Archive for Avon Bulbs

A Day in the Life of an Avon Bulbs Snowdrop

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden to visit, landscape design, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 ‘EA Bowles’ was one of the very lucky snowdrops selected to be displayed on the Avon Bulbs table at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show in February.

My post Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens: England February 2018 gave an overview of our recent trip to England.  To read it, click here.  As promised, I am going to focus more closely on some of the venues that Michael and I visited:  in this post, Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop nurseries in the world.

We visited Avon in February 2018 and 2017 and were very privileged to be hosted during both visits by Alan Street, known through out the snowdrop world for the exceptional snowdrops he has selected and named.  During both years, we also helped set up the Avon exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Show in London.  For a post about our 2017 RHS experience, read Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show by clicking here.

Nursery News:  Our 2018 Discounted Hellebore Offer has been emailed to all our customers and orders are due before April 7.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14,  from 10 am to 3 pm.

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Alan Street standing among Avon’s free range planting of ‘S. Arnott’.  Alan advises snowdrop enthusiasts to let the flower heads form and drop their seeds, as you never know what you will get.

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Avon has a beautiful woodland full of “wild” snowdrops plus other winter-blooming plants like the winter aconites, hardy cyclamens, and spring snowflakes in this photo.  They are all allowed to mix and match, which has resulted in some amazing snowdrop selections.

The title of this post should really be “years in the life of an Avon snowdrop” because that’s how long it takes to evaluate, select, and name a truly special snowdrop.  Although Avon propagates many snowdrops selected by others, it has introduced some wonderful cultivars found in the woods on its own property.  I thought you might like to see where and how this happens plus which lucky snowdrops go on to the RHS show.

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A swarm of ‘Wasp’ in the Avon woods.  The woods are filled with masses of named snowdrops, and, when the bees go from flower to flower, magic happens.

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A group of seedlings in the Avon woods from the very prolific ‘Trym’, results in….

.….’Trympostor’, first shown by Avon in 2011.

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The appearance of a seedling like this one pairing a green ovary (the cap at the top of the flower) and yellow markings on the outer segments results in….

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….the introduction in fall of 2017 of ‘Midas’, a spectacular and ground-breaking snowdrop with yellow on the outers as well as the inners and….

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…., to be introduced in the near future by Avon, ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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‘Sprite’, another Avon introduction, seen in the Avon woods.

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‘Phantom’ also originated at Avon.

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An un-named seedling currently under evaluation by Avon.

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Also under evaluation, a yellow ‘Trym’ from Olive Mason.

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If a woodland seedling looks promising, it might be potted up for further evaluation in the greenhouse.

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All snowdrops are eventually chipped and grown on in pots in Avon’s production beds.

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Avon production beds

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Alan Street holds one of the pots from the production beds.  In it is ‘Alan’s Treat’, which he selected and named—a play on his own name.

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Plants chosen for sale in the catalogue are individually potted, usually in their third year after chipping, and stored in this cold frame.

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From the cold frame, they are loaded onto carts for transportation to the various snowdrop venues where Avon sells its plants.  This particular cart is bound for the RHS show and contains snowdrops for sale on the bottom shelf and snowdrops for display on the top two shelves.

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The Avon truck arrives in London, and Michael helps Alan unload the carts and roll them into Lindley Hall where the snowdrop portion of the RHS show was staged.

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All the materials are ready for us to create the display.  Unfortunately, the Avon table was in an out-of-the-way corner with poor lighting and a terrible background for photos.  I am not sure what the RHS was thinking!

.There was a three-tier effect with four snowdrops displayed in the metal stands shown to create the upper tier.  It was very hard to get the pots to sit in the stands but perseverance paid off!

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The middle tier featured pots raised up in attractive metal buckets wrapped in woven vines, here ‘Rosemary Burnham’, a show-stopping virescent (green) snowdrop.

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The lowest tier pots sat on the table and were covered by leaves, here ‘George Elwes’, a stately snowdrop selected at Colesbourne Park.

