Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here

Nursery News: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Carolyn's Shade GardensA beautiful sunset over a snowy landscape at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Before I get to current events at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I want to encourage you to come to this year’s Bank to Bend lecture at Winterthur on Saturday, March 8.  The featured speaker is Matt Bishop, one of the foremost snowdrop experts in the U.K. and the principal author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, commonly referred to as the snowdrop bible.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be selling a nice selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and other spring flowers.  The official details are below.


bank to bend 2014

 Celebrate the winter garden at Winterthur at our annual Bank to Bend event! This year’s featured speaker is Matt Bishop, famous snowdrop enthusiast and author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus. Snowdrops, winter interest plants, and plants propagated from the Winterthur Garden will be on sale. Lecture at 11:00 am; plant sale from 10:00 am-3:30 pm; garden open 10:00 am to dusk, with a special tour of the March Bank beginning at 1:00 pm. $10 per Member, $20 per nonmember. Free for WGLS and Garden Associate Members. Registration includes admission to the garden. To register, call 800.448.3883.

Not a Winterthur Member? Join now!

For more information, visit or call 800.448.3883.
.Carolyn's Shade GardensFor those of you who visit in the spring, this is the front walk right now.

You may be wondering what is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens—-I know I am 🙂.  Last year at this time (and every recent year that I remember), snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and lots of other plants were up and blooming in my garden.  I was almost done potting all the snowdrops for mail order and pick up and had started thinking about hellebores.  This year most of my garden is still under at least a foot of snow.  The snowdrops are frozen into the ground, which is as hard as a rock despite a few recent days in the mid-50s.


Carolyn's Shade GardensI excavated about three feet of snow off the top of pots of snowdrops.  And here is what I found….


Galanthus elwesiiA lone giant snowdrop trying to break through to the surface.

Nevertheless, despite our frigid weather and constant deep snow cover, the minute a patch of snowdrops melts through it springs up and into bloom seemingly overnight.  This never fails to lift my flagging spirits, and I thought you might like to see these brave little snowdrops in action.


Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumThis patch of snowdrops started blooming a few days before Christmas.  Because it was so big and beautiful, I covered it with a plastic box before all the snow and ice started (you can see the outline in the photo), and this is what I found when I removed it.


Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumThe snowdrops under the box were in perfect shape despite repeated snow and ice and single digit temperatures.


Galanthus elwesii ex U.S. National ArboretumHere is a close up of this beautiful snowdrop, which is a selection from a patch at the U.S. National Arboretum with a large flower and lovely green X mark.

Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'Another snowdrop that started blooming in December and didn’t seem fazed by the weather even without a cover, the early-flowering ‘Faringdon Double’. 


Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'The inside of ‘Faringdon Double’ showing its extra petals.


Galanthus 'Kite'‘Kite’ usually starts blooming in mid-January, and when I moved the snow away today, there it was ready to open.


Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall'Some varieties don’t even need my help like the very robust giant snowdrop ‘Standing Tall’.

That is about all that is going on at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens right now.  If you have ordered snowdrops, I am hoping to start shipping in about two weeks (it was February 25 last year).  Eventually, the snow will melt, the ground will unfreeze, and the plants will “catch up”.  Meanwhile the ten-day forecast predicts highs 15 to 20 degrees lower than our normal average and five nights with lows in the teens, brrrrr.


Nursery Happenings: We will be selling snowdrops and hellebores at Winterthur on March 8, details hereTo register for Charles Cresson’s Winter Interest Plants Seminar click hereWe are now taking orders, for mail order or pick up in March, from the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores.  To access the catalogue, please click here.  Please visit my Etsy Shop to purchase beautiful photo note cards suitable for all occasions, including a new set of snowdrop cards, by clicking here.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

28 Responses to “Snowdrops at Winterthur and Here”

  1. Hi Carolyn,

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the snow drops that you uncovered. I only have one little patch but it is near the sidewalk and covered with at least 4 ft. of snow from the blower. Other years I have shoveled the snow away just o see those harbingers of spring. I have a big patch of winter aconite in a sunny spot under a pine canopy so I think they will probably be blooming first. I am ready for winter to be done even though we’ve had the best cross country skiing in years. It’s been so cold. How do your camellias do in this cold winter?

    My friend who lives in Hull on the water in Boston Harbor send me a picture of her daffodils which were up 2 inches with no snow on the ground. Are there any snowdrops on Cliff Island? They might be blooming😎 Cheryl

  2. Hello Carolyn,
    Sympathies for the USA extended winter. And I don’t like the sound of that weather forecast…., but how exciting to have tempted Matt Bishop over to lecture. What a treat. I hope that things warm up by then and you have a great event, and keep nice and warm in the meantime.

