Were those snowdrops all just a dream?

It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago this gardener was completely consumed by snowdrops.  Today the grass is green and people are nursing sunburns but just seven days ago we braved the usual snow squalls and windchills to pay Trumansburg NY and Hitch Lyman’s Temple Nursery a visit.

snowdrops temple nursery

The garden’s namesake reflected in the overflowing waters of the garden’s pond. There had been plenty of rain in the days previous… good for melting the last of the snow.

This was our third visit to the gardens and for a snowdrop lover it’s always a treat.  Mr. Lyman opens his garden through the Garden Conservancy, an organization committed to opening gates and preserving gardens across North America, and although this one’s early spring drabness might not appeal to everyone, it’s a treasure chest for those interested in seeing what is likely North America’s most diverse collection of galanthus (snowdrop) cultivars.  But perhaps your interests lie in the warmer seasons and silly things such as sunshine and butterflies.  If so check out the other garden open days listings, and you may be surprised at what’s open in your neck of the woods!

snowdrops at hitch lyman garden

Snowdrops along the woodland path of Hitch Lyman’s Temple Gardens.

Since most of the rest of the world is well beyond snowdrop season I’ll try to keep this quick.  Interest in little white flowers dims quickly once the tulips start to open and I want to list this year’s favorites so I have something to look back on next January when the fever starts up again.

galanthus mrs backhouse #12

You can’t go wrong with the clean and simple. This is an old classic, galanthus “Mrs. Backhouse #12”.

Since I’ll be the first to admit that nearly all small white snowdrops look remarkably identical I’ll try to focus on a few that stand out.  The ‘greens’ caught my eye this year, and galanthus ‘Greenish’ was looking perfectly different this spring and really makes a nice clump among the whites.

galanthus greenish

Galanthus “Greenish”

Green is different, but a green ‘spikey’ is even more different.  I’m not sure if this tiny burst of flower is to everyone’s taste but it is definitely what I’d call ‘interesting’….

galanthus boyd's double

Galanthus “Boyd’s double”

Yellow is also different, but on a flower like “Spindlestone Surprise” it looks just great.  This was one of several nice clumps of yellow drops.

galanthus spindlestone surprise

Galanthus “Spindlestone Surprise”

Ok, so one more picture of an interesting green.

galanthus green arrow

Galanthus “Green Arrow”

I hear that when temperatures rise enough above 40F (5C) the flowers in this garden will actually open wide and show off their inner markings.  I have yet to experience that since we always seem to be at the garden the day before the sun comes out and the air temperatures rise.  This year was par for the course since the Sunday forecast called for a calm and sunny 60F.

galanthus augustus

Even when still closed, the puckered petals and grass green foliage of galanthus “Augustus” still make for a great show.

I hate to admit that over the years I’ve added quite a few snowdrops to my garden, and with each new one I somehow tell myself it’s exactly the drop to complete some final empty void in my collection.  To publically admit I have a collection is a bad sign in itself, but to admit I NEED even species snowdrops is probably another bad omen.  They’re all white and green, just like every other snowdrop, but each one is just so much more special than the last 🙂

Galanthus koenenianus

Galanthus koenenianus. How can you not love those fat grey leaves? This was just one of several interesting little species snowdrops Mr. Lyman grows.

Now that we’re getting into special little things which make your fulfilling life seem just a tiny bit lacking lets look at this early blooming scilla relative which goes by the name of puschkinia.  This strain is supposed to have more rounded heads with darker lines of color and since I don’t grow it (yet) I’ll take their word for it.

Puschkinia scilloides 'Aragats Gem'

Puschkinia scilloides ‘Aragats Gem’

…and what gardener goes on a garden visit without adding something to the wishlist?  These last two will surely remain on the list for a while since even I can’t justify the pricetags which usually accompany them.

galanthus phillip andre meyer

Galanthus “Phillip Andre Meyer”.  I think of these as pagoda shaped although they’re usually referred to as inverse poculiforms (ipocs, or inpocs if you fear the wrath of Apple’s trademark police).  The flowers are reversed (inverted) with the green inner petals on the outside, and all six petals nearly similar in length.

