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.
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!