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Alan waters the display while Michael continues to level the pots in the stands.

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The only way to get an overall photo was to take it from a balcony overlooking the table.

Some snowdrops displayed by Avon at the RHS show in addition to EA Bowles at the top:

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‘Jade’

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‘Gloria’, a gorgeous poculiform (all segments are outers) snowdrop.

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‘Sprite’ is a very eye-catching snowdrop.

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‘Veronica Cross’

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‘Moortown’, I think this was my favorite.

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We are so grateful to Alan Street for sharing his RHS adventure with us among many other things!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

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Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens, England February 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, flower show, Garden Tour, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 The best place to see snowdrops in England is Colesbourne Park in the Cotswolds.

Michael and I traveled to England during snowdrop season again this year.  We stayed with Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, called the greatest snowdrop destination in England.  From there we visited Evenley Wood Garden, Ronald Mackenzie at Barn Cottage, Olive Mason at Dial Park, John Massey at Ashwood Nurseries, Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, Simon Biddulph at Rodmarton Manor, and Hilary and Hugh Purkess at Welshway Cottage. 

We also helped set up the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Plant Fair in London.  Each of these visits will eventually be a blog post, but I wanted to give you a few highlights now.

Nursery News:  We will be selling winter interest plants at Winterthur this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, details below.  Our first open house sale featuring hellebores and early spring shade plants is Saturday, April 14, from 10 am to 3 pm.

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Glory-of-the-snow on the March Bank at Winterthur.

Before I get to England though, this Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm, is the annual Winterthur Bank to Bend Event.  It promises to be a great time with a lecture, garden tours, and interesting vendors, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.  Here are the details:

Celebrate the first flowers of the year at Winterthur on Saturday, March 10, from 10 am to 3:30 pm. At 11 am, Dr. Peter Zale, Curator of Plants at Longwood Gardens,  will explore Intrinsic Beauty: Snowdrops, Choice Bulbs, and How They Enrich Gardens. From 1 to 2 pm, enjoy guided or self-guided garden tours.  Shop at the specialty sale of rare and unusual plants from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, RareFind Nursery, and Edgewood Gardens. Garden tours and plant sale are included with admission.  To purchase tickets please call 800.448.3883.

And now for snowdrop highlights from England:

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Leucojum vernum, spring snowflake, on a stream bank at Evenley Wood Garden.  Although snowdrops generally prefer well-drained sites, leucojum thrives in wet areas.

.One of the rarer Greatorex double snowdrops, ‘Desdemona’, at Evenley Wood.

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One of my favorite snowdrops of the whole trip, ‘Don Armstrong’ in Ronald Mackenzie’s garden.

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This snowdrop, also at Ronald Mackenzie’s, has been at the top of my wish list for a while, although it is supposed to be hard-to-grow, ‘Daglingworth’.

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Michael thinks Olive Mason’s long-pediceled snowdrop, apparently a relation of ‘Fly Fishing’, should be introduced as “Deep Sea Fishing”.

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As we walked around Dial Park, I pointed out snowdrop after snowdrop with very interesting marks and asked what it was.  Olive Mason’s response: “Oh, it’s just another ‘Trym’ seedling.”  ‘Trym’ seedlings were even growing out of the hedges and between paving stones.

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A beautiful use of snowdrops in a stumpery in John Massey’s private garden at Ashwood Nurseries.

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The beautiful and eBay record-setting, yellow Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ in John Massey’s garden.  One plant sold for £725 in 2012.

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A very pale virescent snowdrop from Andy Byfield, ‘Northern Lights’, seen at Avon Bulbs.

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A lovely and rare new snowdrop with yellow on the outer segments to be introduced soon by Avon Bulbs as ‘Bitter Lemons’.

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Again this year, we were privileged to be escorted around Rodmarton Manor and gardens by owner Simon Biddulph.  Rodmarton is one of the best surviving examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement with 8 acres of gardens.