“A. E. Bowles” will not likely visit my garden anytime soon but I’m going to put it as number one on the wishlist.  How exciting (for me at least) to be able to see it in bloom, and what a great way to commemorate such a talented plantsman and author.  Actually the snowdrop “Augustus” is another drop which is named after him, as well as dozens of other cultivars of plants.  Not a bad legacy in my opinion.

galanthus e a bowles

Galanthus “E.A.Bowles”

Of course it’s not all about pedigreed names and high pricetags.  There were plenty of clumps who’s names were known only to Mr. Lyman yet were still fantastic first signs of spring.

double snowdrop galanthus elwesii

No obvious label on this one, but its fat, rounded blooms made me happy to see it. Nice foliage as well.

After a long visit we were finally on the road again and made a quick pit stop at Ithaca’s Cornell Plantation.  The plantation is part of Cornell University and we wanted to stop in quickly for a look at their gardens, in particular their winter garden.

cornell plantation winter garden

Cornell Plantation’s winter garden.  Bright conifers, colorful bark, and a few winter bloomers all just recently released from underneath a cold blanket of snow.

The winter garden was a nice stop but since our fingers were still tingling from the cold we didn’t exactly linger much.  I don’t think I’d mind coming back in another few weeks when things really explode, but on this particular day the conifers and bare twigs, for as colorful as they were, just couldn’t keep us away from the heated car seats.

cornell plantation winter garden

More gardens at Ithaca’s Cornell University. The arboretum and other parts called but we wanted to get home before dark!

In spite of the weather we always end up enjoying our visit up to Trumansburg, Ithaca, and the Temple Gardens and are grateful that Mr. Lyman opens them up each spring.  In case you’re unaware Mr. Lyman also sells snowdrops so if you’re interested the process is to send three or four dollars to the following address: Temple Nursery (H Lyman) Box 591 Trumansburg, NY 14886.  Catalogs go out in January and the drops are usually sold out within a few weeks so you need to be quick!

Enjoy spring and your very own garden visits 🙂

Back to the Temple

 

Last Saturday some friends and I made the trip up to Trumansburg, NY for what I hope will become an annual tradition; the open day at Hitch Lyman’s Temple Garden Nursery.  As was the case in 2013, winter still had a firm grip on the weather so a thick coat was essential (and gloves and hat and scarf), but at least there was more mud than ice this year.  That’s a start….

open garden day

First garden tour of the year!

For those who don’t know, Mr. Lyman is (among other things of course) a lover of snowdrops, and his Temple Nursery catalog is the most specialized retail source for snowdrops in the US.  There are other great sources out there now, but Hitch has been dealing snowdrops since before they became cool (am I the only one who considers them cool?), and his collection is considered to be the largest in this country with around 400 varieties planted throughout the property.

snowdrops at the Temple Garden

Snowdrops all over, patches big and small, named/unnamed…. heaven for the galanthophile (snowdrop lover)

The bank along the driveway is the first planting you see, and here’s my first favorite, galanthus “Wasp”, with its long wispy blooms.  Not that I’m stalking Mr. Lyman’s snowdrops, but I just want to say it looks so much better this year upright and not all flat and frozen.   8 blooms this year (up from 4 the year before -in case you’re wondering).  I took a lot of pictures last year too 🙂

galanthus wasp and dodo norton

Galanthus “Wasp” with “Dodo Norton” in the back

I could go on and on about my visit but I’ll try to keep this somewhat short.  I referred to Hitch as a dealer of snowdrops, and I think that’s an appropriate term for someone who sells something so addictive…. here’s galanthus “Naughton” (also just 4 blooms last year)  Hope it bulks up quick enough to make it into the catalog soon!

galanthus noughton

Galanthus “Naughton”. Maybe it’s a little droopy, but the flowers are so big, and I love the little curl to the pedicle(?) just above the bloom.

