2020 Snowdrop Catalogue

All the plants in the 2020 catalogue are sold out.  The catalogue remains on the website for informational purposes only.   If you would like to get an email notification when the 2021 Snowdrop Catalogues is posted, please send your full name and cell number (for back up contact use only) to  carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and let us know if you are local or mail order.


Clockwise from upper left: ‘Greenish’, ‘Pewsey Vale’, ‘Potter’s Prelude’, ‘Scharlockii’, ‘Ballerina’, Galanthus rizehensis, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, Galanthus gracilis

2020 Snowdrop Catalogue: Calling all Galanthophiles

(That’s a British word for gardeners obsessed with snowdrops/Galanthus)

Carolyn’s Shade Garden’s has been selling snowdrops since 1992, transferring our passion for this fascinating plant to more customers through out the US every year. We sell our snowdrops in the late winter as growing plants because that is the best way to insure vigorous and healthy snowdrops in our climate. You will also be able to identify and enjoy the flowers immediately as they will be mature and, with a few exceptions, blooming when you receive them.

Snowdrops are available mail order and for pick up at the nursery.  Prices are for one plant per pot unless indicated, and quantities are limitedBefore ordering, please check this on line catalogue, which will be adjusted regularly to indicate current availability, to make sure the snowdrop you want isn’t marked sold out.

To Order for Pick Up at our Nursery: Please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com (click on the email address or copy and paste it into an email) with the plant names, quantities, your name, and cell number. Supplies are limited so order early. Within 48 hours, you will receive an email confirming your order and amount owed to be paid by check.  Another email in late February or early March will let you know when the plants are available for pick up.  Any snowdrops purchased have been growing outside and can be planted in your garden immediately. We offer no guarantee other than that each plant is true to name and healthy when it leaves here.

To Order for Mail Order:   Our minimum order is $60 and a $15 charge will be added for packing and shipping your plants USPS Priority Mail. Please send an email to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com (click on the email address or copy and paste it into an email) specifying mail order and including the plant names, quantities, your name, cell number, and mailing address. Supplies are limited so order early. Within 48 hours, you will receive an email confirming your order and amount owed to be paid by check.  Another email in late February or early March will let you know when the plants are ready for shipment.  Snowdrops will be shipped with all soil removed and can be planted in your garden immediately or potted up and stored in a well lit, cool (but not freezing) location until planted.  We offer no guarantee other than that each plant is true to name and healthy when it leaves here.

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General Information:  Common snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, are naturalized throughout our garden, and we still can’t have enough. The wonderfully honey-scented, white flowers appear by the thousands from February through March and are our personal signal that winter is ending. By adding more unusual varieties, we have extended our snowdrop bloom season from fall through winter into spring.

Snowdrops are the best plants for consistent winter interest in the garden. A great companion plant for hellebores, arum, early bulbs, and hardy cyclamen, snowdrops grow in part shade to full deciduous shade and are usually not picky about soil. They are deer resistant and summer dormant. All varieties offered do well in the Delaware Valley, zones 6 and 7; gardeners outside that area should do their own research into hardiness.

Carolyn’s Snowdrop Articles: Snowdrops are desirable plants for three reasons: their early bloom time, ornamental characteristics, and their fascinating histories. For more on this, read the feature article I wrote for the Hardy Plant Society Newsletter called “Confessions of a Galanthophile” by clicking here. I have written many other articles about snowdrops, and you can find links to most of them by clicking hereRead my cover article on snowdrops in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Fine Gardening magazine by clicking here

Reference Books:  The comprehensive snowdrop encyclopedia A Gardener’s Guide to Snowdrops: Second Edition by Freda Cox (Crowood Press 2019) contains descriptions of every snowdrop on our list. The descriptive information below comes from many sources, including the Cox encyclopedia already mentioned, A Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops by Naomi Slade (Timber Press 2014); The Galanthophiles: 160 Years of Snowdrop Devotees by Jane Kilpatrick and Jennifer Harmer (Orphans Publishing 2018); and Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Timber Press 2006, sadly out-of-print, referred to below as Snowdrops).

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RHS AGM signifies a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit, given to only 28 snowdrops out of the over 2,500 in cultivation.

UK Popularity List refers to an Avon Bulbs survey of British galanthophiles resulting in a list of their all-time 25 favorite snowdrops.

For more information about and photos of some of the snowdrops offered below, click here.

Photos appear above the descriptions.

