Late -flowering Snowdrops.

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I know many fellow bloggers are unable to understand the snowdrop obsession, although the disease is catching and is infecting more and more of us. I am always amused by gardeners who think that they will buy just one or two different ones and then stop there. No chance; it is a slippery slope and those one or two will inevitably lead you on down the Primrose Path. Or should I say Snowdrop Path.

I do agree with those of you who feel that a mass of ordinary nivalis snowdrops can’t be improved upon. Snowdrops aren’t native to this country, but there are plenty of woods in Suffolk where they have become naturalised. There is a wood not far from where I live which is covered in a large, early-flowering form of nivalis  and it is a wonderful sight in February.

Galanthus nivalis in a Suffolk wood

Galanthus nivalis in a Suffolk wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But snowdrops don’t all look the same and it is lovely to have some different ones and also some to extend the season.

Last Friday I went on what was probably one of the last snowdrop walks of the season at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge. If you want to go on one of these walks next year, they start at 2 p.m. and it is best to book in advance. It is free, and it is  a wonderful way to see the 270 fantastic varieties of snowdrops growing there. You are not allowed to walk along the snowdrop path unaccompanied, which is understandable. I always think that gardeners are nice people, but there are greedy and unscrupulous ones who steal valuable plants, so they have to be protected. It is interesting to walk along with the Assistant Head Gardener, David Jordan and have an  informative talk as you go. The only problem is, photos have to be snatched, as there are always people pressing up behind you, impatient to get on.
I want to show you a few photos which will surely persuade you that snowdrops don’t all look the same. First my favourite snowdrop which I will certainly be raiding my piggy bank for next year, because I feel my life is really not complete without it. The incomparable and instantly recognisable ‘Diggory’.


It is a ‘plicatus’ variety like the pretty ‘Augustus’. Like ‘Augustus’ it has puckered flowers, but in Diggory’s case, they balloon outwards, and then curve in , like a seersucker skirt.

Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’ has been on my wish list for a long time, but another one with yellow ovaries is ‘Spindlestone Surprise’ which seems to make lovely big clumps. It is a hybrid between ‘nivalis’ and ‘plicatus’ and appeared in Northumberland where quite a few yellow snowdrops originated.

Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

Galanthus ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are still not convinced that snowdrops can look very different, here are a couple of very weird ones. I don’t think I will be adding them to my collection.


Like many other new snowdrops, ‘Moses Basket’ appeared at Anglesey Abbey. In fact 20 different ones came from here. When you see how they are grown grouped together, you can see that the bees may well get busy and produce some interesting new ones.
The second picture is of one of the claw-like doubles. I am not sure which it is because I was shoved out of the way by an impatient wheel chair pusher before I could photograph the label. It could be ‘Irish Green’ or ‘Boyd’s Double’ or even ‘Narwal’. It is very weird though.

I have the lovely ‘Trym’ which is such a pretty shape with green splashes on the outer petals. There are several seedlings which came from Galanthus plicatus ‘Trym’ such as ‘Trymlet’ and this pretty ‘Trimmling’
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There are so many lovely snowdrops here, so I will just chose three more which are all gorgeous. I have long wanted a lovely all white ‘Poculiform’  snowdrop which you can see in the next picture.  I love the second  one ‘Alison Hilary’ with the strong green markings on the inner segment and the last one ‘Jessica’ is very pretty, and I put it in for Jessica at RustyDuck blog.


I will show you just a few of my late flowering snowdrops which are all quite distinctive. Annette from My Aberdeen Garden blog showed her lovely ‘Magnet in her Wordless Wednesday post. Annette takes wonderful photos. Here is my ‘Magnet’. You see it is quite recognisable by its extra long pedicels. The slightest breeze sets the flowers swinging.

Galanthus 'Magnet'

Galanthus ‘Magnet’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next one ‘Ikariae’ spreads into big clumps. It has lovely apple green leaves.

Galanthus ikariae

Galanthus ikariae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this next one which is called appropriately enough Galanthus nivalis ‘Greenish’. Some of the virescent snowdrops are quite difficult to grow but this is easy.

Galanthus nivalis 'Greenish'

Galanthus nivalis ‘Greenish’

In my garden the very last snowdrop to flower is Galanthus plicatus. It flowers right through March. It makes big clumps of perfect flowers. ‘Plicatus‘ means pleated and the wide leaves are very distinctive. Galanthus plicatus has been hybridised with other snowdrops to make many new ones. It comes from Turkey and was brought to this country by soldiers returning from the Crimean War.

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus plicatus

For those of you who don’t suffer from ‘White Fever’, and have read so far, I apologise and I assure you that this is the last snowdrop post and I won’t mention them again until October when Galanthus reginae-olgae will be in bloom. If talk about snowdrops seems endless, it is because with careful choosing you can, and I do, have snowdrops in bloom for six months of the year.