Doubles are starting to grow on me.  Even the smaller blooms that normally bore me.  “Cornwall Gem” has small sideways blooms that are held further out from the stem.

galanthus cornwood gem

Galanthus “Cornwood Gem”

“Mordred” has a nice fat look that I liked.  It’s hard to say for sure though if this fat look stays,  since it could change completely as the flowers expand and open (if the weather ever improves).  Odd that for this one the sun came out, with a name like Mordred I would have expected even more dark grey ‘Lord of the Rings’ weather to rain down.

galanthus mordred

Galanthus “Mordred”, a nice recurved fat double with green tips.

Once up the driveway we were invited in to the house for signing in and paying the $5 admission fee.  We had only been out of doors for 20 minutes at most, and the break from the cold was already a welcome relief!

inside hitch lyman house

One of the most welcoming sign-ins ever! It’s hard to see, but some of those cut snowdrops were huge, and the cookies and muffins were a nice touch.

Out again and into the snowdrops.  There’s a more formal part of the garden out back beyond the garden’s namesake temple.  My traveling company spent most of their visit inside the temple, next to the warm fire.  Fortunately they weren’t offered wine or else I suspect we never would have gotten them out of there!

hitch lyman temple garden

Hitch Lyman’s backyard temple. Even though the pond was unfrozen this year, the fireplace inside was still a welcomed retreat from the cold.

From what I could see, the formal garden promised an explosion of lilacs , hellebores, and peonies as well as the small bulbs which were scattered throughout.  In past years I’ve seen reports on the summer garden, but I don’t believe he’s opened it in the last few years.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to see this in person when it’s green.

hitch lyman formal garden

A small part of the formal garden. Apples trained to goblet shapes, beds filled with perennials, lilacs and tree peonies everywhere, and buds of hellebores and herbaceous peonies sprouting all over.

Close ups of the beds showed plenty of signs of spring, snowdrops and winter aconite (eranthis) plus many other goodies on their way.

hitch lyman garden beds

Winter aconite waiting for the sun to open up, snowdrops scattered throughout.

Personally I was fine poking around in the still dormant beds looking at goodies, but the bulk of  Mr. Lyman’s snowdrops are in the back of the property and it’s there we rushed off to next.  To keep things moving along, here are more favorites, such as “Ballerina” a very neatly arranged double.

galanthus ballerina

Galanthus “Ballerina”

….and “Flocon De Neige”, a wish list snowdrop.  Easily on my top 10 or even top 5.  It’s hard to say since I don’t actually dare put a wish list together.

galanthus flocon de neige

Galanthus “Flocon de Neige”. Six outers with a doubled inner, very pure looking.

“Pricilla Bacon”, part of a healthy patch all with perfect large rounded flowers.

galanthus pricilla bacon

Galanthus “Pricilla Bacon”

The odd little “Alburg Claw”.  Not a great picture, but There’s some kind of strange attractiveness to this one.

galanthus alburg claw

Galanthus “Alburg Claw”, a tiny plant which I hope to see thriving during next year’s visit.

The snowdrop plantings lined a taped off trail that meandered through the woods.  You could tell quite some work had been done to get the gardens ready for this Garden Conservancy Open Day, brush was cleared, patches labeled, sprouts uncovered.  All this must have been carried out in the last four days since our most recent snow storm!

hitch lyman anowdrop garden

Trail through the snowdrop woodland. Snowdrops extended deep into the trees, and I can only imagine all the additional treasure growing on in the distance.

I felt as if there were easily twice as many snowdrops as remembered from my last visitWarmer weather and another year’s growth seemed to make all the difference, plus I recognized a few names which seemed to have been moved here from off the driveway bank.  “Sophie North” was now in the woods, and this unidentified favorite from last year now has a name too.  It’s galanthus “R.D. Nutt”(and was only two bulbs last year!) 

galanthus rd nutt

Big Flowers, two blooms per bulb, nice wide plicate (folded on the edges) leaves, and olive colored ovaries make galanthus “R.D Nutt” another one of my favorites.

A few really stood out for having big blooms.  This is “Grayswood” who’s blooms are easily an inch long.  I don’t have small hands.

galanthus greyswood

Not the best picture of galanthus “Grayswood”. It’s listed as having four outer petals, but I didn’t have enough sense to look. In my defense my hands were probably freezing at this moment.

