Archive for galanthophile

New Feature Article on Snowdrops

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Galanthus elwesiiEvery photo in this collage is of a giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, in my garden.  The differences in the markings are caused by the natural variation in the species.  None of them have been selected and given a cultivar name, although many plants like them have been named, probably too many.  Yet I find this variation fascinating.

Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

To be put on the special snowdrop email list, please send your full name, cell number for back up, and mailing address if mail order to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com and indicate you are interested in snowdrops.

In this post you will find links and descriptions of every post I have written on snowdrops.  The original purpose of this post was to let readers know that The Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group honored me by asking me to write an article on snowdrops for their newsletter. It is called “Confessions of a Galanthophile” and is the Feature Article for the January 2013 Newsletter.  You can access the on line version by clicking here.

Galanthus gracilisGalanthus gracilis

While letting you know about the Hardy Plant Society article, which makes use of parts of some of my previous blog posts, I thought this post would be a good place to list all the articles that I have written on snowdrops for easy reference.  I have interspersed the article names and links with photos of some of my favorite snowdrops.

A very unusual and pricey newer snowdrop with squared off outer segments, ‘Diggory’.

November 22, 2010

“Snowdrops or the Confessions of a Galanthophile”

origins of galanthomania, fall-blooming snowdrops

profiles G. reginae-olgae and ‘Potter’s Prelude’

click here to read

Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'G. reginae-olgae blooms in the fall with ‘Shell Pink’ lamium.

January 22, 2011

“Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile”

fascinating history of snowdrop cultivars

short profiles of 16 snowdrop cultivars

click here to read

Galanthus rizehensisGalanthus rizehensis

February 9, 2011

“Are Snowdrops Thermogenic?”

discusses plants that produce their own heat

click here to read

Galanthus woronowii Cresson Garden The shiny bright green leaves of the species snowdrop G. woronowii.

January 19, 2012

“New Snowdrops for 2012”

importance of provenance in snowdrop collecting

profiles ‘Brenda Troyle’, ‘Tiny’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Dionysus’, and G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus

click here to read

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude'The lovely American, fall-blooming snowdrop ‘Potter’s Prelude’.

January 7, 2013

‘New Snowdrops for 2013″

where to find information on snowdrops

profiles ‘Wendy’s Gold’, ‘Standing Tall’, ‘Mighty Atom’, and ‘Scharlockii’

click here to read

A new American snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii ‘Xmas’

The Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group

January 2013 Newsletter

“Confessions of a Galanthophile”

why gardeners collect snowdrops

click here to read

'Straffan' by Jonathan Shaw‘Straffan’, photo by Jonathan Shaw

January 5, 2014

“The Un-Common Snowdrop”

the common snowdrop and its cultivars

profiles G. nivalis, ‘Flore Pleno’, ‘Viridapice’, and ‘Blewbury Tart’

click here to read

My favorite single classic snowdrop, ‘Magnet’.

January 16, 2014

“The Sochi Snowdrop”

G. woronowii and its cultivars

profiles G. woronowii and ‘Elizabeth Harrison’

click here to read

‘Kite’, very early-blooming with extremely long outer segments.

.

Galanthus elwesii 'Kite' twp scapes‘Kite’ can have twin flowers on one flower stalk.

January 27, 2014

“Top 25 Snowdrop Plants Part One”

UK ranking of top 25 all-time favorite snowdrops

profiles and photos of snowdrops ranked 13 to 25

click here to read

‘Godfrey Owen’ has six outer segments.

 February 4, 2014

“Top 25 Snowdrop Plants Part Two”

UK ranking of top 25 all-time favorite snowdrops

profiles and photos of snowdrops ranked 1 to 12

click here to read

Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' CadwaladerThe gorgeous double yellow snowdrop ‘Lady Elphinstone’

December 2, 2014

“Do All Snowdrops Look Alike?”

shows the many very different types of snowdrops available

  photos of 14 strikingly different cultivars

click here to read

Galanthus 'Viridapice'Although considered ordinary by some, ‘Viridapice’ remains one of my favorite snowdrops.

December 9, 2014

“New Snowdrops for 2015”

  profiles ‘Blonde Inge’, ‘Diggory’, ‘Walrus’, and ‘Wasp’

click here to read

‘Cowhouse Green’ is a lovely part virescent snowdrop.