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53 Responses to Late -flowering Snowdrops.

  1. Yup, you’ve got the dreaded OCD. But the outcomes are so lovely, don’t try to get cured! The snowdrops are so pretty.

  2. AnnetteM says:

    Lovely post, Chloris and thanks for the plug. I think you are probably right that I won’t be satisfied with just buying one or two different snowdrops, but I am still adamant that I won’t spend a fortune. I am just wondering how much that ‘Spindlestone Surprise’ costs – I fell in love with that at a recent snowdrop visit. Just wondering, not buying – well not this year anyway!

  3. The passion for snowdrops is catching on in the US. I attended a gardening symposium in NC on Tuesday and one of the speakers there was singing praises, especially about one he said smells like bitter almonds–Galanthus x allenii. Diggery must be one you have to see in person to appreciate, though. I know you like it but it just looks odd to me. Our climate in the Upstate of SC is iffy for Galanthus; of the ones I know, Magnet performs best.

  4. Chloris says:

    I have allenii and Ginn’ s imperatii which is also supposed to smell of bitter almonds. I am not sure what bitter almonds smell of, or even if it is a nice thing to smell of, but these two just smell of honey to me.

  5. Pauline says:

    You can’t have too many posts about snowdrops! Being able to extend the snowdrop season by buying “specials” makes it all worth while I think. I’m so glad you say that G “Spindlestone Surprise bulks up well, I bought one bulb last year and have two flowers this year, so here’s hoping for future years.

  6. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. xx

  7. Cathy says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your lovely collection, Chloris – perhaps I will do one last snopwdrop post this season too 😉 Spindlestone Surprise was one of my new ones this year – and I was going to treat myself to Trym but Avon had sold out 😦 I haven’t any of the poculiform ones yet either as I have tried to keep the more expensive bulbs to only one or so a year (not that I am as restrained as that may sound!). I don’t think we will make Anglesey Abbey this year after all, but will definitely do so next year

    • Chloris says:

      Oh, you have Spindlestone Surprise, how lovely. I got Trym from Suffolk Plant Heritage. Every year they twin scale snowdrops and sell them quite cheaply to members. I have my name on a Trumps which should be ready next year.
      Anglesey Abbey is lovely, if you come next year, make sure you book a snowdrop walk.

      • Cathy says:

        I am giving all my newbies special attention… Thanks for info about needing to book for AA’s snowdrop walks as I wouldn’t have realised if I hadn’t read it in your post. Even if we are not going there this year we will still be over to Suffolk at some stage. I am going to have a go at some twin-scaling myself, not with anything too precious though!

  8. Gorgeous Snowdrops! I enjoy them–in person and in photos. But I wouldn’t say I have an obssession. More likely, I have a Crocus obssession. I could stare at just about any Crocus flower for hours, and I so enjoy the way they open to the sun and close at night. Sigh.

    • Chloris says:

      I love crocuses too, the trouble is that unless we get sunshine they don’ t strut their stuff. Today has been a beautiful day and they were all fully open, looking shiny and beautiful.

  9. Debra says:

    If you are in a group of people and someone says, “Think of a dog” everyone probably has a different image of what that word means and looks like. For me if you say spring flower I think of things like snowdrops or maybe trout lilies. I am having some fun imagining a whole field of them.

  10. Anna says:

    You can post about snowdrops ad infinitum as far I’m concerned Chloris. I can’t say that either ‘Moses Basket’ or the double claw-like one do it for me on first sight but their mothers must love them. I think you should be able to obtain’ Diggory now without breaking the piggy bank 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Moses Basket is really peculiar and freakish and I certainly won’ t be adding it to my collection. But next year Diggory will be first on my list.

  11. Pretty flowers They tell us that spring is on our doorstep 🙂

  12. Kris P says:

    They are undeniably very pretty. As someone who has plant fixations of her own (Grevillea being just one), I’d be the last to criticize. What’s most surprising to this Southern Californian is how epidemic the snowdrop obsession is in the UK – I can’t think of any plant that has such a pervasive impact of gardeners here.

  13. snowbird says:

    Snowdrops blooming for six months! That’s something to aspire too.
    I have always loved snowdrops and the endless varieties fascinate me too, when the garden is roughly in shape I shall begin to indulge myself!
    I do love Diggory…..and agree that the weird ones are rather warped looking…My favourite had to be the all white Peculiform.
    Now here’s the thing….there are lots of rough areas of land where I walk the dogs, kind of meshed off….and there are carpets of snowdrops there……I am naughty to consider sneaking out at night with a trowel and a pair of secateurs……it’s SO tempting, and I’m not out of the woods yet!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Oh you naughty girl, what are the secateurs for? Are you going to use them as wire cutters to break in? Oh dear, what lengths we snowdrop fanciers go to to satisfy our snowdrop craving. I had better send you some; I don’ t want you to get arrested.