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Introduced by Simon Biddulph, ‘Rodmarton Arcturus’ is one of the most impressive snowdrops I have ever seen.

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Another rare and beautiful snowdrop seen at Rodmarton, ‘Celia’s Double’.

.An enchanting scene from Hilary and Hugh Purkess’s garden, Welshway Cottage.

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The best display of ‘Augustus’ I have ever seen, at Welshway Cottage.

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Another wonderful snowdrop at Welshway where every scape produces a twin-headed flower, ‘Harewood Twin’.

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Drifts of ‘S. Arnott’ at Colesbourne Park, the place to go to see massive quantities of snowdrops!

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Snowdrops cover the hillside above a huge, moss-covered English oak on the shore of the naturally, bright blue Colesbourne lake.

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‘Under Cherry Plum’ in the Avon Bulbs Royal Horticultural Society Exhibit.

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ in Avon’s exhibit.

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Such a gorgeous snowdrop and so well-named, ‘Puffin’ from Avon Bulbs.

Each of these venues deserves a post of its own, but for now, all I have time for is a sampler!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

New Snowdrops for 2018 Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here

‘South Hayes’ in the Avon Bulbs display at the Royal Horticultural Society 2017 Spring Show.

In the previous post, I profiled six of the new snowdrops that will be offered in our 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  To read it, click here.  This post will describe six more new additions.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Note: Much of the historical information in the descriptions below comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006) (referred to as Snowdrops below).

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.  ‘Jonathan’: With its extra large, globular flowers and broad blue leaves, ‘Jonathan’ captured the attention of visitors to the Avon Bulbs display at the 2017 RHS Spring Show where this photo was taken.  When I first saw it, its huge size set it apart from hundreds of other blooming snowdrops—see photo below.  It has faint green tips on the outer segments and a handsome two-part mark on the inner segments, similar to ‘Grumpy’.  However, I find ‘Jonathan’ much more attractive overall.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it was discovered in 2000 in a North Yorkshire garden by snowdrop author Michael Myers.

.‘Jonathan’ has a huge flower and very wide blue-green leaves.

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‘Madelaine’: ‘Madelaine’ is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, with the lovely pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  In my garden, it reproduces nicely and is similar in looks to ‘Wendy’s Gold’.   However, the color on the inner segments is an especially ethereal yellow that glows in the late winter sunlight.  It was introduced in 2002 by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery in Cambridge and named for his niece.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’: An early-flowering cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, combining all the fine characteristics of a classic single snowdrop: large, well-proportioned flowers on tall, upright stems, and a vigorous growth habit.  Snowdrops calls it “a plant of great quality….a cultivar without fault.”    It is frequently mentioned as a favorite and is a prominent part of every important collection in England—the photo above was taken at Rodmarton Manor.  It was collected by Dylan Thomas’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Macnamara.  It is number six on the Avon Bulbs rating of the top 25 snowdrops of all time.

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‘Mrs. Macnamara’ at the RHS 2017 Spring Show Avon Bulbs display.

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‘Welshway’: A neat and rounded double flower, the narrow and gracefully curved outer segments give a clear view of the lovely inner mark visible in the photo above.  The inner segments are ruffled, distinguishing it from the very similar double ‘Heffalump’.  ‘Welshway’ is grown for its elegant flower and late bloom time.  It was discovered in 1995 in a Gloucestershire garden called Welshway after the ancient route to Wales.

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‘South Hayes’: For many years, ‘South Hayes’ appeared at the top of my snowdrop acquisition list, and, having had it for a while now, it was well worth the wait.  One of the most beautiful and sought after snowdrops for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings, both inside and out.  It was first seen in 1992 in famous galanthophile Primrose Warburg’s garden of the same name and is probably a seedling of ‘Trym’.  It is number 11 on the Avon snowdrop popularity list.

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‘South Hayes’ is very special.

