Visiting a Snowdrop Collection

Galanthus 'Bertram Anderson'

‘Bertram Anderson’ is a classic snowdrop with very large and elegant flowers, earning it a coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

You have probably figured out that I am absolutely crazy about snowdrops, a confirmed galanthophile.  This passion is hard to understand or explain even to myself.  One of the frustrations of being a galanthophile in the US is that most of the more than 1,500 varieties of snowdrops are not available for viewing here.  So while we see lots of photos, and read about all the British snowdrop events, what we really want to do is see the plants in person.

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.


Galanthus 'Art Noveau'

This is one of the best examples of ‘Art Nouveau’ that I have seen.  Notice the way the spathe (encloses the bud before flowering) curves elegantly over the flower.


You can imagine my excitement when I was recently invited to visit and photograph the wide-ranging snowdrop holdings of a local collector.  Although there were hundreds of snowdrop cultivars in bloom, certain plants really stood out, and I want to share them with you.  Here they are in alphabetical order.


Galanthus 'Bill Bishop'

‘Bill Bishop’ is similar to ‘Bertram Anderson’—they are both in the ‘Mighty Atom’ group—but its flowers are longer and wider.


Galanthus woronowiii 'Cider with Rosie'

‘Cider with Rosie’ has the glossy, bright green leaves characteristic of its species Galanthus woronowii.


Galanthus gracilis TCM 15-220

My eye is always drawn to Galanthus gracilis because of its dark blue-green leaves and markings and the graceful flare of the tips of the inner segments.


Galanthus 'Gravity'

‘Gravity’ is another giant flower, this time with quilted outer segments and an endearing little face.


Galanthus 'Green Tear'

Virescent (all green) snowdrops like ‘Green Tear’ are the current rage and fetch astounding prices on eBay in the UK.


Galanthus 'Hoverfly'

‘Hoverfly’ has a definite insect look to it when swaying in the breeze on its long crooked pedicel (flower stem).


Galanthus trojanus 'The Iliad'

‘The Iliad’, a cultivar of Galanthus trojanus, has the dark markings and large, cupped outer segments that I prefer.


Galanthus 'Jessica'

‘Jessica’ sports some beautiful stripes.


Galanthus 'Madelaine' plicatus

‘Madelaine’ is a very desirable yellow snowdrop.


Galanthus 'Mother Goose'

‘Mother Goose’ has the darkest gold marking to date and made the UK papers last year with a very high price.


Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

‘Natalie Garton’ is a lovely cultivar that produces extra, oversized inner segments.  You can see them hanging down below the green mark.


Galanthus 'Natalie Garton'

The underside of ‘Natalie Garton’.


Galanthus 'South Hayes'

The green stripes on the outside of ‘South Hayes’ make it very unique and desirable.


Galanthus 'The Whopper'

‘The Whopper’ is coveted for its large size and bold markings.


Galanthus 'Savnik B.' nivalis

This seedling of the common snowdrop, so new it has no name, is anything but common with its bold green-shaded outer segments, delicately white-edged inner segments, and ghostly teardrop marking.


As you can tell, all snowdrops most definitely do not look alike, although I am the first to admit that they usually require up close viewing.  I was thrilled to see some of the rarer forms in person and share them with you.



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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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35 Responses to “Visiting a Snowdrop Collection”

  1. I really love these variations of snowdrops…so unique, and oh such an addiction.

  2. Wonderful to see all these varieties, some of which are new to me. Snowdrops see us through a usually dark and dismal time of year over here, they provide the encouragement to get out into the garden even if it is cold and miserable.
    You have shown us some really beautiful flowers with very unusual markings, I can imagine that you must have really enjoyed your visit!

    • Pauline, Thanks, I was happy to share. I wonder if you have had all the rain in England that I keep hearing about. My snowdrops are way ahead due to really warm weather through December plus and now we are going t\down to 0 F on Saturday night. It’s always an adventure. Carolyn

  3. I love snowdrops, but was not aware of the amazing varieties that are available.

  4. Thanks, Carolyn! I hope you were able to get a few of these beauties for your own garden!

  5. Hi Carolyn, When do you think our snowdrop orders will be in and available for pick up? Thanks Tracy


  6. Wow, those are beautiful. I have a lot of the common snowdrops and I drooled over the ones in the catalog this year but I didn’t get my act together to order them. Next year, I hope to do that.

  7. Carolyn, I love those new varieties! Hard to choose a favorite, but I like South Hayes, Jessica and Virescent a tiny bit more……

    Here in SE Michigan, it’s going down to zero the next two nights, but under the 10″ snow cover, my snowdrops should be fine. Don’t know about zero degrees with no snow cover but will let you know if that happens.

    In some years, I’ve seen a few blooms of common snowdrop plus winter aconite in weather in the teens without snow in late January and don’t remember any damage from subsequent temps in teens or lower.

    Wish I had all those lovely new snowdrops! Wondering in whose garden you photographed them. I’d love to pop over to Philadelphia to see them all!

  8. Ellen Delea Says:

    Wow, that snow drop dope is way out there, but I can see the appeal! I’ll henceforth give a closer consideration and thanks for your passion. I love it!!!



    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Stunning display and a delight to see. Can totally understand the addiction. My husband kids me when I come in with mud on my chest from ‘getting down and dirty’ to look closely at the little gems. Thanks so much for sharing these treasures.

  10. Your friend has an amazing collection–as do you! I haven’t seen any of mine popping up yet, but that’s good since we’ve been very cold lately. Snowdrops really are delightful little early bloomers!

  11. igpsblogger Says:

    Good to see an Irish snowdrop in the collection – ‘The Whopper’, which is a sister to ‘Cicely Hall’ and came from Robin Hall’s garden at Primrose Hill, Lucan, Co. Dublin. It is not quite as upright as ‘Cicely Hall’, a little inclined to flop about somewhat but, nonetheless, a good big and strong plant. Paddy Tobin.

  12. I would be interested to learn how the snowdrops in your friend’s garden were displayed. There is always gravel in the background. Are they kept in small pots? Planted near the gravel? In a special display bed? Thank you, Carolyn, for a illuminating and delightful post on this coldest of Feb. mornings!

    • Linda, All the plants photographed for the post are in a greenhouse in very small pots. I picked each pot up out of the trays with hundreds of blooming snowdrops and photographed them against the gravel on the floor of the greenhouse. The gravel makes a good neutral background. Carolyn

  13. What a nice treat to see a collection like this. So many pretty snowdrops! I really like the one with the green stripe: ‘South Hayes’ and the one with small green stripes: ‘Jessica’.

  14. These photos are stunning and it’s nice to see the snowdrops close up. I’m wondering if you ever use them as cut flowers. If so, how do you show them to their best advantage? Also, do they have a fragrance?

    • Elizabeth, I have some pretty tiny antique bottles, especially an emerald green one, that I use to display a few snowdrops, often in the powder room. They can also be mixed in with hellebores and other wintere bloomers if you use the tall varieities. Carolyn

  15. Natalie Garton is a real beauty! And I completely understand your obsession with snowdrops! I feel the same way about hostas!

  16. You are so right, they are all different. You just need good knees to get down that low. LOL.

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