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