January 5, 2015

“Companion Plants for Snowdrops”

snowdrops are great alone but look even better with other winter interest plants

  profiles 10 winter-blooming plants to pair with snowdrops

click here to read

‘Walrus’ is ranked number 12 in all-time favorite snowdrops.

January 14, 2015

“New Snowdrop Book”

Kew Gardens A Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops

review with images from the book

click here to read

Leucojum vernum var. carpathicumAn unusual form of spring snowflake with yellow markings, Leucojum vernum var. carpaticum.

March 17, 2016

“Snowflakes (Leucojum) Continue the Snowdrop Season”

profiles many unusual forms of snowflakes, a close relative of snowdrops

click here to read

2017-catalogue-collage-11-26-2016-12-14-18-pm-11-26-2016-12-14-18-pmSome of my special snowdrops that I want to keep well marked.

December 6, 2016

“Curating a Plant Collection: Snowdrops or Otherwise”

how to keep track of your growing snowdrop collection

click here to read

The naturally blue lake at Colesborne Park below a hillside of snowdrops.

March 3, 2017

“Drifts of Snowdrops at Colesbourne Park”

photos and descriptions of our February 2017 trip to the famous English snowdrop venues

click here to read

March 15, 2017

“Snowdrops at the Royal Horticultural Society Spring Show”

setting up the Avon Bulbs snowdrop exhibit at the February 2017 show in London

click here to read

‘Fly Fishing’

November 18, 2017

“New Snowdrops for 2018”

profiles of ‘Ailwyn’, ‘Angelique’, ‘Bertram Anderson’, ‘Greenish’, ‘Fly Fishing’, and ‘Colossus’

click here to read

‘South Hayes’

November 28, 2017

“New Snowdrops for 2018 Part Two”

profiles of ‘Jonathan’, ‘Madelaine’, ‘Mrs. Macnamara’, ‘Welshway’, ‘South Hayes’, and ‘Titania’

click here to read

Galanthus 'Lapwing'‘Lapwing’ has a great mark and is a vigorous multiplier.

December 5, 2017

“Fine Gardening Feature Article on Snowdrops”

reprint of my cover article for the February 2016 issue of Fine Gardening

click here to read

Snowdrops and hellebores along the path to a folly at Painswick.

December 29, 2017

“Painswick Rococo Garden”

tour of winter garden and snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Gardens

click here to read

John Morley welcomes us to the gardens at North Green Snowdrops.

January 15, 2018

“North Green Snowdrops”

tour of the snowdrop garden at North Green Snowdrops

click here to read

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

March 7, 2018

“Exceptional Snowdrops and Gardens, England February 2018”

highlights of winter gardens and snowdrops in England

click here to read

Rodmarton Manor has an extensive snowdrop collection in its Arts and Crafts garden.

March 20, 2018

“Rodmarton Manor Garden”

tour of Rodmarton Manor’s winter garden and snowdrop collection

click here to read

‘Sprite’ is a beautiful and distinct snowdrop selected at Avon Bulbs.

March 25, 2018

“A Day in the Life of an Avon Bulbs Snowdrop”

introduction of new snowdrops at Avon Bulbs in England

click here to read

‘Art Nouveau’ has a unique and elegant look.

November 13, 2018

“New Snowdrops for 2019: Part One”

profiles of ‘Godfrey Owen’, ‘Barnes’, ‘Art Nouveau’, ‘Armine’, ‘Puck’, and ‘Sprite’

click here to read

‘Richard Ayres’ is a large and vigorous double.

November 27, 2018

“New Snowdrops for 2019: Part Two”

profiles of ‘Richard Ayres’, ‘Green Brush’, ‘Faringdon Double’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Trym’, and ‘Starling’

click here to read

‘Three Ships’ is a gorgeous G. plicatus that blooms around Christmas.

December 11, 2018

“Your February 2019 Snowdrop Trip to England”

planning a trip to England during snowdrop season

click here to read

‘Xmas’ was selected and introduced by Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

October 23, 2019

“Early-Blooming Snowdrops”

profiles G. reginae olgae, ‘Potter’s Prelude’, ‘Barnes’, ‘Standing Tall’, and ‘Xmas’

click here to read

‘S. Arnott’ is the favorite snowdrop of galanthophiles everywhere.

November 2, 2020

“Classic Snowdrops”

profiles ‘Atkinsii’, ‘S. Arnott’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Hill Poe’, and ‘Scharlockii’

click here to read

‘One Drop or Two?’ is a rare twin-flowered snowdrop.

