White Fever.

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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.

Galanthus elwesii

Galanthus elwesii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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’

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Then perhaps you might fall for the elegant, slender teardrops of atkinsii. This snowdrop has an A.G.M. award.

Galanthus atkinsii

Galanthus atkinsii

I found a Galanthus atkinsii called ‘Lyn’ last year. I can’t really see how it differs, but I bought it anyway.

Galanthus 'Lyn'

Galanthus ‘Lyn’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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’.

Galanthus  'Ginns Imperati'

Galanthus ‘Ginns Imperati’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Galanthus 'Washfield Titania'

Galanthus ‘Washfield Titania’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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’.

Galanthus 'Magnet

Galanthus ‘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.

Galanthus 'Reverend Hailstone'

Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Galanthus 'Anglesey Abbey'

Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Galanthus 'Robin Hood'

Galanthus ‘Robin Hood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘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.

Galanthus 'Little John'

Galanthus ‘Little John’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very fond of Merlin which has a lovely green mark on the perianth. This is another James Allen snowdrop.

Galanthus 'Merlin'

Galanthus ‘Merlin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Galanthus woronowii

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.

Galanthus plicatus 'Madelaine'

Galanthus plicatus ‘Madelaine’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Galanthus 'Fusby'

Galanthus ‘Fusby’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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52 Responses to White Fever.

  1. snowbird says:

    I absolutely loved that pic of you and the little dog peering at the snowdrop, I see your son’s talented partner has been at it again!!!!
    A heavenly display of snowdrops, I have just read Pauline’s post too and now wish I had more snowdrops….all I have is a sad little clump and I don’t even know which they are…I shall have to post a pic and have you name them for me. Galanthus ‘Reverend Hailstone’…..wow….what a name eh? Some of the snowdrop leaves almost look as though they should produce a bluebell….xxx

    • Chloris says:

      My son’ s lovely partner did the picture of me and Mr. Pip last year when I wrote about snowdrops. She very kindly left out all my wrinkles. She is a very talented lady.
      What sort of leaves do your snowdrops have? If they are narrow they are probably nivalis. Elwesii are broad and silvery grey, they bloom much earlier than Nivalis. Plicatus are different again. I will show them another time.

  2. That is quite a collection, thank you for sharing it.

    • Chloris says:

      They are a joy in winter for those of us who live in colder climes. But you have other lovely things that we can’ t grow.

      • I had some heirloom Snowdrops in my garden when I lived further north. They must have been the straight species, I got them from a friend’s grandmother (100 yrs old in 1980’s) They were much taller than yours with a simple picot edge and green dots between the picots on the flower. The foliage was a half meter tall (18-24″ if I got the metrics wrong) and the flowers were taller, i shared them with my mother and we both enjoyed them.

  3. Cathy says:

    I love this post and will have another look through it in a moment. I have no idea if galanthomania has spread to Germany yet… certainly not down here in Bavaria anyway, so it is lovely to see all your treasures and feel the excitement and enthusiasm! 🙂 I do rather like the last one, ‘Fusby’, and your top picture is brilliant!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy. The header is ths lovely Cyclamen coum with a silvery leaf. It is an absolute delight.
      Is it difficult to find unusual snowdrops in Germany?

      • Cathy says:

        Oh yes! This month I discovered there is a new network of collectors of plants in Germany – the snowdrop collection consists of five!

  4. Julie says:

    Chloris I am not a galanthophile, but I can see the delight you have for snowdrops and its infectious.

  5. rusty duck says:

    ‘Fusby’ is very beautiful. I am slowly but surely becoming hooked.

  6. Anna says:

    Oh some familiar friends Chloris plus others on my wish list. ‘Fusby’ looks like a sweetheart. I’ve not heard of him before. I’m not sure why but ‘Fusby’ sounds decidedly masculine to me and he looks as if he could be a relative of ‘Diggory’. I’ve got both ‘Magnets’ but they look the same to me too 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      The label for Fusby says Galanthus plicatus subsp.byzantinus. I think Diggory is plicatus isn’ t he? So is Augustus and he has nice dimpled round flowers too.

  7. Kris P says:

    Your post is enough to give me snowdrop envy – and I already suffer badly from peony envy as it is! I tried to think of an equivalent fixation I’m afflicted with – Grevilleas probably come closest at present.

