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.
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!
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.
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.
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’….
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.
Ok, so one more picture of an interesting green.
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.
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 🙂
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.
…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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