November 14, 2020

“New Snowdrops for 2021”

profiles ‘Beth Chatto’, ‘Bill Clark’, ‘Bagpuize Virginia’, ‘Fieldgate Prelude’, ‘Natalie Garton’, ‘Pom Pom’, and ‘One Drop or Two?’

click here to read

“Sarah Dumont’ has gorgeous yellow markings.

November 21, 2020

“New Snowdrops for 2021: Part 2”

profiles ‘Sarah Dumont’, G. nivalis subsp. poculiformis, ‘Green Arrow’, ‘Moortown Mighty’, ‘Wonston Double’, and ‘Trympostor’

click here to read

G. nivalis subsp. poculiformis sports six pure white, outer segments

2021 Snowdrop Catalogue

40 varieties of snowdrops for sale mail order

click here to access

Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is lovely in a mass and bulks up quickly.

* * * * *

All the posts as well as the catalogue itself, provide interesting and informative reading on subjects ranging from the origins of galanthomania, the fascinating history of snowdrops, their provenance, how to research them, and even whether they produce their own heat.  I intend to add titles and links through the years as I write more about one of my favorite topics.

Enjoy, Carolyn

.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US, 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 you are interested in mail order, please send your full name and cell 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.

New Snowdrops for 2013

Posted in New Plants, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Snowdrops O through Z-001Some of the snowdrops available from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in 2013.

.

Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

.

This post includes photographs and colorful descriptions of the 4 new snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue.  There were three more new cultivars offered, but they sold out within two days of the catalogue being posted on my website.  For entertaining descriptions of most of the remaining 13 varieties offered, click here.

Galanthus 'Hippolyta' photo Paddy TobinThe Greatorex double snowdrop ‘Hippolyta’ was new in 2012.  For background on the Greatorex doubles, a discussion of snowdrop provenance,  and information about ‘Hippolyta’, click here.  Photo by Paddy Tobin.  We are also offering the early flowering Greatorex double ‘Ophelia’.

In Snowdrops or The Confessions of a Galanthophile, I described my transition from someone who grows snowdrops to someone who is obsessed with them.  In Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile, I explained that most snowdrop cultivars can be appreciated as much for their colorful history as for their ornamental characteristics.  That history is contained in Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), commonly called the “snowdrop bible”.

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude'Potter’s Prelude’ is a vigorous and beautiful snowdrop that blooms in the fall.  This year it started in mid-November and still has some fresh flowers today (1/6/13).  For more information on fall-blooming snowdrops, click here.

Whenever I obtain a new snowdrop or offer one in my catalogue, I always research it thoroughly both for fun and to make sure that what I am offering is the genuine article.  The first place that I go is to the “snowdrop bible” to review the detailed description and history of the species or cultivar in question.  This year I was also able to consult a new snowdrop book, Snowdrops by Gunter Waldorf (Frances Lincoln Limited 2012).  What it lacks in detail, it makes up for with 300 photographs accompanied by short descriptions highlighting the salient characteristics of the snowdrops profiled.  It also contains no nonsense advice about growing and collecting snowdrops.

Although the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, pictured above with Italian arum and snow crocus, is the most prevalent snowdrop in gardens, it is by no means common in the ordinary sense of the word.  In fact, it is the best choice for gardeners who want to naturalize snowdrops in masses.

After hitting the books, I search the internet and read everything that has been written about the new snowdrop.  The available material is mostly the catalogues of all the big UK snowdrop sellers like Avon Bulbs, Harveys Garden Plants, and Monksilver Nursery, among others, but sometimes I come across fun historical or informational articles.  I also consult the Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum Galanthus thread where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess.  After that, I look at photo galleries of snowdrops, particularly the Galanthus Gallery  and the new snowdrop photos on the Dryad Nursery website.

Galanthus elwesiiThe giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, is also a vigorous spreader.  This is the species massed at Winterthur.

Finally, as much as possible, I research the provenance of the snowdrop I am adding to my catalogue or collection.  Provenance is the history of a snowdrop’s ownership, documenting the authenticity of the actual bulbs being sold.  It is important that snowdrops come from a reputable source and be carefully tracked by subsequent owners.  With over 500, and some say 1,000, snowdrop cultivars circulating among collectors, it is easy to make mistakes.  For more information on provenance, click here.  With that background, on to the new snowdrops.

Galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold' The very rare yellow snowdrop ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

I am thrilled to offer a yellow snowdrop for the first time, and not just any yellow, but ‘Wendy’s Gold’, the cream of the crop. Not only is this snowdrop much sought after even in England, but it easily refutes the oft made claim that all snowdrops look alike.  It was discovered in 1974 by Bill Clark, the Warden of the UK National Trust property Wandlebury Ring near Cambridge.  Ten years later, with some prodding, he realized how rare it was and decided to name it after his wife Wendy.  All the bulbs except three were then sold to a Dutch bulb company where they subsequently died,  Luckily, the remaining bulbs proved robust, and we have ‘Wendy’s Gold’ today.

Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold'


‘Wendy’s Gold’ is a superb and vigorous snowdrop with a yellow ovary (the “cap” above the petal-like segments) and a large and vivid yellow mark on the inner segments.  Its G. plicatus parentage gives it beautiful wide pleated leaves with folded margins, serving as a gorgeous backdrop for the striking flowers.  These plants come from galanthophile Barbara Tiffany, who recently traveled to the Republic of Georgia to view wild snowdrops.  Barbara got her stock from Gwen Black, an avid UK collector.  Gwen confirmed their provenance to me and stated that her ‘Wendy’s Gold’ came from the famous plantswoman Kath Dryden, former president of the UK Alpine Garden Society.  A little bit of history in each bulb!

.

Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall' Cresson photo-001‘Standing Tall’ is a very impressive snowdrop.

In 1988, regional horticulturist Charles Cresson began evaluating a G. elwesii snowdrop known until this year as 88-1.  Over the years of testing it in various conditions in his garden, he discovered that 88-1 is a remarkable snowdrop.  Its 12″ height, about as tall as snowdrops get, and very upright habit give it a commanding presence in the garden.  However, as it turns out, 88-1 doesn’t have much competition from other snowdrops because it starts blooming right before Christmas and continues through the month of January, a time period when few other snowdrops bloom.

Galanthus elwesii 'Standing Tall' Cresson photo-005A close up of ‘Standing Tall’s’ flower.

Luckily, I was able to convince Charles that 25 years was long enough to evaluate a snowdrop, and he should introduce this absolutely outstanding new selection.  Charles decided to name it ‘Standing Tall’ to reflect its height, very upright habit, and ability to stand up to whatever the season brings, lying down in very cold weather and popping right back up as if nothing had happened.  Charles is in the process of registering it with the KAVB, the international registration authority for bulb cultivars in the Netherlands.  In the meantime, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is thrilled to be chosen to introduce it for sale.

.

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom' Cresson GardenThe large and elegant flowers of ‘Mighty Atom’.

‘Mighty Atom’ is a beautiful snowdrop with very large, rounded, bright white flowers—the biggest flowers in the catalogue—with a bold, deep green mark on the inner segments.  Its habit is short, compact, and even making an exceptional overall presentation.  I have admired it for years and urged Charles to offer it, but he was reluctant due to its somewhat confused history. 

British snowdrop legend EB Anderson inherited the original ‘Mighty Atom’ from John Gray in 1952 and subsequently named it.  However, in later years, Snowdrops states that Anderson distributed a group of distinct but excellent clones, now known as the ‘Mighty Atom’ complex, under this name.  Charles’s stock came from plantsman Don Hackenberry who can trace its lineage directly back to EB Anderson, although it is not an offset of what is believed to be Gray’s “original” clone.  This member of the ‘Mighty Atom’ complex has proven to be reliable, vigorous, and trouble-free.

.

Galanthus nivalis 'Scharlockii' Cresson‘Scharlockii’ is characterized by the “rabbit ear’s” formed by its spathe (flower covering).

The final member of the four new snowdrops in my 2013 Snowdrop Catalogue is ‘Scharlockii’, a cultivar of the common snowdrop, G. nivalisIt is a charming and distinctive snowdrop with boldly marked green tips on its outer segments but most notable for the rabbit ears (see photo) formed when its spathe splits into two prominently upright, leaf-like halves.  It was discovered in 1818 by Herr Julius Scharlock of Grandenz, Germany, and named in 1868.  Charles got his stock from Winterthur, known for its amazing snowdrop display, when he worked there in the early 1990s.

.

Obviously, I find everything about snowdrops fascinating and hope I have communicated some of my infatuation to you.  If you are in the U.S. and want to order from the catalogue, just follow the directions for mail order.