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‘Titania’:  ‘Titania’ is a lesser known and rarely available member of the series of double snowdrops hybridized by Heyrick Greatorex prior to his death in 1954.  Like all Greatorex doubles, it is a cross between the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, and the double common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’, and is named for a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The neat and regular double flowers have a prominent horseshoe mark at the base of the inner segments.  It is pictured in the photo above at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Titania’ at Colesbourne Park
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In fairness to all customers, we do not accept pre-orders before the catalogue comes out.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

New Snowdrops for 2018

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here

Snowdrops and cyclamen at Colesbourne Park.

Last February, my husband and I traveled to England to visit famous snowdrop venues, meet prominent collectors, and scout out snowdrops to offer to my customers in the 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.   We toured Welford Park, Rodmarton Manor, Painswick Rococo Garden, East Lambrook Manor Gardens, and Avon Bulbs, among others.  We spent time with snowdrop luminaries Alan Street, Chris Ireland-Jones, Phil Cornish, John Morley, and Simon Biddulph.

But best of all, we were graciously hosted during our stay by Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes and were free to roam their amazing property Colesbourne Park, considered the preeminent snowdrop destination in the UK and well worth a trip to England!

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

.‘Ailwyn’ at Colesbourne Park

During our time in England, I was able to view in garden settings and compare hundreds of snowdrop cultivars.  This gave me a much better feeling for their ornamental characteristics and how they actually perform in gardens.  I have used this first hand knowledge as I have selected cultivars to offer in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, which will be posted on line in mid-December.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Meanwhile, here is a sneak preview of some of the new additions:

Note: Much of the historical information in the descriptions below comes from Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006) (referred to as Snowdrops below).

.‘Ailwyn’: The Royal Horticultural Society recognized the perfection of  this early flowering, very regular double snowdrop with its coveted Award of Garden Merit in 2016, one of only 19 snowdrops honored out of the over 2000 in cultivation.   As the photos show, the outer segments spread out to reveal the lovely inner mark, which can be variable—compare the photo immediately above taken at the RHS 2017 Spring Show Avon Bulbs display with the preceding photo at Colesbourne.  ‘Ailwyn’ was selected in 1994 at Anglesey Abbey by snowdrop expert Richard Nutt and named for its owner Ailwyn Broughton, Lord Fairhaven. 

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‘Angelique’: This is a rare poculiform snowdrop, meaning that all six petals or segments are nearly uniform in length.  Or, as I sometimes see it explained, all the segments are outer segments.  Its near albino white coloring also makes ‘Angelique’ a very distinct and elegant snowdrop.  If you look closely, you will see two tiny, pale green dots on the inner segments.  A cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, it is a vigorous grower.  It was found in a French garden and introduced by French horticulturist Mark Brown in 1999.

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‘Bertram Anderson’: A classic single snowdrop, ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured, well-rounded flowers on tall stems also earned it a coveted RHS Award of Garden Merit along with only 18 other snowdrops.  The book Snowdrops calls it “one of the most impressive large snowdrops”.  It was selected in 1971 from the garden of famous British horticulturist E.B. Anderson as a snowdrop special enough to bear his name.

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A close up of ‘Bertram Anderson’s’ thick-textured outer segments.

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‘Greenish’: The delicate green shading on the outer segments means that ‘Greenish’ is classified as a rare virescent snowdrop.  The shading plus the dark green mark fading to pale green on the inner segments make for an unusual and elegant snowdrop.  The very upright flowers displayed beautifully by the nearly horizontal leaves adds to the allure.  It is a cultivar of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and unlike many other virescent snowdrops, it is vigorous and easy to grow.  It was found in 1963 by a German collector in a village near Vienna, Austria.

