February Delights – Snowdrops and Hellebores.


My snowdrops are still enchanting me. Lovely Galanthus Lady Elphinstone is elegantly dressed in yellow petticoats. She is a double form of nivalis,  but made special by the yellow markings.


Another lovely snowdrop: Galanthus nivalis ‘Brenda Troyle’IMG_1498.

She has large,nicely shaped flowers which have a lovely honey scent.

Galanthus Magnet dangles its head on a long wiry pedicle. I dug this up for a friend last year and forgot to give it to her.


Galanthus plicatus Augustus is not quite out, I took this photo last year. It is a plicatus with short broad leaves and nice, round, flowers. It is quite distinctive.


It is possibly a bit silly to grow lots of different snowdrops that don’t look  any different from each other unless you read the label. I want to add Diggory to my collection next year though; he is very distinctive and immediately recognizable. Anna at Green Tapestry showed us a beautiful picture of her Diggory recently. I am sure everyone who saw it has put him on their wish list.

In February, when I am not counting green spots on my snowdrops  I am to be found  peering up my Hellebores’ skirts. The trouble with Helleborus orientalis is that the heads so often face downwards.  The primrose yellow Helleborus hybridus ‘Bradfield Buttercup Yellow’ holds its heads up well as do the Ericsmithiae hybrids but the rest of my Hellebores have to be examined one by one. Each one is a little different so it takes a while.

Helleborus hybridus 'Bradfield Yellow'

Helleborus hybridus ‘Bradfield Yellow’

IMG_0384 IMG_0386 IMG_0255 IMG_0385 IMG_0285 IMG_0250 IMG_5992 IMG_6004 IMG_5999 IMG_6001 IMG_6002 IMG_6008 IMG_6009 IMG_6018

The Pianist thinks I am a Hellebore bore and so does Pip.


Have you ever seen a dog look more bored than this? Hellebores have this effect on him..

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33 Responses to February Delights – Snowdrops and Hellebores.

  1. Pauline says:

    You have a stunning selection of Hellebores, ours have only just started to open, there are lots more to come. Snowdrops and Hellebores are so wonderful at this time of year brightening up the dull grey days.

    • Chloris says:

      The Hellebores came out early this year, I can’t ever remember them coming out in January before. They do keep us going through the winter months don’t they?

  2. Cathy says:

    Other than my displaced August and your H Bradfield Yellow (and your dog, of course!) you could have been taking photos in our garden, Chloris! They are all so lovely – and yet you take yourself off to distant climes at this time of year 😉

  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    I love your delight in your variety of snowdrops! Our hellebores are getting underway but we’re having a freeze for the next few days so they’re all lying flat on the ground at the moment, such a sad sight. Your hellebores are looking gorgeous. I love that they’re always blooming for Valentine’s day. One may be forgiven for peering up skirts on that day a little more than might usually be the case.

    • Chloris says:

      Another freeze, how awful, you must be sick of it.The great thing about Hellebores is the way they perk up as soon as it gets warmer even if they have been lying flat on their faces.

  4. rusty duck says:

    I adore hellebores. They look way too exotic to be flowering in England in February. Where are you off to, you lucky thing?

  5. Chloris says:

    I love Hellebores too.
    The Cote d’Azur where apparently it has been raining practically non-stop since December, just like at home. Never mind, warm rain is perhaps not as bad as cold rain.

  6. Robbie says:

    I do not think there is anything wrong with growing many different cultivars because you enjoy them!:-) That snowdrop at the top of the page looks like a casting of a flower in porcelain. Amazing collection of hellebores.I am taking your advice and checking into the ones you recommeded, but I just have to find a spot for them:-)

    • Chloris says:

      The thing about snowdrops is that so many of them look the same and I think it probably makes more sense to get ones that are so different that you can identify them even if you lose the labels. I do hope you get some Hellebores to enjoy. If they are happy they will seed around and you will have lots.

      • Robbie says:

        I am working on it, but I was looking at your growing zones in England + Europe in general. My daughter’s family live in Bristol and I never knew they had warmer zones than we do here in USA Midwest. You get a lot of rain which we only get in the early spring if that + suffer from horrible droughts in our summers. I am wondering when would it be best for me to introduce these type of plants, spring? , summer? , autumn? Would snowdrops work in our zone 5 weather? We have -10 to -20 winters + sometimes colder with wind! Sorry, so many questions, but I am intersted in biodiveristy on my property + I thought they would be a nice addition:-)

      • Chloris says:

        Snowdrops benefit from a period of cold and even freezing weather in order to initiate flowering. I think you could grow them without any problem. If you can get hold of bulbs in the green, that is now with all their leaves intact, this is generally thought to be the best way to get them established. I think the bulbs dry out quite quickly and they need to be fresh. Can you buy snowdrops ‘in the green’ there?