“Imbolc” is another one I’d put in the short fat group (a good group to be in if you’re a snowdrop).  Technically it’s out of the “Mighty Atom” group, a strain of stocky, large flowered drops, but until my snowdrop sophistication grows….

galanthus imbolc

Galanthus “Imbolc”. I love this one, but have two related ones which are similar, so it’s closer to top 20, and not top 5.

“Major Pam”, a nice clump which was offered in Mr. Lyman’s catalog this year.  Tight, neatly organized blooms with short inners, it’s part of my “I don’t like doubles” remission.

galanthus major pam

Galanthus “Major Pam”

You’re doing well if you made it this far.  I’m almost done so here’s “Peardrop” showing two blooms per bulb, nice long blooms…. I’m not sure if the bulbs to the left are also pear related, but the one on the right looks to be a real nice drop.

galanthus peardrop

Galanthus “Mrs. Thompson”.  Almost always referred to as a ‘variable snowdrop’ because it can be all over the place with extra petals, twin flowers, Siamese twin flowers…. I think it really makes for a nice display, but I wonder what the real Mrs. Thompson thought of having such a fickle flower named after her?

galanthus Mrs Thompson

Small blooms, big blooms, four petals, six petals; galanthus “Mrs. Thompson” looks good all the time (to me at least)

I included “Richard Ayres” because one of my hardier traveling companions told a nice story about meeting the real Mr. Ayres when this was spotted.  I always love a good story, too bad the sun couldn’t come out to open him up a little.

galanthus richard ayres

Galanthus “Richard Ayres”

Finally a little hope for my ugly duckling of the snowdrop patch, galanthus “Blewbury Tart”.  Grown well and in a bigger clump maybe someday mine can also have an attractive oddness to it, instead of just plain old oddness.

galanthus blewbury tart

Galanthus “Blewbury Tart”, a ‘unique’ looking snowdrop that still needs some time to grow on me.

So thanks for sticking with me for way too much galanthus talk.  We probably spent about three hours out in the cold and I believe it confirmed my and my friend’s suspicions that there’s something deeply wrong with my idea of fun.  With frozen toes and fingers we returned to the house and headed around the side for one last look.  Unless it was the hypothermia talking, there was still a point here when I actually may have skipped across the grass to look at another snowdrop.  I’m that far gone.

hitch lyman house and fountain

A beautiful springtime sky in western New York. It almost makes you want to take a dip in the fountain 🙂

I have my fingers crossed for next year.  Maybe the sun will come out and maybe I’ll even have the courage to talk to Mr. Lyman.  Despite the cold and wind he was out and about in the gardens mingling, answering questions, and probably just plain enjoying the return of green (and white) things such as “Mrs. Wrightston’s Double”.

galanthus mrs wrightston's double

Galanthus “Mrs Wrightston’s Double”

So that’s it.  It may seem odd to those of you in Europe to again be looking at snowdrops (you’re probably in bathing suits by now) but for us it’s only just turning in to warmer weather.  I’m happy for that, and I’m happy to see green things returning here too.

Thanks again to Mr Lyman for another enjoyable visit and continuing to open his garden to visitors, and if you’re interested in receiving a snowdrop catalog, word on the street is to send three or four dollars to the following address: Temple Nursery (H Lyman) Box 591 Trumansburg, NY 14886.  Catalogs go out in January and the drops are usually sold out within a few weeks.

Hope for spring

Last Sunday was a big day.  The first snowdrop managed to pop up and drop the first pure white bloom of the 2014 season.  Since then the not-so-pure snow has been on the retreat and temperatures have been almost seasonable!  One night temperatures didn’t even drop below freezing, and if you ignore the 9F night (-13C) you could almost imagine spring is close.