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‘Fly Fishing’: I can’t think of a snowdrop I enjoy more or one that is more aptly named.  The upright scape (flower stem) casts the large and elegant flower out into the breeze on its extra long pedicel, attracting wandering galanthophiles like trout.  ‘Fly Fishing’ is early flowering, sometimes by Christmas, but always in the first half of January. I took this photo in my garden on December 27, 2015.  The flowers on my ‘Fly Fishing’ and those of other American gardeners often have green tips—must be the climate.  A cultivar of the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, it is easy to establish and multiplies rapidly.  ‘Fly Fishing’ was discovered only ten years ago at Avon Bulbs by snowdrop expert Alan Street, known for his clever and creative snowdrop names, among other talents!

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‘Fly Fishing’ in my garden on January 24, 2017

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‘Colossus’: This classic single snowdrop is planted for its large flowers, tall stature, ornamental leaves, and robust growth.  Just as important to me is its early bloom time, sometimes by Christmas—the photo above was taken on December 23, 2015, in my garden.  It is a cultivar of the Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, and has the beautiful, pleated leaves characteristic of that species.  ‘Colossus’ appears as number 14 on the Avon Bulbs list of British galanthophiles’ 25 favorite snowdrops.  It was selected in 1992 by Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne Park, which is the source of my stock.

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‘Colossus’ at Colesbourne Park where it was selected by Lady Carolyn Elwes.
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‘Colossus’ multiplies rapidly—pictured here at Colesbourne Park.
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My next post will feature an additional six snowdrops that will be newly offered in my 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue.  In fairness to all customers, we do not accept pre-orders before the catalogue comes out.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and phone number (for back up only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show

Posted in bulbs for shade, flower show, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The Royal Horticultural Society February Show at Vincent Square in London.

The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

In February, Michael and I went on a two week snowdrop trip to England.  My first two posts on the trip featured cutting edge snowdrops, click here to read it, and our six day stay at Colesbourne Park, click here.  After touring the countryside, we journeyed to London to help Alan Street of Avon Bulbs, one of the most respected snowdrop sellers in the world, “moss up” for the RHS Show at Vincent Square.  When Alan invited us, we weren’t really sure what mossing up involved, but everyone said that it was quite an honor to be asked to participate.  We enjoyed every minute!

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Unfortunately, it was impossible to get one photo of the entire Avon exhibit, but this picture shows about a third of the presentation from one corner.

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This is what we started with at about 10 am on Monday morning.

“Mossing up” is how Alan refers to setting up the Avon exhibit for the RHS Show.  Starting with the bare boards above, layer upon layer was slowly and carefully added to achieve the finished look of snowdrops displayed in a natural looking, mossy garden.  Although the snowdrops and the materials, including name tags, pieces of styrofoam, newspaper, used net bulb bags, potted plants, rustic wood, dried leaves, and the centerpiece of crystal glasses hand-etched with snowdrops, couldn’t have been better organized, it still took all day to create the masterpiece that was the display.  Here’s how we did it:

.The process started with the careful placement of the largest elements: the shelf for the crystal, the carex and mondo grass, and the metal buckets wrapped in wreaths of rustic woven vines, using thick styrofoam to elevate them.

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Next Alan Street, Avon’s Nursery Manager and the creative genius behind the exhibit, placed each pot of snowdrops.

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After the snowdrop pots were placed, Micky Little, Nurseryman at Avon, and my husband Michael, elevated the center of the exhibit by stuffing the spaces between the pots with balls of net bulb bags.  Next we all carefully inserted balled up newspaper between the pots along the edges to serve as a base for the moss.

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True “mossing up” happened next as Maxine Grice, the Office Administrator at Avon, and all the rest of us surrounded the snowdrops on all four sides of the exhibit with bags and bags of moss very carefully inserted between the pots.

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Dried leaves covered the area around the center and then lichen covered sticks were carefully added.  Only then did every pot get a label, after which the whole exhibit was reviewed for exposed edges and missing labels.  We finished around 4 pm with Michael using a pump sprayer to slowly moisten all the moss.

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Another view of the finished exhibit.

When we were done, we had created Alan’s vision of snowdrops naturalized in a woodland setting.  It was gorgeous to behold and deservedly won a gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.  Here are some of the individual snowdrops that I thought were especially beautiful in the exhibit:

I have it in my collection now, but for years ‘South Hayes’ was at the top of my list.

