New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

 ‘Godfrey Owen’, one of my all time favorite snowdrops.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has been selling snowdrops for almost 27 years, since we started the nursery in 1992, and we formalized the process with our first written catalogue in 2008.  In 2010, we added a mail order option, and sales have grown exponentially due to our very loyal and satisfied customers in Pennsylvania and all over the US.  We are getting ready to issue the 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue in December and want to give blog readers a preview of some of our new offerings. 

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 within the US.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to and indicate whether you are interested in snowdrops.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

‘Godfrey Owen’ looks beautiful in snow.

It is no surprise to me that ‘Godfrey Owen’ has recently been added to the very small group of snowdrops, 28 out of the over 2,500 named varieties, to receive the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.  It is an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without looking at the label.


Looking at ‘Godfrey Owen’ is a pleasure from any angle, but here you can see the distinctive six outer segments.



Galanthus elwesii ‘Godfrey Owen’ has six pointed and concave, longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments.  The inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base.  The flowers in my garden all originate from one bulb but have a mixture of markings.   ‘Godfrey Owen’ was discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii, the giant snowdrop, by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband.


‘Barnes’ blooms in the fall.

When snowdrops bloom in October or November, they really make a statement.  Galanthus elwesii (Hiemalis Group) ‘Barnes’ is a lovely, fall-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop with well-formed outer segments and a heart-shaped mark on the inners.  Considered by many to be the earliest blooming, sometimes in October, and best of the Hiemalis Group, it recently received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of its superiority.

The name ‘Barnes’ originates from E.P. Barnes, a surgeon in Northampton, who selected an early-flowering form of G. elwesii and sent it to Oliver Wyatt, possibly in 1928.  After 1973, a group of snowdrops labeled ‘Barnes’ was discovered at Wyatt’s home in Suffolk.


‘Art Nouveau’ is striking.

Confronted recently with hundreds of varieties of snowdrops, all in bloom, I gravitated immediately to the captivating elegance of Galanthus nivalis ‘Art Nouveau’.  An artistically curved spathe, like a shepherd’s crook, tops the long, slender flower with bold markings inside and out.  The outer segments are pointed and splashed with pale green, while the inners are almost as long as the outers and sport a darker green, heart-shaped mark.  Given to Avon Bulbs by a famous garden in Normandy, France.


‘Armine’ has unusual markings.

Galanthus ‘Armine’ is a tall, easy-to-grow, hybrid snowdrop with large, well-proportioned flowers.  It has a beautiful mark on the inner segment, which is clearly visible even when the flowers are not fully open.  It was named in the late 1950s for the daughter of Brigadier and Mrs. Matthias, the owners of the famous (at least among galanthophiles) Giant Snowdrop Company in Gloucestershire.  Lady Carolyn Elwes tells me that a Catholic nun came to visit Colesbourne Park a number of years ago and explained that she was the daughter for whom the snowdrop was named—how fun.


‘Armine’s’ inner mark is almost always visible.


‘Puck’ is a fun semi-double snowdrop.

‘Puck’ is a charming and quirky form of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, with three extra segments haphazardly arranged over the top of the normal three inner segments and three outer segments.  The result is a fat, semi-double flower.  Named for the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, who seems to have cast his spell on this snowdrop, and found in a woods in Devon.


‘Sprite’ has a unique look.

I am always looking for snowdrops that stand out from the crowd to add to my collection.  When I toured snowdrop gardens in England, I realized that Galanthus ‘Sprite’ was not only beautiful but could also be easily identified without a label.  The broad, round, bluntly pointed outer segments are painted with five or six distinct green lines with slight shading in between.  A wide, green band covers 2/3 of the inner segments.  Introduced about 10 years ago by the discerning horticulturist Alan Street at Avon Bulbs.


‘Sprite’ proudly displayed in the Avon Bulbs exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in February 2018.


Look for another blog post soon profiling an additional seven new offerings for 2019.



Note: 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.

4 Responses to “New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One”

  1. Veronica Giarraputo Says:

    Dear Carolyn,
    Please send me the 2019 Snowdrops catalogue.
    My cell number: [deleted]
    I will pick up the order as I am a local customer.
    I am particularly interested in ‘Godfrey Owen.’
    Ronnie Giarraputo

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Veronica, You need to send me an email with the required information to the address in the post. You may have responded to the email from WordPress announcing the post, but that just appears as a comment on my blog. Sorry, it’s a little confusing. Carolyn

  2. Is it too late to plant snowdrops now?

    • Our nursery sells snowdrops as growing plants, which we ship in late February or early March all over the US. Our catalogue comes out next month, so it is not too late to order them. I do not recommend planting dried snowdrop bulbs as many are not viable or don’t recover from being dried. I have also gotten diseased bulbs and mislabeled bulbs.

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