I don’t know how they do it, but somehow even from the frozen earth, under a layer of snow and ice, the snowdrops (galanthus elwesii) are growing.  I can’t imagine I missed this one in January during the last thaw.  It must have continued to grow as melting snow trickled down through the ice and then voila!  Spring 🙂snowdrop emerging from snowOther old friends are reappearing from beneath the filthy snow remnants.  Cyclamen hederifolium doesn’t look half bad after having spent the winter under a driveway snow pile.cyclamen hederifolium under snowA few feet away cyclamen coum is a different story.  The melting snow is leaving me with a mat of sloppy, rotting foliage.  Just for the record, you won’t get these pretty pictures on just any blog.  We’re here for the good, the bad…. and the ugly.
hardy cyclamen look dead
first cyclamen coum bloomBut spring is a fountain of hope, and even here I was able to find the first bloom coming up!  I think they’ll be ok but it’s a different look without the backdrop of healthy foliage (and I hope the tubers are able to prep for next year without their leaves)

Here’s a standard pussy willow shot.  Another one of my favorite plants.  Not much to look at most of the year, but I’d never be without it 🙂pussywillow budsThe “solid” winter of 2013/14 has tied up the Northeast in longer than average snowcover, and as a result even the snowdrops are running late.  2014 hitch lyman open daysI got this postcard from Hitch Lyman of The Temple Garden Nursery in upstate NY, and what a relief that I won’t be stressing over the long range weather report.  By April there should be something!  and even if some freak warm spell comes along there are enough other bulbs and hellebores to fill a garden visit.  But change your calendars, the new Garden Conservancy open date is April 5 from 11 to 3.

Here’s how my first snowdrop (an anonymous galanthus elwesii given to me by a friend) looks….. and notice another dead cyclamen coum leaf right at it’s base.  This spring they all look this way 😦 galanthus elwesiiI’m going to go on about snowdrops now, so tune out if you’ve already had your fill.  This week I’m struggling through my attempts to get better pictures.  So far I’ve learned nothing, but out of the countless blurry and overexposed pictures I’ve taken, the law of averages has let me bumble into one or two acceptable shots.  Here’s my nicest clump of galanthus nivalis (or most likely a hybrid thereof) which was rescued from the edge of a bulldozer rut during a local dairy farm’s gentrification.  It’s the last survivor of what used to be swaths of snowdrops…. spring snowdrops And here are three new treasures 🙂 -all variations on white, and all making me happier than a sparrow in spring (I’m assuming they’re happy, I finally hear them singing in the mornings). The first is galanthus “Gerard Parker”.
galanthus Gerard ParkerThe next, with much smaller blooms and a more average snowdrop look, is galanthus “Chedworth”.galanthus Chedworthand finally (with a drumroll implied) is galanthus “Primrose Warburg”.  It’s a little thing, but special enough to make me happy I was able to finally get a non-blurry portrait.
galanthus primrose warburgYesterday I noticed the first winter aconite is out.  They’re still tiny and lack confidence, but I’m hoping spring is really on its way (although it’s snowing as I write this and a storm is predicted for tonight).  Happy Sunday!

Snowdrops in the green

Most bulbs are best moved around and transplanted after they’ve yellowed and died back.  The bulbs are dug, dried and stored for a couple of weeks and then replanted again when the proper planting time rolls around.  It’s a convenient way to handle them and most bulbous plants are designed to handle months of dry, hot, dormancy.  Snowdrops are not.  Most snowdrops don’t appreciate drying out, and to get around this quirk the practice of sending snowdrops “in the green” started.  It’s a genteel way of saying you dug them up while growing and transplanted them that way.

My “in the green” snowdrops from The Temple Nursery arrived about a week and a half ago.snowdrops in the green

Snowdrops in the green are dug and sent shortly after bloom or even while still blooming.  I planted them (almost) as soon as I got them and I can’t wait to see them grow and thrive in my garden.  The bulbs look great and are carefully packed in damp sphagnum moss, wrapped in paper towels, hand labeled, bagged in plastic, and shipped priority mail.  Everything about my order said that care was taken and attention was paid to all the details.  Mr Hitch Lyman is the proprietor of The Temple Nursery and is well known for this old-school attention to details.  The catalog is a carefully prepared list out of his own garden, and the list changes from year to year depending on what’s ready for dividing.  There’s no internet presence, and correspondence is hand written.  Based on how fresh my bulbs were I feel his “dug to order” description was entirely accurate. 