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‘Grave Concern’ has now migrated to the top of my must have snowdrops.

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A classic snowdrop, ‘Mighty Atom’, with gorgeous rounded petals, my favorite look.

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‘Trumps’, a vigorous and eye-catching flower.

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‘Phantom’ is aptly named.

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A new must-have, ‘Jonathan’, look at those beautiful leaves and large striking flowers.

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‘Diggory’ is recognizable anywhere.

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‘Alan’s Treat’ selected by Alan Street and a play on his name.

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‘Philippe Andre Meyer’ is gorgeous.

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Another for the acquisition list, ‘Walker Canada’, so elegant.

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Alan sent me this photo yesterday of his newest and probably his most exciting snowdrop selection ‘Midas’, a yellow-marked snowdrop with a green ovary (the little cap) and extremely rare yellow markings on the outers.   Keep your eyes open for a record-breaking price!

Next year’s RHS Spring Show is scheduled for February 13 and 14, 2018, and we hope to be there to moss up once again.  Thank you so much to Alan, Maxine, and Micky for allowing us to participate in an unforgettable experience.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events or mail order information by sending your full name and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

Snowdrops in the Pipeline

Posted in bulbs for shade, New Plants, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus 'Pieces of Eight'

‘Pieces of Eight’ is a new snowdrop found by renowned snowdrop hunter Veronica Cross.

Michael and I just returned from two weeks in England visiting famous snowdrop venues and meeting the rock stars of the galanthus world.  We found our way to Welford Park, Painswick Rococo Garden, Colesbourne Park, Avon Bulbs, East Lambrook Manor Garden (Margery Fish), Rodmarton Manor, the RHS Spring Show at Vincent Square, North Green Snowdrops, and Gelli Uchaf Garden in Wales. 

And, even more fun, we spent time with Sir Henry and Lady Carolyn Elwes at Colesbourne, Alan Street at Avon and the RHS Show (plus Maxine and Mickey), Simon Biddulph at Rodmarton, Phil Cornish in his garden, John Morley at North Green, and Julian and Fiona Wormald in their Welsh garden.  Thank you to all our wonderful hosts.

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Galanthus 'Pieces of Eight'‘Pieces of Eight’ combines a very bold form of the ‘Trym’/’Trumps’ type marking with the fuller, rounder look that I prefer in a snowdrop.  I predict a big price on UK eBay if that hasn’t already happened.

1,500 photos later it is hard to know where to start especially since it is time for me to focus on shipping snowdrops.  However, I thought it would be easy and fun to highlight some of the amazing snowdrops that are coming down the pipeline or have been very recently introduced.  So here is a sneak preview of developments in the snowdrop world.

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Galanthus 'Neckless Wonder'Matt Bishop named this snowdrop ‘Neckless Wonder’ because it has no pedicel attaching it to the stem—not an endearing name but certainly descriptive.  It is fun to be able to look straight into the flowers.

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Galanthus 'Fiona's Gold' nivalisAlthough ‘Fiona’s Gold’, a G. nivalis cultivar, has been around for a few years, it really stood out for its bright yellow color.  Most of the yellow snowdrops we saw looked anemic compared to what I am used to in the states because they need sun to turn gold, and there isn’t any over there.  Michael and I expected terrible weather (and dressed for it), and we weren’t disappointed.  It was freezing cold, damp, and raining or snowing most of the time we were there.

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Galanthus 'Compu.Ted'This charming snowdrop called ‘Compu.Ted’ was in the Avon RHS display.  I was so busy helping to set up the exhibit and taking photos that I didn’t have a chance to ask Alan Street about the name.  Edit: According to Emma Thick, it is one of John Sales’s snowdrops named after his grandson who works with/likes computers.  Thanks, Emma!

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Galanthus 'Miss Prissy'‘Miss Prissy’ with her outward facing stance really stood out.  I wonder if she is named after the spinster hen in Looney Tunes.