    • Chloris says:

      Well I am not surprised, your grevilleas are fabulous. Maybe you can’ t grow snowdrops, but I drool at all the wonderful plants in your garden, blooming away, whilst we are in the middle of winter here.

  8. Wow, impressive collection of Snowdrops! I have a few and I enjoy them, but they’re so short-lived in my climate. They seem to bloom just as the snow is melting, and if we get another snow on top, they’re done for. I think they would be better in your climate–brightening up the landscape, rather than trying to grow out of the snow. But I do appreciate them!

    • Chloris says:

      Well the French call them ‘ Perce- neige’ and they do look lovely growing through the snow. They are amazingly resilient and bounce back after the cruellest frosts. Luckily the bit of snow we had has gone and I must say they look even better with a green background.

  9. Tina says:

    What a treat this was for me to read! I can’t grow snowdrops–it’s just too warm here. Well, I might be able, with lots of babying, putting in the fridge for some period of time, forgetting about them, throwing them out (ooops!) when I can’t recognize what they are, when they’ve been in the fridge for a season or two. So, I’ll enjoy yours and learn all about their different spots, long pedicels and other snowdrop facts. Lovely photos!

  10. AnnetteM says:

    What a lovely collection. I think I am showing the first signs of this affliction. Last year I skimmed over these posts not really understanding what all the fuss was about. This year I must confess I have been looking at snowdrops for sale on the web and have just read your post with great interest. I had already noticed elwesii with its lovely large leaves on a nursery site I was looking at. My problem is that all these snowdrops seem to be sold singly and for quite a price. I want some lovely clumps to put in now to enjoy next year, so I might be going for 100 of the common variety, but maybe I could just get one or two others. . . . .
    Is it any cheaper, or even possible, to buy these snowdrops as bulbs rather than ‘in the green’ or have I just said a bad word?

    • Chloris says:

      Oh join the club Annette! Snowdrops are usually bought ‘ in the green’ because the bulbs dry out easily and then you have less chance of success. I think it is a good idea to grow a couple of hundred of a common variety such as Nivalis for massing and now is the time to be thinking about it. Then you can gradually build up a collection of special ones .

      • AnnetteM says:

        It’s official – I have joined having just purchased online a few different varieties ‘in the green’. Not as expensive as I had first thought for the more common ones anyway. I got very excited the other day to discover I actually have a couple of elwesii growing in the garden from some bulbs I put in a few years ago. It looks like only half of them survived though so have gone for ‘in the green’ this year. I was so excited when I saw the different markings – it had me scurrying to look for the bulb packet which thankfully I found.

  11. Christina says:

    I loved this post; I’m not one of the afflicted but I would probably have succumbed if I had continued to live in England. I would just like some singles and doubles somewhere but I think my soil is just too dry for them, perhaps a couple of small pots I can hide away in a shady spot in summer – there, it looks like the bug is beginning to bite!

  12. mattb325 says:

    I’m not afflicted, but I think I’ll have to add these bulbs to my (very large) bulb shopping list this autumn 🙂

  13. Yum, yum, yum! I love your snowdrops especially the Reverend Hailstone.
    My blank canvas needs snowdrops under the trees and I have managed to get hold of some regulars in the green. I am really missing the clumps at my last garden and can see how easy it would be to become obsessed. Thanks for sharing. ps have you grown these from dry bulbs or purchased in the green?

  14. Chloris says:

    No, I never buy dry bulbs. Mine are all either bought in the green, or are swaps from gardening friends who twin- scale. I am going to do a post on twin scaling in June. It would be great to get the blogging community twin – scaling and swapping snowdrops. The prettiest are so ridiculously expensive to buy.

  15. Flighty says:

    An interesting post. Much as I like snowdrops I don’t think that I’ll succumb to ‘White Fever’ as you, and many others, joyfully do at this time of year. xx

  16. bittster says:

    I love this post and I’m looking forward to reading your June post on twin scaling. Already I have a few common ones earmarked for this and can really use some guidance this summer as I give it a whirl.
    I may have to admit to white fever as well. I step back and forth between obsession and embarrassment as I thrill over all their tiny nuances and then step back and see only a mass of small white flowers with a bit of green on some of them. I keep waiting for someone to blurt out that the emperor has no clothes on.
    Frank

    • Chloris says:

      Of course you have white fever, I already knew that. You showed us some wonderful snowdrops on a post last winter .
      The emperor might not have any clothes but he has some very nice green spots.