The snowdrops below are all sold out for 2020:

‘Atkinsii’ (classic single snowdrop): Snowdrops describes ‘Atkinsii’ as having “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I”—a true English classic; selected in the 1860s by James Atkins of Gloucestershire, it is a large-flowered cultivar valued for its early bloom and particularly sweet fragrance; gorgeous swathes of ‘Atkinsii’ adorn Painswick Rococo Garden in February, click here; RHS AGM; #9 on UK Popularity List; $35

.‘Ballerina’ (double snowdrop): An outstanding and easy-to-grow double snowdrop in our garden—the inner segments are so neat and full and plentiful that they resemble an elegant, green-painted, ballerina’s tutu; proudly displayed to us by Phil Cornish as one of his favorite discoveries when we visited his Gloucestershire garden in 2017;  selected by him in 1991 and first listed in 2001;  $75

. ‘Blewbury Tart’ (unique double snowdrop, G. nivalis): outstanding and distinctive outward-facing double snowdrop with three narrow outer segments clasping the inner dark green tart-like rosette; another amazing discovery by our friend Alan Street in Blewbury, Oxfordshire; our stock came from the old Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, WA; #25 on UK Popularity List;  $25


‘Brenda Troyle’ (classic single snowdrop): When Charles Cresson gives winter garden tours, ‘Brenda Troyle’ is always one of the most complimented snowdrops; attendees admire the well-proportioned, rounded flowers with very large, flared and cupped outer segments; ‘Brenda Troyle’ is also renowned for its strong fragrance of honey and its garden vigor; #24 on UK Popularity List;   $35

. ‘Flore Pleno’ ex Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (double snowdrop, G. nivalis): lovely double white flowers with green ruffled centers; very vigorous snowdrop tolerant of many different growing conditions; oldest snowdrop cultivar in existence with records as early as 1703; stock from our own naturalized plantings;  RHS AGM;   $15

‘Godfrey Owen’ (unique single snowdrop, G. elwesii): one of my top ten favorites with its rare configuration of six longer outer segments and six shorter inner segments; inner markings are somewhat variable with two small dots at the apex sometimes joined to two smaller dots at the base; an elegant snowdrop that performs well in the garden while standing out from the crowd without a label; discovered in Shrewsbury around 1996 in a population of typical G. elwesii by renowned English galanthophile Margaret Owen and named for her husband; RHS AGM;  $65

.G. gracilis (species snowdrop):  this lovely and unusual species snowdrop is characterized by slender gray-green leaves often twisted to present an eye-catching corkscrew-like appearance; the inner segments of the graceful flowers form a narrow tube conspicuously flared to reveal the delicate markings on the underside; Snowdrops calls it “among the finest snowdrops for the garden”;  native to Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Ukraine, it was named in 1891 by the Czech botanist L.J. Celakovsky; #17 on UK Popularity List;  $43


‘Greenish’ (rare virescent or green-shaded snowdrop, G. nivalis): virescent (green-shaded) snowdrops are highly sought after by snowdrop collectors, and I think they are lovely; the delicate green markings on the outer segments and the dark green mark fading to pale green on the inner segments make ‘Greenish’ an elegant and highly desirable snowdrop;  the very upright flowers displayed beautifully by the nearly horizontal leaves add to the allure; unlike many other virescent snowdrops, it is vigorous and easy to grow; found in 1963 by a German collector in a village near Vienna, Austria;  $49


‘Grumpy’ (rare single snowdrop, G. elwesii): an iconic snowdrop found by Monksilver Nursery owner Joe Sharman in the Cambridge garden of Sir Vivian Fuchs in 1990; it has large, rounded outer segments and a very grumpy face on its inner segments;  $95 one per customer


‘Heffalump’ (unique double snowdrop):  I have always had a particular affection for this snowdrop because famous galanthophile Primrose Warburg found it in her garden at South Hayes and named it for her husband whose nickname was Heffalump, presumably after the character in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh story; a lovely double whose inner segments and bright green markings are clearly visible because the outer segments are quite slender;  $69

.‘Hill Poë’ (double snowdrop):Snowdrops calls this late-flowering, neatly formed double “one of the finest and a favorite with many galanthophiles”; the solid flower has a tightly packed inner rosette with five narrow, widely separated outer segments; discovered in 1911 by James Hill Poë at his home in County Tipperary, Ireland, it was first offered for sale in 1964 by the Giant Snowdrop Company;   $35
.‘Hobson’s Choice’ (single snowdrop): I love a snowdrop with a good story behind it especially if it is as vigorous and attractive as this one; Head Gardener Richard Ayres discovered it at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire and named if after the expression “it’s a Hobson’s choice”, an illusion of choice, which derives from the practice of a Cambridge livery stable owner, Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), giving his customers the choice of the horse he offered or none at all—-his portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery in London!; it is probably a G. plicatus x G. nivalis cross; $43


‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ (double snowdrop): a very dignified and vigorous double snowdrop with an elegant, tightly packed inner rosette and a distinctive mark split into two dots; grown by Lady Beatrix Stanley (1877-1944) at Sibbertoft Manor in Northhamptonshire, England, and named for her in 1981 by British snowdrop expert Richard Nutt; RHS AGM; #13 on UK Popularity List;   $29
.Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' Cadwalader‘Lady Elphinstone’ (double yellow snowdrop, G. nivalis): The only available double yellow snowdrop, originally found in Cheshire, England, in the 1890s by Sir Graeme Elphinstone and named for his daughter.   Caveat:  When presenting well, this snowdrop is absolutely breathtaking.  However, it can bloom green instead of yellow.  Many say this happens when you move it, but the jury is out.  If you want a sure thing, this is not the snowdrop for you;   $43

‘Madelaine’ (yellow snowdrop, G. plicatus): a Crimean snowdrop similar in vigor and looks to ‘Wendy’s Gold’ but with an especially ethereal yellow that glows in the late winter sunlight; in our garden, it thrives in an open, sloping, east-facing location, sunnier and drier than most spots where we grow snowdrops; introduced in 2002 by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery in Cambridge;   $85

.‘Magnet’ (classic single snowdrop): The descriptions of ‘Magnet’, my favorite classic snowdrop, are a joy to read, and I can see why after having it in my garden. The stems of the large, sweetly scented flowers are long and thin causing them to sway in the slightest breeze and setting ‘Magnet’ apart from all other snowdrops (no magnifying glass needed). Selected in the 1880s, it may have been named ‘Magnet’ after the child’s fishing game with magnets and sticks. Snowdrops says it defines garden-worthiness and is a mainstay of snowdrop collections throughout the world; RHS AGM; #2 on UK Popularity List;    $25


‘Merlin’ (classic single snowdrop): a snowdrop so revered that it earned an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012, over 120 years after it was found; it was love at first sight when I was introduced to this beautiful, vigorous, highly-prized classic snowdrop;  it is thought to be a hybrid between G. elwesii and G. plicatus; best known and most widely grown snowdrop with completely dark green inner segments; discovered in his garden in 1891 by Victorian plantsman James Allen of Shepton Mallet in Somerset; RHS AGM, #16 on UK Popularity List;  $45


‘Mrs. Wrightson’s Double’ (double snowdrop): a sought after and vigorous snowdrop featuring a very tidy, rounded, tightly packed double flower with a crisp V mark on the tip of the inner segments and a paler mark towards the base; Snowdrops calls it a beautiful clone; late-flowering; found in 1975 by Mrs. David Wrightson in her garden at Ward’s Moat, Kent; $59

. G. nivalis ex Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (species snowdrop): white flowers with green-tipped inner segments and narrow leaves with a gray center stripe; the easiest snowdrop to grow, it multiplies rapidly and produces the most blooms; cultivated as an ornamental plant since the 16th century; our stock is the progeny of the vigorous strain that has thrived on our property for over 100 years; RHS AGM; #22 on UK Popularity List;   $15 for 5 plants

Galanthus 'Ophelia' ‘Ophelia’ (double snowdrop): ‘Ophelia’ is my favorite and the best known snowdrop in the series of doubles selected by Heyrick Greatorex; vigorous and early with rounded, tightly double flowers and a very prominent, broad, dark green u-shaped marking at the base of the inner segments; often produces a second flower stem, making it quite long-blooming;    $25

.‘Pewsey Vale’ (dwarf snowdrop, G. nivalis): Snowdrops calls ‘Pewsey Vale’ “a refined and truly miniature” G. nivalis; this is a great snowdrop to divide and naturalize around your garden; Dan Hinkley of Heronswood fame describes it as the “most dependable and vigorous of any snowdrop I have grown…. If you want masses of snowdrops in your garden, this is the one to grow”—quite an endorsement!;  collected in Pewsey Vale, Wiltshire, by Hilda Davenport-Jones of Washfield Nursery;  $35


Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude'‘Potter’s Prelude’ (fall-blooming snowdrop, G. elwesii var. monostictus): a free-flowering and vigorous snowdrop with wide recurving blue-green leaves and large flowers similar to the best of the species except that it blooms from November to January; a rare American snowdrop, selected in the 1960s by Jack Potter, former Curator of the Scott Arboretum, and registered in 2004 by Charles Cresson;  $59

Galanthus 'Primrose Warburg'‘Primrose Warburg’ (yellow snowdrop): one of the most beautiful yellow snowdrops with intense yellow markings on the inner segment and ovary (the “cap” above the petal-like segments), much coveted by collectors; originated at South Hayes, the garden of the famous British collector Primrose Warburg, and chosen by her fellow galanthophiles after her death in 1996 as the most suitable snowdrop to bear her name; more vigorous in my garden than very similar ‘Spindlestone Surprise’; RHS AGM;   $75
.G. rizehensis (species snowdrop): a rare and elegant snowdrop species native to the eastern Black Sea Coast region, it was originally found in north-eastern Turkey in 1933 and named by Sir Frederick Stern for the town of Rize; the inner segments have a single green mark and the deep green leaves become recurved during flowering giving them a distinctive look; most stock originates from Stern’s plants, which he propagated in his garden at Highdown, Sussex, England;  $43


