In a Vase on Monday. Snowdrops!

‘Chaste snowdrop, venturous harbinger of spring,

And pensive monitor of fleeting years!’  To a Snowdrop. William Wordsworth.

I’m not surprised that Lakeland Willy wrote odes to these little beauties. I almost feel one coming on myself, except in this day and age I don’t think you could get away with something like ‘Chaste snowdrop, venturous harbinger of spring’. Anyway, they are not really chaste at all, their promiscuity has given rise to many exciting new ones which  strain the purses of enthusiasts like me.

In January and February I pick handful of snowdrops  and have a succession of snowy white blooms on my dining room table.  I am lucky to have an ancient garden with drifts of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis spreading everywhere. This is so common that many people think it is native. It actually comes from southern Europe but it has been growing so long in this country that it has spread from cottage gardens and churchyards and romps away on verges and woodlands in many parts of the country. I have two different strains, in some areas they are still in tight bud.

Galanthus nivalis

It has nothing to do with where they are growing, these next ones are in full sunlight.

Galanthus nivalis

But these next ones are in full bloom. I tried planting some of these early bloomers in the same place as the late bloomers but it made no difference to their time of flowering so they must be a different strain.

Galanthus nivalis

I suppose this clump needs dividing but it looks so pretty.

I noticed the ones in the churchyard are all in bloom too, so perhaps mine came from here years ago.

As they grow in such generous abundance there are always plenty for a vase. Here they are looking pretty in my glass snowflake vase.

But I wanted some fragrant ones too so I picked a few ‘Ginn’s Imperati’ as these are sweet scented; some people say they smell of almonds but I can’t detect that. They are large snowdrops and until Saturday when I saw ‘Ginn’s Imperati’ at Plant Heritage I thought this clump was the large, strong growing and fragrant ‘S. Arnott’.  But apparently I had my labels confused. I am pretty sure now it is ‘Ginn’s Imperati, and very pretty it is too.

Galanthus ‘Ginn’s Imperati’

This snowdrop was found growing near Rome by a garden writer, Robert Calthorne-Hardy and grown on by Ron Ginns in the 1950s. A few in a vase scent the room. I put them in one of my old inkwells with a couple of leaves from Arum italicum.

Galanthus ‘Ginn’s Imperati’

If you see them side by side with Galanthus nivalis you can see how much bigger they are.

Whilst we are talking snowdrops, at least I am, your attention has perhaps wandered off if you are not a fanatic, but I am going to slip in just a couple more.

Galanthus ‘Trymlet’

I do hope this is not just too much snowdrop for you, I don’t want to leave you feeling like this.

Galanthus ‘Grumpy’

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In a Vase on Monday. Cathy too has the snowdrop bug and there is no cure for it. Do go and see and what Cathy and all the Monday vase fillers are doing today.


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29 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Snowdrops!

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh…there is a grumpy face.

  2. Annette says:

    Glorious abundance, don’t think I’ll live to see the day when mine have spread like this. Although I’m not a lover of graveyards I must admit that I’m fond of English ones as they’re so wild and romantic, no ugly plastic and things. Congrats on winning my new book b.t.w., just send me your details and it ‘ll be on its way. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Many country graveyards are havens for wildflowers and ancient grave stones are covered in many kinds of lichen. I’ve won your bood draw? Yippee, how exciting, thank you so much.

  3. I think it is so amazing that they spread all over, it must be beautiful in person. I thought I was growing Texas size snowdrops, but mine are snowflakes.

  4. Cathy says:

    Oh, such a lovely post, Chloris – reminds me that I shouldn’t keep calling G Nivalis, ‘native’ though! My ‘commons’ started with a mail order batch of 10 from someone or other, then several clumps from an acquaintance of mine, plus some floro pleno – the latter always start flowering earlier, but I must cast an eye over the others and see if there is a variation in flowering – although it is more likely to be dependent on how deep they are planted as I have tended to throw spare soil on them during other projects! A big vase (well, a little vase with a lot of drops!) of them will always be a delight, but don’t they look especially pretty in a stone inkpot? I was searching my Dictionary of Quotations for today’s vase, but for ‘spreading’ rather than ‘snowdrop’ otherwise we could have duplicated each other – not that it matters of course. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  5. the running wave says:

    Love love love snowdrops! They make the world go round at this time of year. Yours are beautiful! Amanda

  6. Oh my goodness, this is so exciting! I won’t see snowdrops until at least late February, more likely in March, so I’m so happy when other bloggers start posting about them.

    • Chloris says:

      They are early this year, we usually have to wait until February for Galanthus nivalis. But March seems very late, I suppose your spring flowers come all at once.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Both vases are charming. Lovely that something so beautiful and desirable has spread throughout the land.

  8. Anna says:

    I’m definitely not grumpy after seeing your vases of snowdrops Chloris. They have put a smile on my face. I didn’t know that there was a Mr.Ginns. By the way in answer to your question on my blog the Kindle version of the book would be fine. I have the paperback and with the exception of the cover all the photos and illustrations are in black and white. I am sure that you would enjoy it.

    • Chloris says:

      You and I both have smiles on our faces now that it is snowdrop time Anna. Thanks for the tip about The Brief Life of Flowers by Fiona Stafford, it sounds like a lovely book, I have got it on my kindle now.

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Such a wonderful abundance of Galanthus you have, Liz. I’ve been trying to spread mine around, but it’ll take a while to get that full look. ‘Grumpy’ is a great name for that last one!

  10. Kris P says:

    I love seeing drifts of flowers and your snowdrops are no exception. They speak of the coming bounty of spring. Your selected vases show them off beautifully too.

  11. Cathy says:

    They are lovely, and I can‘t have too much of snowdrops. They don‘t grow so abundantly around here and don‘t appear to like my new garden. I will try again next year of course, but must enjoy other people‘s this year again!

    • Chloris says:

      Perhaps if you try them in different places you will find a spot where you can enjoy them. Galanthus nivalis isn’t really fussy as long as it is not too dry.

  12. snowbird says:

    Oh….how glorious they are! Loving Grumpy! I just love old graveyards, especially when the snowdrops emerge. Valiant little creatures aren’t they?xxx

  13. Is ‘Ginn’s Imperati’ a variety of G. elwesii or something more uncommon? I love ‘Grumpy’ – that’s hilarious. Your vase full of Snowdrops is quite charming. As for Wordsworth, he should have known that any chaste flower soon becomes an extinct flower, at least until the development of vegetative propagation.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jason. Ginn’s Imperatii is a nivalis variety but as the flowers are so much bigger than the usual nivalis, it has been suggested that it could be a hybrid.

  14. bittster says:

    I was disappointed to see how short this post was. I hope a few more snowdrop posts are yet to come!
    Not bad having a snowdrop cemetery next door either. They all look great, you’re a good snowdrop steward and I think your sheets of white shall only spread…. chaste or not.

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