  17. Brian Skeys says:

    Reading blogs about snowdrops helps spread the disease, I have been out on my knees trying to photograph my snowdrops to try and identify them. I THINK I have 3 different ones?
    You see what you have started Chloris, with your informative post and great photos!
    P.S I like the idea of ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Merlin’ oh and ‘Revered Hailstone’.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Brian. Are you going to show us your snowdrops? If you make sure you get the leaves as well as the flowers in the photographs, it is easier for people to come up with suggestions as to what they might be.

  18. Darn! I need to stop reading these snowdrop posts, my list for the Early Bulb show in a fortnight is already as long as both my arms!!
    Great post and will some super recommendations. We had a talk last year on Twin Scaling at the SRGC show, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Mind you I’m useless at fiddly things so should try something large at first – if and when I ever get round to it.

  19. Chloris says:

    Snowdrops are expensive but if we all get twinscaling we can do swaps. It is not difficult at all. The trouble is you need an airing cupboard which I no longer have. I have to borrow a bit of space in a friend’ s.

  20. Debra says:

    Your posts about snowdrops inspired me to try growing some. The first green bits are pushing through and I am so thrilled!

    • Chloris says:

      Oh how exciting. I wonder which variety you are growing. With luck they will spread and give you pleasure for years to come.

      • Debra says:

        I can’t believe I already have forgotten what kind they are! I -think- they are Leucojum Gravetye. But seeing Tina’s comment above I am worried they won’t naturalize. I’ll also have to look up those latin names — Leucojum and Galanthus. That kind of suggests I am talking about something entirely different. oops.

      • Chloris says:

        Well yes, actually you are. It sounds as if you are talking about the Summer Snowflake.; Leucojum aestivum ‘ Gravetye Giant’. Very nice but not a snowdrop. I don’ t know why they are called Summer Snowflakes, mine are in bloom now.
        It just shows how important Latin is to make sure we know what we are all talking about.

  21. jenhumm116 says:

    Although I only have a few common snowdrops, I fear that the fever is spreading in my direction.
    I particularly like your new ‘Fusby’ but the one I’d really love to get hold of is ‘Grumpy’!

  22. Chloris says:

    Grumpy is so cute but unfortunately, expensive. So many of the really desirable ones are silly money.

  23. Annette says:

    What a great post and I also love the picture of you and the little doggy! As much as I love snowdrops I’m not addicted (yet?). For me it’s bliss to roll around in a snowdrop wood with my camera and there absolutely heavenly creatures even if they’re ‘just the ordinary’ G. nivalis but I wouldn’t refuse the opportunity of a portrait shooting of the more blue blooded ones 😉

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Annette. You just can’ t beat ordinary ‘ nivalis’ growing en masse in great lakes of glistening white. Wonderful. But I love to have groups of special ones to gloat over . I like them in pots too, so that I can enjoy them in the greenhouse when the north – easterly wind makes the garden inhospitable.

  24. I have succumbed to galanthomania and ordered a few new ones to start my collection. Now I just am wishing to see mine in about 2 months…..wishing for my snow to melt soon.

  25. My snowdrops are just the common ones and they refuse to stick more than just the tips of their little green heads out of the soil. I am dropless but looking forward to finally having something green and blooming.

  26. Chloris says:

    I hope your snowdrops will appear soon. How absolutely awful to be dropless.

  27. Linda Tizzard says:

    Have only just found this site, I too have “White Fever” I have a small orchard which comes alive with single and double snowdrops and then an area with my specials which include Little John, Robin Hood, Bill Bishop, Lyn, Alan’s Treat, Spindlestone Surprise, Cordelia, Lady Beatrix Stanley, Hill Poe, Galatea and hope in the new season to get Ding Dong and Madeleine and maybe a few others. Once bitten by the fever it is hard to cure.

    • Chloris says:

      Indeed, you clearly have it badly. Do you have any early ones? The season has started now and the excitement mounts as it goes on. Snowdrops are what makes the winter bearable.

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