Archive for collecting snowdrops

Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, garden essay, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

The cover of the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

In 2015, I was asked by Fine Gardening magazine to write an article on snowdrops, which appeared as the cover article of the February 2016 issue.   For readers who don’t subscribe to this excellent gardening magazine, I am going to reprint the text of the article here, accompanied by images of the magazine layout and some additional photos of the featured snowdrops.  Look for my article on spring ephemerals, scheduled for inclusion in the April 2018 issue.

Nursery News:  The 2018 Snowdrop Catalogue is posted on the website here.  If you would like to get an email announcing the catalogue, please send your full name and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com. 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.

.  ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

“Passions are born in strange ways, and serendipity often plays a part.  In December of 1983, my husband and I purchased our home, not knowing that a treasure trove of snowdrops lay beneath the snowy landscape.  Our house was the gardener’s cottage for a large estate, and the gardener who lived there had planted thousands of common snowdrops, (Galanthus nivalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8), which greeted us that February with their delightful honey-scented fragrance.  Those snowdrops were to become an important part of my personal and professional life.

For me, the original and greatest appeal of snowdrops is their bloom time.  I live on the side of a south-facing hill, where the soil heats up early, and common snowdrops begin to bloom in early February, just when I need some relief from the winter doldrums.  I have since planted snowdrop varieties that bloom from October through March, but it is the bursting into bloom of thousands of snowdrops in early February that thrills me the most.

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As I gained experience as a gardener, I was exposed to less common varieties and realized that their ornamental characteristics were as interesting as their bloom time was uplifting.  Yes, they are small, and you do have to look at individual plants close up; but there are varieties that stand out when viewed from farther away if massed, and many that are worth a closer look.  Besides, most snowdrops are easy to grow in deciduous shade and multiply quickly to form striking swathes.

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‘Viridapice’ and ‘Flore Pleno’

If you don’t currently have snowdrops, then start with the common snowdrop, cultivated in England since the 16th century.  The flowers have pure white outer segments (the correct term for a snowdrop petal), and the inner segments have bright green tips.  The linear leaves are gray-green, and the plant is only about 4” tall.  It is very easy to grow in almost all soil conditions, multiplies rapidly to form satisfying clumps, and is readily available both “in the green” (see sidebar below) and as a dried bulb.  With a very small investment of time and money, you can enjoy masses of honey-scented white flowers in late winter.

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‘Blewbury Tart’, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, and a photo showing how I ship my snowdrops.

If you are already growing the common snowdrop, you may want to expand your palette to include several other easy-to-grow and easy-to-find cultivars.  Of the many cultivars selected from G. nivalis, my favorite is ‘Viridapice’, a vigorous, bold plant with green marks on the outer and inner segments.  It multiplies for me almost as fast as the species and, at 5 to 6” tall, has a distinct presence in the garden.  The double form of G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, is also lovely, if a bit disheveled.  It is the earliest recorded snowdrop cultivar, with references to its existence in the early 1700s.

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Galanthus elwesii, ‘Magnet’, and a photo showing how I divide snowdrops.

For an even more distinctive look, plant G. nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’ or ‘Lady Elphinstone’, both double-flowered, vigorous growers.  ‘Blewbury Tart’ points its mostly green, frilly, double segments upward and definitely stands out in a crowd.  It was discovered in a churchyard in Blewbury, England, in 1975 by snowdrop expert Alan Street.  Although a prominent British journalist told him it looked like a squashed fly on a windscreen, Alan introduced it, and it has become a favorite here and abroad.  ‘Lady Elphinstone’ is another venerable snowdrop, dating from 1890, and is one of a kind: its inner segments are a lovely egg yolk yellow.  Sometimes the yellow takes a year or so to settle in, but it is worth the wait.