  14. rusty duck says:

    Diggory is on my list for next year too. And Greenish. The one I was after this year, expensive and (therefore fortuitously) unavailable was ‘Grumpy’. Have you seen that? Now that you’ve introduced me to her ‘Jessica’ is obviously a must must have! 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I love Grumpy too, but yes it is expensive. I had to mention Jessica because I thought of you when I saw it, and I thought you really ought to have this one.

  15. Julie says:

    I am starting to appreciate the subtle differences now between various snowdrops, I am so slow to this party though, post some more please, it is helping!

    • Chloris says:

      You see , I told you the disease is catching. Next year you will find that you have to get a few more to enjoy. And then you will be well and truly hooked.

  16. mattb325 says:

    I do love the snowdrops – but haven’t yet bought any new ones – there were a handful of them in the garden right next to the house but they may have been wrecked when the renovations were done. So if nothing appears this spring, I shall have to get the ‘bug’ and add some to the yard :-).

  17. Alain says:

    I am ashamed to confess that I am one of these fellow bloggers unable to understand the snowdrop obsession.However, I have a very good (I think it is very good) excuse. Snowdrops are not really suited to our climate. They really are plants for places with long springs. In our climate their blooming season is very short. Most year, the moment they finally come out it quickly gets too hot for them. I suppose I would develop a taste for them if they bloomed for weeks on end.

  18. I am thinking this is a British thing? I had some snowdrops when I lived further north. I should be embarrassed to say one kind and no idea what it was. I really wanted some Scilla..
    Oh,well.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes I expect you are right and galanthomania is mainly a British eccentricity. Mind you, there are a few American bloggers who seem to have caught it too.

  19. Cathy says:

    They are all lovely and I have enjoyed all your snowdrop photos this year Chloris! I can quite understand the fascination and if I had the right conditions I could easily get infected too!

    • Chloris says:

      They certainly fill a gap when there isn’ t too much else around in the garden to get excited about. They are getting over now so in a week or two the ‘ White Fever’ should be in remission.

  20. Brian Skeys says:

    I think it is very impressive to have snowdrops flowering for six months of the year.
    Your snowdrop blogs are very informative, I am still not sure if I have ‘Arnott’ or ‘Magnet’ in the garden!

  21. I am one who loves sweeps of simple nivalis but I am very taken by your yellow snowdrop. I will try to resist though, or I might get swept away by the mania!

    • Chloris says:

      Nivalis is lovely, but I wouldn’t be without Elwesii for its big, bold blooms and its early flowering. And then it is nice to have some Greatorex doubles…… and so it goes on.

  22. bittster says:

    I hope you had an overall enjoyable visit regardless of shoving tourmates. I’m not much of a group follower, I tend to dawdle and irritate the guide and others who are in a rush so I understand your frustration… although I have yet to be pushed out of the way!
    You are nowhere near my snowdrop limit. Our season has yet to begin and I will forewarn you that many more photos are yet to be posted!

  23. You’re convincing me that they’re not all the same! I love the seersucker skirts of “Diggory”. The yellow “Spindlestone Surprise” is so unusual. And I just love the ones with the green markings on their outer petals, both “Trimmling” and “Greenish”. Maybe it would be nice to have one or two different ones – I’m sure they could easily be squeezed in. Oh, dear!

  24. I had no idea that there were so many varieties of snowdrops and each with just a subtle difference. I really must try to visit Anglesey Abbey this year as it is not too far from me …

  25. Chloris says:

    I recommend a winter visit to Anglesey Abbey and also the Cambridge Botanical Garden has a lovely winter garden.

  26. Annette says:

    I always enjoy reading your snowdrop posts, Chloris. You know it’s funny but I wonder how the different varieties can be kept pure as they tend to cross-breed so easily, at least here in my garden. I’ve planted two different groups a while back and couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the flowers this year as hardly two look the same.

  27. Chloris says:

    At Anglesey Abbey I noticed a ring of seedlings around each clump. I asked David Jordan about it, and he said that as soon as the seedlings are mature enough they are all moved to somewhere else in the garden. They keep a careful eye on these seedlings and sometimes they grow onto something special; that is why there are so many new snowdrops that started life at Anglesey Abbey.

  28. I do appreciate snowdrops. In fact I got home from a trip last night and when I got up this morning I saw that the snow had mostly melted and there were snowdrops in bloom! I haven’t developed a connoisseur’s appreciation of the subtle distinctions between snowdrop varieties, but I enjoyed your walk through the different kinds of Galanthus.

  29. Chloris says:

    Well, clearly it is only a matter of time. This is how it starts. Next Winter you will start to be enchanted by all the subtle differences and then you are on the slippery slope.

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