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Galanthus 'Joy Cozens'‘Joy Cozens’ is not new but it was the first time I saw an orange tip in person—it really is orange!

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Galanthus 'Anglesey Orange Tip' elwesiiI was also thrilled to see this thriving clump of ‘Anglesey Orange Tip’.  None of the flowers opened while I was there so I don’t know if they maintain their orange hue.

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Galanthus NGZZZ-R-OVXVXPI thought this un-named snowdrop at North Green was gorgeous.

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Galanthus gracilis 'Andreas Fault' Matt BishopA lovely G. gracilis cultivar named ‘Andreas Fault’ by Matt Bishop.  Is it named for the San Andreas Fault in California or did Andrea do something wrong?  Edit: According to Janet Benjafield, it is named for Andy Byfield by Matt Bishop, a teasing name.  Thanks, Janet.

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Galanthus 'Long John Silver'Veronica Cross, sticking with the Treasure Island theme, calls this beauty ‘Long John Silver’.  Edit:  According to Janet Benjafield, Treasure Island refers to a patch in Veronica’s garden that yielded these new snowdrops.

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Galanthus 'Treasure Island'This is Veronica’s ‘Treasure Island’, a star money maker.  Unfortunately, it’s closed like many of the snowdrops I saw and photographed.  When it is cold, gray, and raining every day, you get desperate and take the photo anyway.  I never realized how lucky we American galanthophiles are with all our sun.

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Galanthus 'Grave Concern'Another gorgeous snowdrop—just look at those outers—from Alan Street and  named inadvertently ‘Grave Concern’.  Quite a somber name for such a beautiful flower, apparently it was found in a graveyard.

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Galanthus 'Golden Fleece' plicatusMy only sighting of the record holder for most expensive snowdrop, ‘Golden Fleece’.  A little out of focus as I was on the east coast of England with the wind howling in from the North Sea and snow was falling.  I always wonder if the name is a play on words.
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Galanthus 'Midas' seedling‘Golden Fleece’ is going to be given a run for its money by another yellow Trym-form about to hit the market, ‘Midas’.  This is actually a ‘Midas’ seedling as the real thing wasn’t open yet.
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Galanthus 'Dragonfly'Veronica Cross gave us ‘Wasp’ and now this beautiful and more substantial insect ‘Dragonfly’.
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Galanthus 'Dragonfly'A swarm of ‘Dragonflys’ at the Avon RHS Show.

Who knows when any of these gorgeous snowdrops will be available in the US, but at least we know what’s coming.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

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.

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.

Top 25 Snowdrops Part Two

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Galanthus 'Walrus' CadwaladerNumber 12: ‘Walrus’, a very striking double common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) with narrow green outer segments arching like the tusks of a walrus and very green and regular inner segments forming a rosette, selected in the 1960s.  Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

In Part One of this post, I explained that although the basic ornamental characteristics making up snowdrop plants may seem limited, over 1,000 cultivars (some say as many as 1,500) have been selected.  For gardeners who are just starting to add snowdrops to their collection, the choices can seem daunting.  However, a recent survey conducted by Avon Bulbs, the well-respected British snowdrop nursery, can help with the process.

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Galanthus nivalis 'Walrus'‘Walrus’ looks very pretty from the top, and it is easy to see the ‘tusks’ that give it its name.

During the 2012 and 2013 snowdrop season, Avon Bulbs asked its customers from all over the European Union to choose their three favorite snowdrops.  Avon then produced a ranking of its customers’ 25 favorite snowdrop plants.   In Part One of this post, which you can read here, I profiled Numbers 13 through 25 and provided a photo or  link to a photo for each plant.  In this post, I will show you the top 12 snowdrops.

Note: When I don’t have my own photo, I have linked to photos provided on the wonderful website Judy’s Snowdrops, which I highly recommend as a source for snowdrop information.