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‘Diggory’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’

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There are 19 species of snowdrops in addition to G.nivalis, and many of them have produced cultivars and hybrids, resulting in over 1,000 named varieties.  Most are not available in the US due to treaty restrictions; however, a diligent search yields a nice collection.  Here are five more I recommend for beauty and vigor.

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Galanthus elwesii, the giant snowdrop

Not only is the giant snowdrop (G. elwesii, Zones 3–9) larger than the common snowdrop, but also it blooms earlier, starting in midwinter. This species tolerates hotter and drier conditions, making it great for Southern gardens. Its broad, upright, blue-gray leaves surround large, well-formed flowers with two bold green marks on the inner segments. Lots of natural variation in this species produces powder blue leaves, a variety of marks, and bloom times anywhere from November to February.

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‘Diggory’

‘Diggory’ (G. plicatus ‘Diggory’) is a cultivar whose heavily quilted, pear-shaped, squared-off flowers make it recognizable anywhere. The wide, elegantly pleated leaves are characteristic of G. plicatus. Found in 1993, ‘Diggory’ became an instant, much-sought-after classic.

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‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’

A hybrid snowdrop with dignified double flowers, ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ (G. ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’) features a tightly packed inner rosette edged in green and a distinctive mark split into two elegant dots. It is easy to grow and multiplies well.

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‘Magnet’

‘Magnet’ (G. ‘Magnet’) was selected in the 1880s and is still loved by collectors for its classic beauty and vigorous growth. It is instantly identifiable by its long flower stalk that allows the large blooms to sway in the slightest breeze.

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‘Wendy’s Gold’

‘Wendy’s Gold’ (G. plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’) offers beautiful, large yellow markings on the inner segments and the ovary (the little cap above the segments), and wide, elegantly pleated leaves. It is much sought after for its beauty and vigorous growth. Other nice yellows available in the U.S. include ‘Primrose Warburg’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’.”

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I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

‘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

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

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 cell 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.

Curating a Plant Collection: Snowdrops or Otherwise

Posted in bulbs for shade, How to, my garden, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Galanthus reginae-olgaeGalanthus reginae-olgae is the earliest snowdrop to bloom in my garden, around the third week of October.

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

My garden is not a collection of plants, especially those that require any sort of extra maintenance.  If you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, you will see that most plantings are quite natural looking with a focus on natives.  However, there are a few exceptions, and most of you know by now that I am an unapologetic collector of snowdrops.  I also sell snowdrops, click here for the 2019 catalogue, and some of them are quite pricey, so I thought it would be helpful if I explained how I keep track of mine.  This system can be used for any plant collection.

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 cell 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 'Potter's Prelude' elwesii‘Potter’s Prelude’ always flowers by mid-November and, weather permitting, continues into January.

My system involves written records on my computer and physical markings in the garden.  There may be a fancy computerized plant database available, but I use a simple table with columns in a Word document.  The first column is alphabetical and lists the complete botanical name of the snowdrop, including the species and cultivar names if applicable, e.g., Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.  The remaining columns describe the pertinent information about the snowdrop for each location in the garden: date planted, exact location, number of plants, and source.

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Galanthus 'Brenda Troyle'This is the ‘Brenda Troyle’ planting that corresponds to the first location entry below. 

For example, ‘Brenda Troyle’ is listed in column one as Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’ as it is a hybrid with no species name like elwesii or nivalis.  Column two describes location one: “2012, front walk next to Dbl Rose hellebore, 2 Cresson.”  Column three describes location two: “2014, carriage house 2nd bed on left, moved 1 Cresson.”  It is very important that the location description is as detailed as possible so that if all your outdoor markings disappear, you still know where your snowdrop is located.

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Galanthus elwesii ex Montrose GardensAnother snowdrop blooming right now is Nancy Goodwin’s fall-blooming G. elwesii var. monostictus, which she shared with me in 2013.  At the back of the clump is the metal tag and peeking out in front is the plastic stake.

