glad you liked it. The only thing missing is a little tea with the tour!
It looks like this weekend and next week will be the warmest we’ve seen since last fall. I’m sure you’re as ready to get out there as I am. Hard to believe it’s only been a week or so since the last snow melted off. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Wow. This garden needs to be on the Gala tour next year.
Haha, thanks! The big picture isn’t nearly as impressive, but as long as well all keep our noses to the ground it’s at least thirty minutes worth of interest.
They are all beautiful and unique
You have an excellent eye!
Thanks! Thinking of adding any more?
A beautiful collection, Frank. I enjoyed the tour and I didn’t have to kneel down once! 🙂
Well I think that’s one of the best ways to look at snowdrops 🙂
Wow! Just wow! The snowdrops are lovely. I must admit what caught my eye is the grouping of them with magenta hardy cyclamen coum and yellow winter aconite (Eranthis). So beautiful. You must be having a fantastic time every minute in the garden.
I do feel guilty about the work which needs to get done, but my theory is it’s better to enjoy flowers first!
Some of the cyclamen plantings were inspired by Nancy Goodwin’s garden in Hillsborough, NC. I was wondering if you’ve ever made it there?
Sadly no. I was invited to see the snowdrops in bloom by a fellow blogger who worked there and woke up sick that morning. Made me doubly sick to miss that.
Wow, quite a collection now! That photo with the Aconites and Cyclamen is really pretty and very enviable. The snowdrops are all gorgeous, although I cannot warm to those with too much yellow. I am amazed you can remember all the names. Do you have a kind of ‘directory’ for keeping track?
I scrolled to leave my comment and put it on the wrong one. I must have been overcome by your wealth of snowdrops. They are just a treat to see. ‘Diggory’ bloomed for me and I am thrilled with it. Thank you again.
Great blog yoou have here