I didn’t mean for this post to be a gushing waterfall of praise, but I guess I’m excited about my plants.  There are a couple other sources for snowdrops, Brent and Becky sells them dry and is a good source, the three other “in the green” sources I’ve heard about are:  Carolyn’s Shade Garden, Linden Hill Nursery, and Black Hog Farms (couldn’t find a web link… they might only do garden shows etc.).  I also got a batch of dry bulbs from Van Engelen, and they were excellent.   

If you want to give the Temple Nursery a try, send a catalog request to: The Temple Nursery, (Mr. Hitch Lyman), Box 591, Trumansburg, NY 14886.  I’ve never heard anything official on this but I sent $4 with the request.  Send it early.  Not only do the snowdrops sell out fast but the catalogs are also limited, so send it out soon!

 

    

More snowdrops from the Temple Nursery

Here’s the second installment of photos from our visit to Hitch Lyman’s garden.  These pictures are all taken on the bank of earth that lined the one side of the driveway leading up to the house.  The drops (and a few other things such as cyclamen coum) seemed happy on the slope, even though there didn’t seem to be much in the way of soil improvement or mulching or any other tinkering with the planting area.  But I don’t know that for sure, all I know is there were plenty of nice looking galanthus and even in the cold weather they were a hopeful sign of spring.galanthus "Sickle" Hitch Lyman Garden

galanthus "Warham" Hitch Lyman GardenI’ve always been a big fan of snowdrops.  When the first warm days of spring rolled around I’d always make a point of swinging by the yards and parks where I knew there were a couple growing.  Although they were one of my favorite flowers, when I tried growing them in my parent’s garden they  never really settled in.  They just hung on.

The ones at the Temple Nursery seem to be doing much better.  If you’re curious as to snowdrop names, a mouse hovering over the photo will hopefully show their identity.  In this photo, the one on the right is galanthus “Sophie North” and it was one of my favorites.  The blooms were big and fat and at this point when they’re still tucked in by the foliage I think they’re perfect.galanthus "Sentinel" "Sophie North" Hitch Lyman Garden

This was my first opportunity to see a lot of named snowdrops in the flesh, and it may have made a snowdrop snob out of me.  I’m beginning to pick up on  the variations and differences.  Here’s “Spindlestone Surprise” which even an amateur like me can pick out as being different from the usual green-whiteness.galanthus "spindlestone surprise" Hitch Lyman Garden

yellow snowdrop HItch Lyman Garden

But I still can’t tell too many of them apart (and never with any certainty unless there’s a label stuck right next to it).  Here’s another yellow, and although there was a “Wendy’s Gold” label nearby, I don’t see much of a difference between this and the other yellow.

I may be drifting into snowdrop-snobbery but I still think I’ll be fine with just a couple.  Fyi they’re on order for shipment this spring.

Here are the last few pictures.   “Lodestar” shows a little green even when closed, and the blooms splay out a bit instead of having the round drop shape.galanthus "Lodestar" Hitch Lyman Garden

Wasp has a longer narrow bloom, looking a little sad in the cold.  galanthus "Wasp" Hitch Lyman Garden

I think this is Naughton.  I really like the fat blooms, no green showing, and the curled Pedicle (or at least I think that’s what you call the green thing over the bloom).galanthus "Naughton" Hitch Lyman Garden

Not to leave things on a down note, but some snowdrops looked like they took a hit from the cold.  Here’s “Lord Monosticus”, and it appears the blooms got more than their fair share of winter cold.  I’ve had this happen in my garden with some of the earliest ones, and they recover fine for next season, but it’s sad to see.  This one was actually on my short list for ordering.  I’d like a real early one, but maybe it’s not worth the stress.  galanthus "Lord Monosticus" HItch Lyman GardenSo that’s it for the snowdrops, I guess they’re not everyone’s “thing” but I kinda like them.  Also there’s not much else going on here as another 4 inches of snow comes down……

Snowdrops and snow

First days of spring come and go but for me a major turning point is the first garden tour.  Saturday was the day, and a friend and I headed up to Trumansburg NY to visit Hitch Lyman’s garden and his collection of snowdrops and other early bloomers.  I won’t bore you with the details of the “should be a 2hr drive” but the clock put it at closer to 4 hours and I’m sure that was due in a large part to not having a map, not really paying attention to directions, and having a co-pilot with a lot of new stories to share.  So we got there a bit later than planned, got to see a little more of the country side, and got to see a few more cities than we should have.  At least we didn’t end up in Canada is all I’ll add.