‘S. Arnott’ (classic single snowdrop): large rounded, sweetly scented flowers with a heart-shaped green marking; Snowdrops describes ‘S. Arnott’ as the “classic snowdrop….a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone,” a must have for snowdrop collections; considered the “desert island snowdrop”—the snowdrop that collectors would choose if they were limited to one and named for an early galanthophile, Samuel Arnott (1852-1930); RHS AGM, #1 on UK Popularity List;   $25

.‘Scharlockii’ (green-tipped snowdrop, G. nivalis): a charming and vigorous snowdrop with green tips on its outer segments; notable for the “rabbit ears” (see photo) formed when its spathe (flower bud covering) splits into two prominently upright, leaf-like halves after releasing the flower; discovered in 1818 by Herr Julius Scharlock in Grandenz, Germany, and named in 1868;  $25


‘Standing Tall’ (Christmas-blooming snowdrop, G. elwesii): After 25 years of evaluation, Charles Cresson introduced this outstanding American selection from G. elwesii and named it ‘Standing Tall’ to reflect its height, which can reach 12″, very upright habit, and commanding presence in the garden. But it gets even better, the large flowers bloom right before Christmas and into January, a downtime for snowdrops, and it stands up to whatever the season brings, lying down in very cold weather and popping right back up as if nothing had happened;   $69


‘Three Ships’ (rare single snowdrop, G. plicatus): one of the most beautiful snowdrops in my garden with an ethereal glow that is whiter than white; large, bowl-like and deeply puckered outer segments with a wide and attractive green mark on the inners; rare, early-flowered form of G. plicatus, blooming reliably in mid to late December; not hard-to-grow but doesn’t multiply quickly; found by John Morley of North Green Snowdrops in Suffolk in 1984 and named for the Christmas carol “I Saw Three Ships”;  RHS AGM, #8 on UK Popularity List;  $95

. ‘Viridapice’ (green-tipped snowdrop, G. nivalis): white flowers easily distinguished by the strikingly prominent green tips on the outer segments as well as the inner ones, bold and vigorous; originally discovered near a farmhouse in northern Holland prior to 1922; our superior form of ‘Viridapice’ was acquired from the old Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, WA; RHS AGM; $25


‘Walrus’ (unique double snowdrop, G. nivalis):Snowdrops calls ‘Walrus’ “one of the greatest eccentrics of the snowdrop world”, but despite this it is a very regularly formed double; its ‘tusks’ are the three long, linear, green outer segments, which surround a lovely rosette whose segments curve outward to look like a green rose; selected by noted galanthophile Oliver Wyatt at Maidwell Hall in Northamptonshire, England; #12 on UK Popularity List;   $59


‘Wendy’s Gold’ (yellow snowdrop, G. plicatus): this superb and vigorous snowdrop with large and vivid yellow markings is one of the most sought after cultivars; beautiful wide pleated leaves with folded margins make a lovely backdrop for the striking flowers; discovered in 1974 by Bill Clark, Warden of the UK National Trust property Wandlebury Ring near Cambridge, and named for his wife; #5 on UK Popularity List;   $75 one per customer

Galanthus woronowiiG. woronowii ex Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (late-flowering, species snowdrop): late-flowering white blooms with green markings on the inner segments; much prized in the UK for its glossy green leaves that sparkle in the garden; increases well, plants from our own naturalized stock; native to Georgia, Russia, and Turkey and cultivated for more than 130 years; named for Russian botanist Georg Jurii Woronow (1874-1931); RHS AGM;   $25


‘Xmas’ (early-blooming snowdrop, G. elwesii): Brilliant detective work reveals that many years ago a gardener at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, selected an unusual x-marked and early blooming plant from an otherwise ordinary patch of G. elwesii. He gave plants to his chess partner who planted them at his employer’s estate. A landscape designer collected some from the estate, passed them to a fellow designer, who traded some to me. I named this snowdrop ‘Xmas’ because its well-rounded and beautiful flowers have a very distinct X mark and, better yet, they bloom around the holidays when there is often a lull in snowdrop activity. Thanks to my assistant detectives Holly Schmizu, Former Executive Director of the USBG, and Susan Bowman for bringing to light this American selection from an iconic American garden.  $69


Instructions for ordering are at the beginning of the catalogue.

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