    • Julian, No end in sight to the cold weather and snow. I just finished recovering all the pots that I uncovered because the next few nights will be way below freezing. Matt Bishop’s lecture is the only thing to look forward to right now. It is hard to communicate what a superstar he is in the snowdrop world. And I talked to him on the phone, and he seemed like a very nice person too. Carolyn

  3. Starr Foster Says:

    Love this post and your photos! You have answered the question many of us were curious about: what snowdrops are doing under the snow. I just wish I could blow the foot and a half to two feet of snow off my spring garden to help them along. The question remaining is how they would hold up without snow cover in below zero temperatures we are having in Michigan. If we wait long enough, the snow may actually melt before May, but am not counting on anything this year!
    Best wishes for a wonderful March bank weekend at Winterthur. I’d love to be there.

  4. Carolyn, I feel for you, I left those kind of winters behind me in Norway when I moved to London in 1999. We also used to have snowdrops coming up in the snow, amazing sight and very encouraging when it was still freezing both at night and during the day. Over here in London, my snowdrops are almost finished and the crocuses and daffodils are now taking over.

    ‘Farington Double’ looks lovely and so do those on the brochure for the lecture with Matt Bishop, do you know which one they are? I have just extended my collection with five ‘Sam Arnott’, but I could always have room for some more if they are not hilariously expensive.

    • Helene, The weather is completely abnormal for our area, but if it keeps up I may have to move to London. Faringdon Double is quite reasonably priced over there in the UK and is great because it’s early. The snowdrop with Matt Bishop I think might be ‘Trumps’ and is hilariously expensive. S. Arnott is a great addition. Carolyn

  5. I had wondered Carolyn why we hadn’t seen any photos of your snowdrops, now I know!
    I feel for you, not able to see all your wonderful bulbs, it must be so frustrating. The two snowdrops that you showed at the top have beautiful markings, do they have names yet?
    Your talk by Matt Bishop will be excellent, I have been to a couple over here given by him, he gardens just about an hour away from us up on Dartmoor.

  6. I love that snow sunset picture!

  7. I bet at times this year, you wished you lived in the UK! 😀 If the snow keeps coming, you might not see your little beauties this year. When I awoke this morning, there was a news alert that a number of roads were closed due to pile-ups. Was sure it was going to be feet of snow, but it was not so in Niagara Falls. I hope your snow in March subsides, it has been a long winter this year.

  8. I’m also watching that 10 day forecast, things aren’t much better here and I’m looking forward to any day with a high above 32F! The longer days imply that spring is inevitable, the temperatures disagree 🙂
    Glad to see your snowdrops are still there under the snow, they still look quite happy!

    • Frank, It is a pretty sad state of affairs when we look forward to days over 32 degrees at the absolute end of February (and apparently into March). I am a little worried about the snowdrops tonight with 4 degrees but have given up obsessing. At this point it will be what it will be. Carolyn

  9. The name seems appropriate–especially this year! It’s a joy to see your Snowdrops happily popping up out of the snow. What type of mulch do you use, Carolyn? You may have mentioned it several times in your posts, so I’ll look back. Thanks for this cheery post!

  10. Carolyn, I hope March has brought a little easing in the harsh conditions. Those Snowdrops certainly know how to survive, our front and back garden have many large clumps of the common variety, I will need to pot up the ones round the back as the demolition team will be here in six weeks or so. Enjoy Matt Bishops lecture on Saturday.

  11. Snowdrops are aptly named! And I promise to quit complaining about winter’s failing grip on the weather in my own region!

    • Deb, It is not so much the weather, but its affect on my business. Time lost at the beginning doesn’t translate to a longer season at the end so precious revenues disappear. Many small businesses are suffering because people just don’t want to go out. I can’t say that I blame them. Carolyn

  12. The sight of your snowdrops, Carolyn, give me hope that mine are surviving under the snow and ice that still blankets my garden. I hope one day to attend a seminar at Winterthur — still can’t travel this year, but getting stronger daily. Thank you for your kind wishes. P. x

  13. I’m guessing a lot of that snow has melted since you posted this and even more snowdrops are appearing. One of the encouraging signs at this time of year (even in Maine, where I am now) is that the sun is strong enough to melt snow even if the air temperature is below freezing.

  14. Wow those are literally snowdrops. I have never seen mine grow through the snow but maybe this year…too much snow right now for these little flowers to get through.

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