A snowdrop visit to upstate New York in below freezing weather and amidst snow qualls isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.  Most of the garden is still asleep and when you pull up it’s more the house you notice, and less so the gardens.Temple Nursery open garden 2013

This open day was organized by the Garden Conservancy and according to their description the 1848 farmhouse was moved to the site in 1990.  What a job that must have been, and I’m going to guess it needed a bit of restoration when it got here.  On our side trip to reach Trumansburg, we came down rte 414 from Geneva Falls and experienced first-hand some other “in need of renovating” historical houses.  Some fascinating buildings, almost kind of ghost-towny in spots, and I’m going to make another guess that the local economy can’t support the upkeep on these grand old houses.  So they sit and slowly decay.

Back to the garden.  As you can see from the house photo most of the front acreage is naturalized fields with a few specimen plantings here and there.  The drive up to the house is also a mix of naturalized shrubs and trees, but along both sides are banks of earth spotted with all kinds of treasures.snowdrop bank at Hitch Lyman gardenThe snow and cold had many of them lying down but there was still plenty to see.  We checked in for our visit and headed around the house.  Plantings close to the building were pretty subdued and actually the direct opposite of what most gardeners do.  I put all the little stuff right up around the house, but here the only plantings were a raised terrace with a planted fieldstone sitting area.Winter view of terrace at Hitch Lyman garden

I’ve seen springtime pictures from this vantage point, and the white wisteria and crabapples make for a much more lush view than the current frozen winter aconite among the paving.

Around back is the namesake temple for Mr. Lyman’s Temple Nursery…. snowdrops are the specialty in case you missed that.The Temple Nursery open day hitch Lyman

Behind the temple you can make out the dark green of the yew and boxwood that surround the foraml garden.  I didn’t get any pictures inside the garden, but it’s a formal layout of geometric planting beds filled with lilac, peonies, colchicums, hellebores, and of course snowdrops and other spring bulbs.  Hitch Lyman Formal Garden

Deer seemed to be a problem outside the hedge and protective fence, with plenty of nibbled and buck rubbed shrubs, but once inside there were many signs of spring… in spite of my freezing fingers and cold toes.  helleborus niger at Hitch Lyman garden

galanthus Jade snowdrop HItch LymanOf course there were snowdrops(here’s “Jade”), but the bulk of the snowdrops were in the next (and last) section of the garden.  The woodland garden was furthest from the house and consisted of a narrow path that wound its way through the secondary growth of trees and shrubs that lined the back field.

Here’s how the path looked.Hitch Lyman snowdrop woodland path

There were small clumps of drops everywhere and I was nervous to even use the outer edges of the trail since many clumps edged up to the path.  For a snowdrop fan there was interest galore…. for a non-snowdrop person I suspect they would want someone to widen the path, throw down some mulch, and pick up a few of the fallen twigs.Snowdrops at Temple Nursery

Here are a few clump closeups from the woodland area.galanthus sandersonii group Hitch Lyman Gardengalanthus "diggory" hitch lyman garden

galanthus Lapwing Hitch Lyman Gardengalanthus Hitch Lyman Garden

yellow double snowdrop Hitch Lyman Garden

I’ve got a few more pictures taken of the bank along the driveway but I think I’ll save them for another post.  For now I’ll leave you with some interior shots of the temple (it’s not just for show!).  After losing all sensation in my fingertips, we allowed ourselves a break inside by the temple fire.   Warming up inside the Temple Hitch Lyman Garden

I hope we weren’t crossing any poor-garden-conduct boundaries by going inside, but the door was slightly ajar and the fire was so inviting.  Plus by then we were freezing, and a passing snow squall wasn’t helping matters much.  As we were looking around and considering building our own garden temples, I saw this above the door and had the feeling we were just as welcome here as we had been in the rest of the garden.

Thanks for having us Mr. Lyman.inside the temple Hitch Lyman Garden