  7. Kris P says:

    Your snowdrop and hellebore collections are impressive. I never knew there were so many varieties of snowdrop! Neither genus does particularly well for me here in southern California, although I grew a small number of both in my former garden. I’d like to try snowdrops again and some of the hellebore hybrids but everything that needs an ample supply of water may be off my wish list until our current drought is resolved.

    • Chloris says:

      I think snowdrops need a cold spell to trigger growth. You may have a problem with snowdrops and Hellebores but you can grow so many other lovely things that are impossible here.

  8. Holleygarden says:

    Your snowdrops are pretty, especially the yellow one. But I just adore hellebores, although I don’t have many. Mine haven’t started blooming yet. Yours are gorgeous! Too bad they bore Pip – he looks like he’s just the right height to peer into their blooms! 😉

  9. Chloris says:

    I love Hellebores too and the wonderful thing is that they are all so different and everyone of them is lovely. Some of my doubles are still not out and I have a lovely slate coloured one and a picotee which are still to bloom. They go on flowering for ages.

  10. Annette says:

    Time to shrink as good old Beverley Nichols used to say and looking at your treasures I won’t blame you for shrinking for hours each day looking up into skirts and throats, Chloris! It’s such a special time of year when we truely appreciate the little things. At least Pip doesn’t chew your flowers…ours does when I look at a plant for too long. Thanks for sharing these fabulous images. Have a good weekend 🙂

  11. Chloris says:

    Pip is too old and dignified to chew things, Annette. He is 15 now and after all these years he is resigned to the fact that I spend ages peering at my flowers. But he gets so bored.
    I remember B. N and his shrinking. He made a river of Chionodoxa which I thought was a lovely idea.

  12. Flighty says:

    With the weather as it’s been it must be especially nice to see all these February delights. xx

  13. Anna says:

    Oh thanks for the mention Chloris 🙂 I would gladly give you a ‘Diggory’ if I had surplus bulbs but have not get to that stage yet. I do have the odd spare ‘Blonde Inge’ so do let me know if you would like one. What a fine array of hellebores – another favourite of mine. Have not seen ‘Bradfield Buttercup Yellow’ which looks like a fine plant. Is it more creamy in colour than yellow?
    I feel for Pip – my husband has a similar look on his face when I make him inspect my snowdrops.

  14. Chloris says:

    Thank you so much, I would love a Blonde Inge, Anna, how wonderful. And what can I give you in return? A Madelaine or a Walrus or Ginn’s Imperatii? Bradfield Buttercup comes from Harvey’s Garden Plants which is quite near me. He has some lovely Hellebores. This one is deeper yellow than it looks in the photo.

    • Anna says:

      You are more than welcome Chloris. I would dearly love a ‘Walrus’ if you can spare one. I lost mine in 2010. I grew all my snowdrops in pots outside and we had a very wet summer that year followed by some early cold spells ie before January. The consequences were disastrous for my snowdrops. Since then they now all reside under cover in a cold greenhouse for the winter and I am slowly planting bulbs out in the garden when they have multiplied. If you would like to email at thegreentapestry@googlemail.com with your details I will then be in touch with you.

      • Chloris says:

        A Walrus it is then.
        I think it is a good idea to start snowdrops off in pots the greenhouse, I never thought of that.
        I will email you about snowdrop exchange.

  15. Chloris – you’ve a lovely selection of both Snowdrops and Hellebores. Pip and your OH are not alone – everyone in my house turns an odd shade when I start asking them too admire the plants.
    If off to the SRGC early bulb show in Dunblane next weekend and am hoping to come home with my first named varieties of snowdrops. I’ve not done a lot of research but the G. plicatus is new to me and I do like the thicker foliage it has.

  16. Chloris says:

    Galanthus plicatus is great, I have a strong growing one that is very late flowering and grows very tall. The season gets extended by having late flowering Plicatus. You will have fun at the SRGC show next week. Ian Christie came to talk to my Garden Club last year, he was so interesting. I believe he is a former President. Have a great time, I shall be interested to hear what you bought.

  17. Lady Elphinstone is a very unique and lovely snowdrop. Makes my snowdrops look very boring by comparison. Nice mix of Hellebore colors.

  18. Chloris says:

    Thank you Jason, is Lady Elphinstone available in the US? She is worth seeking out.

  19. I know I rave on about scented shrubs at this time of year, but where would we be without the simple snowdrop? I liked what you said about choosing varieties that have something different about them. I particularly like Galanthus “Lady Elphinstone” for that very reason – the yellow skirts are so unusual! And colour is also what I like about Hellebores too. What an array of striking colours you find with them! And, as you know Chloris, I’m right on the doorstep to find some magnificent specimens!

  20. Chloris says:

    You are lucky to be near Ashwood Nurseries. Do show us if you buy some new ones.

  21. bittster says:

    I love this post. I’ve got nothing else to add except that the look on Pip’s face is priceless!

  22. Chloris says:

    Seeing his little face looking so fed up does make me feel guilty. I wish I could teach him to knit or something so he would have something to do whilst I am gardening.

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