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Number 11:  ‘South Hayes’, first seen in 1992 in Primrose Warburg’s garden and probably a seedling of ‘Trym’ (number 3), one of the most sought after snowdrop bulbs for its distinctive pagoda-like shape and very unusual dark green markings.  Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

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Number 10:  ‘John Gray’, a beautifully marked, full and perfect flower hung on a graceful, long arching pedicel (flower stem), first offered for sale in 1967.   It is interesting to note that the snowdrop “bible”, Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop et al., first published in 2001, says the following about ‘John Gray’:

There can be no doubt that a survey of galanthophiles’ favourite snowdrops would place ‘John Gray’ in the top ten, a position it would maintain among the current wide range of cultivars despite its age.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'Number 9: ‘Atkinsii’, an early-blooming and quite vigorous hybrid with large, robust flowers sporting a heart-shaped marking on the inner segment, originated in the 1860s.  Available CSG.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii'A close up of ‘Atkinsii’, which Snowdrops says has “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I.”

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Number 8: ‘Three Ships’, an early flowering Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus) with lovely rounded, well-proportioned flowers displaying a wonderful puckered texture on the outer segments, found in 1984.

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Galanthus 'Augustus' CadwaladerNumber 7:  ‘Augustus’, the plump, well-rounded flowers with great texture are set off perfectly by the lovely pleated leaves of a Crimean snowdrop for an overall great presentation, named prior to 1976. 

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Galanthus plicatus 'Augustus'A close up of ‘Augustus’ showing its elegant textured petals and large inner mark.

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Number 6: ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, an early-flowering giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) combining all the fine characteristics of a classic snowdrop, frequently mentioned as a favorite on garden blogs.  Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

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Galanhtus 'Wendy's Gold' 1 entranceNumber 5: ‘Wendy’s Gold’, a Crimean snowdrop (G. plicatus) cultivar with beautiful yellow markings on the ovary and inner segments.  Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold'Alan Street from Avon Bulbs sent me this photo of a clump of ‘Wendy’s Gold’, saying that mine would look like this some day!

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Galanthus 'Diggory' Number 4: ‘Diggory’, a snowdrop I would recognize anywhere for its squared-off pear-shaped flowers, heavily quilted texture, and large green inner mark.  Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus plicatus 'Diggory'This clump of ‘Diggory’ shows its unique look and the pleated leaves characteristic of a Crimean snowdrop.

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Number 3: ‘Trym’, the first snowdrop selected for the combination of its unique pagoda-like shape and large marks on the outer segments, it is obviously still very popular even though other snowdrops like its descendant ‘South Hayes’ now exhibit this form, for photos click here.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'Number 2:  ‘Magnet’, a very vigorous classic snowdrop selected in the 1880s with a long and slender pedicel allowing the flower to sway in the slightest breeze.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'A close up of ‘Magnet’ showing its arching pedicel.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Number 1:  ‘S. Arnott’, large rounded, sweetly scented flowers with a heart-shaped green marking on the inner segment.  Available CSG.  The book Snowdrops has this to say about ‘S. Arnott’:

In fifty years time it will be interesting to see which of the newer snowdrops described in these pages will still be going strong, having established a reputation as a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone.  Such is this classic snowdrop.

Available in 2018 CSG catalogue.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott'‘S. Arnott’ displays its “unquestionable constitution”.

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It is interesting to note that six of the twelve top ranked snowdrops are descended from the Crimean snowdrop, G. plicatus.  And seven of the top twelve display what I would call a traditional snowdrop look with nothing “newfangled” about them.  As with numbers 13 through 25, the top twelve ranked snowdrop bulbs show that, in the long run, classic and vigorous garden plants are more highly valued by knowledgeable collectors than the latest hot snowdrop off eBay.  I find this refreshing in a horticultural world that often seems to discount the tried and true in favor of the latest fad.

Carolyn

If you are looking for more information on snowdrops, I highly recommend the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum galanthus thread where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops, click here.

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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.

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 carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

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