Out in the garden, each snowdrop gets two markers.  The first is a 10″ zinc plant marker produced by Bosmere, item H185, in sets of 10.  Included is a carbon pencil, but I don’t use that to write on the markers.  All labels in my garden are inscribed with an opaque paint marker made by Uchida, Decolor 200-S Black, and available at art supply stores.   All other writing materials, including pencils and “permanent markers” wear off.  I place the metal plant marker directly behind the snowdrop and record the full name, date acquired, and source.

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dscn7338Bosmere zinc plant markers

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dscn8464opaque paint marker

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dscn7336A paint marker is used to record the name, date acquired and source.

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Each snowdrop is also marked with a second tag directly in front of the plant.  For this, I use a 6″ Rapiclip plant label made by Luster Leaf in packages of 50.  These plastic stakes are long and sturdy but flexible, not brittle.  They can be pushed almost all the way into the ground and bend instead of breaking if you step on them.  I write the same information on them with a paint marker.

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dscn7337Rapiclip plant labels

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Galanthus 'Foxgrove Magnet'‘Foxgrove Magnet’ with its metal marker behind and plastic tag in front.
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dscn8458There are variations on my marking scheme.  For example, this bed has random, unnamed, fall-blooming G. elwesii.  Each clump has a plastic tag behind it describing its special characteristics, if any.
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dscn8459I am superstitious so if I plant dormant snowdrops in the fall, they get a reused plastic tag and part of a bamboo garden stake until they come up in the spring.
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dscn8460I also use bamboo poles, hammered solidly into the ground, if the snowdrops are planted in an area where a lot of leaves fall and obscure the metal and plastic stakes.  The photo below shows what I found under the leaves.
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dscn8452I may not have remembered that this snowdrop grouping was there if it hadn’t been marked with the bamboo stake.

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I realize that not everyone is obsessed with snowdrops, but this system can be used for any plant collection that has grown to the point where its size exceeds the mental capacity of the collector  :-).  I grow about 30 varieties of epimediums and keep a chronological handwritten record plus metal and plastic markers outside.  European wood anemones get metal tags and a handwritten list.  Mini hostas are marked with plastic tags and recorded haphazardly.  The rest of the plants have to rely on invoices and various notations in garden journals.  Every winter I consider making a complete database of all the plants at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens but the prospect is daunting.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events or mail order 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 Are Early This Year

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

‘Godfrey Owen’ has a very unusual form with six outer and inner petals (segments) instead of the usual three.

As I mentioned in the last post, southeastern Pennsylvania, US, zone 6 to 7, has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather for months.  There has been no snow and the ground was not frozen.  That all came to an end yesterday when the daytime high was 22 degrees F, and it went down to 14 degrees last night.  Significant snow is expected on Saturday.

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 'Atkinsii'

‘Atkinsii’ is an old-fashioned and vigorous cultivar, looking great here with hardy cyclamen.

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I have to admit that I was worried about how this very unusual weather pattern would affect the snowdrops.  Most of my varieties are blooming a month early, and many are two months ahead of what I am used to.  How would they fare when they are shoved into the deep freeze after being coaxed out so early by temperatures reaching as high as 72 degrees F?  I am happy to say that it didn’t faze them.  They all look perfectly happy though droopy and frozen.  To celebrate, I am going to show you some of the highlights of the snowdrop season so far.  In alphabetical order…

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Galanthus 'Colossus' plicatus

‘Colossus’ has the beautiful pleated leaves of a Galanthus plicatus cultivar.

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Galanthus 'Daphne's Scissors' elwesii

‘Daphne’s Scissors’ has produced very pronounced green tips in honor of the weather.

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Galanthus 'Ding Dong'

‘Ding Dong’ was selected by Alan Street at Avon Bulbs, ding-dong Avon calling.

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Galanthus 'Faringdon Double'

‘Faringdon Double’ is the earliest blooming double snowdrop.

