I think all snowdrop lovers are in the throes of galanthomania right now. If you are feeling the first signs of this condition, then be warned it is incurable. You might think that you are immune. You start off by thinking that it would be nice to add a few more to your collection. You have ‘nivalis’ but it would be good to extend the season. Perhaps a nice clump of the reliable ‘S. Arnott.’ Or how about an early snowdrop with large flowers and lovely glaucous leaves? ‘Elwesii’ snowdrops bloom early and there is a great variation in the markings. They are not expensive. Their broad grey leaves are supervolute, which simply means that the outer leaf is wrapped round the inner one.
The flowers usually have two green marks like the ones in the next photo. If they have one mark then they are called var.’monstictus’
Then perhaps you might fall for the elegant, slender teardrops of atkinsii. This snowdrop has an A.G.M. award.
I found a Galanthus atkinsii called ‘Lyn’ last year. I can’t really see how it differs, but I bought it anyway.
It is nice to have a few snowdrops for fragrance if you like to pick them for the house. I discovered that my bunch of Galanthus nivalis f. Flore Pleno were fragrant when I picked them for a vase on Monday. I bought two others for fragrance. ‘Brenda Troyle’ which looks very much like ‘S.Arnott’. The other one is ‘Ginn’s Imperati’ which is supposed to smell of bitter almonds. I can’t detect it yet, and I forgot to sniff last year. Maybe it will smell strongly when the flowers open up properly. The flowers are a nice tear- drop shape similar to the ones of ‘Atkinsi’.
And then there are all the Greatorex doubles. You get a few and realise that they are all quite similar, but still you must have some. Several are named after Shakespearean heroines. My favourite is the neat ‘Titania’ with her green tipped petticoats.
This one is ‘Washfield Titania’ which is considered a superior form. I bought it from Graham Gough of Marchants Nuursery He worked at the wonderful Washfield Nursery for 16 years.
One that is quite different is the eccentric ‘ Blewbury Tart’ which opens wide and holds its head upwards or sideways rather than hanging down. The rest of my doubles are only just coming out so I will save them for another day.
Magnet has a really long pedical. I used to live very near to the house where Cedric Morris had lived. ‘Benton Magnet’ came from his garden ‘Benton End’. ‘Magnet’ seemed to be all over this part of the village and I had it in my garden. I can’t see how ‘Benton Magnet’ differs from the ordinary ‘Magnet’.
The biggest snowdrop I have is the Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’. This beauty comes from Anglesey Abbey and is named after the vicar of the local church. I think the name is quite appropriate for a snowdrop.
I love the snowdrop Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’ which has shiny green leaves which is unusual for a nivalis snowdrop. As it matures you get poculiform flowers. This means that the iner segments have no colour on them.
So many snowdrops look very similar, so it is nice to get ones with distinct markings on their inner perianth. The lovely Galanthus x hybridus ‘Robin Hood’ has a very distinct green cross. This is an old snowdrop grown by the nurseryman James Allen in 1891. It is thought that the one we have now does not really resemble the original. I don’t know why he called it ‘Robin Hood’; his nursery was in Somerset, so nowhere near Sherwood Forest.
‘Little John’ has a similar marking but it is paler in colour. It was found in E.B.Anderson’s garden in 1992. it is a nice robust plant.
I am very fond of Merlin which has a lovely green mark on the perianth. This is another James Allen snowdrop.
If you start looking at the leaves you realise that you can get a snowdrop that has the glaucous leaves of elwesii which are twisted; so you might as well add ‘gracilis’ to your collection. And then there are the lovely bright green leaves of Galanthus woronowii.
I also have the very similar Galanthus ikarie but it is later flowering so I will show you another day.
There are several yellowish snowdrops or ones that have yellow on them like this Galanthus plicatus ‘Madelaine’ which has yellow ovaries.
I really don’t think that I will rest until I can add Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’ to my collection. It is a beautiful snowdrop with lovely yellow markings.
I will finish with my latest snowdrop. I can find no reference to it anywhere so I think that it must be a new one . Graham Gough from Marchant’s Nursery came to speak to our Garden Group on Saturday and I bought it from him along with ‘Washfield Titania’ and a couple more which I will show you another day.
So here it is; my latest love, Galanthus ‘Fusby’ which is a dumpy little snowdrop with little dimpled seersucker flowers. I think it is quite enchanting.
I still long for Galanthus ‘Diggory’, amongst other gorgeous, but expensive snowdrops. It does seem extravagant spending so much money on one little bulb. Well it is, of course. But most of them clump up, and if they are slow to do this, you can twin- scale them. Some of you may not know how to do this, so in the Summer I will show you how .
If you have not succumbed to ‘White Fever’ then you are probably wondering what the fuss is about. I think if snowdrops bloomed in the summer, none of us would be on our hands and knees counting the green spots. In fact, as soon as the snowdrops finish and the garden is full of other goodies, the disease goes into remission. Meanwhile we can’t get enough of them.