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Galanthus 'Fly Fishing'

‘Fly Fishing’ throwing out its lure.  It has produced green tips when it is usually pure white.

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Galanthus 'Godfrey Owen' elwesii

Another shot of ‘Godfrey Owen’s’ beautiful habit.

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Galanthus 'Grumpy' elwesii

I can sympathize with ‘Grumpy ‘ who looks afraid to come out in this weather.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

‘Kite’ sporting its huge, finely formed flowers.

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Galanthus 'Kite' elwesii

I couldn’t resist another shot of ‘Kite’ as it’s one of my favorites—note the extra long outer petals and the distinct X mark inside.

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Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, a vigorous and elegant double.

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Galanthus 'Magnet'

‘Magnet’ another old-fashioned and reliable cultivar.  It hasn’t released its distinguishing extra long flower stem yet.

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Galanthus 'Standing Tall' elwesii

‘Standing Tall’ combines fine markings, a beautiful habit, and indestructibility.

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Galanthus 'Three Ships' plicatus

‘Three Ships’ with its distinct sail-like petals always blooms by Christmas but was a few weeks early this year.

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Galanthus 'Wasp'

‘Wasp’ displaying its insect-like wings and “thorax”.

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Galanthus 'Xmas' elwesii

‘Xmas’ is a giant snowdrop cultivar selected and named by me for its Christmas bloom and X-like marking.  It is quite tall with a very upright habit and bulks up more quickly than any giant snowdrop I grow, even the species.

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That’s a complete record of all the snowdrops in my garden that are up and fully out.  Many more have buds starting to open so the fun is just beginning.

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.

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 Snowdrop Book

Posted in bulbs for shade, containers for shade, landscape design, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

Cover of SnowdropsThe cover of the exciting new snowdrop book recently published in The Plant Lover’s Guide Series by Kew Gardens in London.

I don’t think I have ever done a book review on this blog, but I want to share my excitement about the new snowdrop book published by Timber Press in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.  It is called The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops and was written by Naomi Slade, a prize-winning British journalist.   I highly recommend it as an invaluable resource for gardeners at all levels in their love of snowdrops, from novice to expert.

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 nivalis in Welford Park, BerkshireCommon snowdrops, G. nivalis, at Welford Park in Berkshire, England—just one of the locations identified in the book as a place to see snowdrops (photo by Naomi Slade appears on page 16) .

The best part of the book for me is the photographs, both those accompanying the individually profiled snowdrops, which are both enticing and accurate, and also the many pictures of snowdrops in gardens mostly in the US and UK, which are quite beautiful.  Whether you are a thoroughly obsessed galanthophile or just thinking of branching out with snowdrops for the first time, you will love reading this book, not once but over and over.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-14 PMThe title page for the chapter on Growing and Propagating snowdrops.

The book is divided into five main chapters followed by further information on where to see snowdrops and where to buy them.  Slade begins with an explanation of “Why I Love Snowdrops” that sets the tone for the whole book, which is approachable, informative, and refreshing.  Although the author points out that a lack of detailed knowledge is not a barrier to appreciating this universally loved plant, her enthusiasm makes you want to acquire or revisit that knowledge.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-35-43 PMPhotos illustrating the discussion of good companion plants for snowdrops.

The next section of the book considers “Designing with the Milk Flower”.  Slade discusses garden design and placement, easy snowdrops for beginners, naturalizing, rock gardens, and container planting.  There are many inspired ideas for companion plantings covering other bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. 

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 2-40-18 PMCreative uses of snowdrops in containers

In “Understanding Snowdrops”, the book explains in a user-friendly way snowdrop morphology or structure, concepts that are important to understanding the differences between snowdrops and deciphering written descriptions of them.  Slade covers snowdrop species and their origins, conservation and trade, and even snowdrop theft.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-14-20 PMAlthough originally mostly single-flowered and green and white, Slade explains that the Greatorex doubles led to many more double forms and that yellow and even orange snowdrops can be found.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-56 PMProfiles of ‘Grumpy’ and G. elwesii var. monostictus

The “Spotter’s Guide” section highlights 60 snowdrops chosen with great care to represent the range available and includes many of the most-loved and best-performing cultivars.   The photographs are excellent and the individual descriptions are fresh and informative.

. Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 4-13-36 PMEach snowdrop profiled gets plenty of space for photos and descriptions.

The final main section is on “Growing and Propagating” and covers planting, dividing, fertilizing, propagating, and pests and diseases.  This is followed by a very comprehensive guide to where to see snowdrops worldwide, including the US, and where to buy them, including Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Sladesnowdropbook 1-13-2015 5-53-33 PMCambo Estate in Scotland is a great place to see snowdrops, while the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum on galanthus, click here, is a great place to learn about snowdrops.

One of Naomi Slade’s missions in writing this book was to appeal to an American audience, and she has succeeded.  While the UK is definitely the eye of the current snowdrop tornado, Slade ferrets out a lot of information useful to US readers.  Of the eight snowdrop professionals whose interviews she spreads through out the book, three of them are American, including me on page 76.  The book identifies and also anticipates the snowdrop collecting frenzy that is coming to America.  I can’t wait.

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snowdropsAnother photo of Welford Park by Naomi Slade.

If you would like to order a copy of this book, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has it available for $24.95 plus $5.95 for priority shipping.  Send an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: 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 or are interested in mail order, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. 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.

Companion Plants for Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2015 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Our 2020 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Snowdrops, G. nivalis, with Italian arum and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, in the background.

The main attraction of snowdrops is that they bloom at a time of year when flowers are rare in the garden.  There is nothing like a solitary group of beautiful white flowers to light up a dismal, cold day in February.   Although companion plants are not necessary to achieve this effect, snowdrops are even more lovely when paired with other flowering plants or evergreen leaves.  This post will give you some ideas of what plants combine well with snowdrops to create winter interest in your garden.

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 cell 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 nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, are the perfect combination for early in the snowdrop season.  Both naturalize well in woodland conditions.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite and ‘S. Arnott’, the most popular of all snowdrops with UK gardeners.

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Galanthus elwesiiEvergreen (technically winter green) ferns are a great backdrop for snowdrops, here giant snowdrops, G. elwesii, and Japanese holly fern.

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Galanthus elwesii var. monostichtus Hiemalis Group CSG -01The evergreen leaves of hellebores also set off snowdrops well.

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Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'When the hellbores bloom it is even better, here a hybrid hellebore and ‘Brenda Troyle’.

. Galanthus 'Standing Tall'‘Standing Tall’ picks up the silver markings on the evergreen leaves of Chinese ginger.

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Galanthus nivalis and Cyclamen coum at Carolyn's Shade GardensSnowdrops with winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum.  They also pair well with the much larger, silver-marked, evergreen leaves of fall-blooming cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'‘Shell Pink’ lamium blooms in my garden into December so it is a great companion for fall-blooming snowdrops like the G. reginae-olgae above.  Once the flowers are gone, the silver stripes on the evergreen leaves continue to combine well with later-blooming snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum itlalicumI think snowdrops and Italian arum are my favorite combination, here under the reddish branches of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' & Arum italicum 'Pictum'A beautifully marked arum and ‘Atkinsii’.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' Many native heucheras hold their color all winter and look great with snowdrops, especially ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Frosted Violet’, ‘Autumn Bride’, and ‘Blackout’.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'Favorite ‘S. Arnott’ with the very early-blooming daffodil ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusSnowdrops naturalized with ‘Ruby Giant’ snow crocus.

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Galanthus nivalis CressonOf course, there is something to be said for naturalizing large quantities of common snowdrops to enjoy en masse.

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galanthus in French woods from AlanSomeday your woods may look like this French forest photographed by Alan Street.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: 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 or are interested in mail order, 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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