Carolyn

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US.  The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas 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.

 

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens Goes International

Posted in bulbs for shade, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

The BBC News Magazine was hours away from publication when they emailed to request a photo of me with snowdrops.  My husband and I had a quick photo shoot and this is what we came up with.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled flow of posts on this blog with breaking news.  The owner of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is prominently featured in the BBC News Magazine lead article for February 2 entitled “Snowdrop Fanciers and Their Mania”. 

All kidding aside, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I am in the company of Matt Bishop and John Grimshaw, two of the authors of the “snowdrop bible” Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, and Chris Ireland-Jones, the owner of the famous English snowdrop nursery Avon Bulbs.  You know what a snowdrop fanatic I am so this is the ultimate compliment.  To read the article (I am in the second half), click here.

Second Annual Snowdrops & Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars

Charles Cresson pointing out some of his very unusual snowdrop cultivars to last year’s seminar attendees.

I am very excited that winter interest plant expert and gardener extraordinaire Charles Cresson has agreed once again to give seminars on Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants just for my customers.  The seminars will be limited to 20 people each and will take place in his amazing Swarthmore garden, Hedgleigh Spring.  The brochure telling you the details and how to sign up is here.  If you are a local gardener and interested in attending, I encourage you to email immediately because I expect these seminars to sell out.  For a complete description of the 2011 seminars with many photos, click here.


Since this post is about all things snowdrop, I thought I would show you the first snowdrops to bloom in my garden in 2012:

The very first snowdrop cultivar to open in my garden in 2012: ‘Kite’.  Notice the very long outer segments (petals).


Second to open was Galanthus plicatus ‘Augustus’ with its striking puffy rounded and quilted outer segments.

‘Magnet’ is open and swaying in the breeze on its unusually long and thin flower stems (pedicels).

The double common snowdrop ‘Flore Pleno’ is blooming even though it is usually one of the last snowdrops to open in the middle to end of March.

The aristocratic snowdrop ‘Atkinsii’, said to resemble the pearl drop earrings of Elizabeth I, is also flowering.

The common snowdrop, G. nivalis, is blooming a few weeks early.  I shot this picture to document the date they opened and had a funny feeling that something wasn’t right.  When I uploaded the photos to the computer I realized the plants in the front have four outer segments instead of three—very interesting.

The giant snowdrop, G. elwesii, has been flowering on and off since November, but this patch just opened this week.

I avidly read the Galanthus threads on the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum where galanthophiles from all over the world meet to obsess about snowdrops.  I highly recommend this forum if you are interested in snowdrops and want to learn more.  The forumists are some of the most knowledgeable galanthophiles around but very welcoming and eager to share their passion.  Several of them commented on the varied markings on the giant snowdrops pictured above which got me outside with my camera to record the marks.  Here is what I found:

Every flower in this collage is the same species, G. elwesii, and yet the green marks on the inner segments are all different, from the small single green mark on the middle  right flower to the mark that looks like a mustache and eyes in the middle of the bottom row.  Although I realize this will not excite most gardeners, at least everyone can see the amazing variety.  And variety is the spice of life.



I have recently been honored with the Versatile Blogger Award by four different blogs, and I want to thank them for the accolade.  I try to make my blog posts varied and yes versatile (able or meant to be used in many different ways), and I am glad that my efforts are appreciated.  I am not following the award rules, but instead letting you know who gave me the award in hopes that you will visit their blogs.  Here are the links and some information to entice you to visit them:

Graphicality–UK:  Helene is a very accomplished author.  You might want to check out her recent post on the book she published with her lovely photos of Kew Gardens.  Her current post talks about US grey squirrels invading Britain.

Green Place:  Sheila is in Chapel Hill, NC, and reflects on spirituality, nature and gardening.  She and I also share a love of Maine islands.

The Amateur Weeder:  For a very different perspective, Lyn gardens in Australia and her blog produces “seedlings from the mind of an inconstant gardener.”  I particularly liked her recent post called Designed by Nature.

Women and the Garden:  Patty writes about “the history of the garden and the various roles women played in that history,” and it is  all absolutely fascinating.  She doesn’t post often, but when she does you don’t want to miss it.  Her latest post is on Pomona, the roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards.

Carolyn

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens now has a Facebook page where I can post single photos, garden tips, and other information that don’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Calendar:  If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide, 20% off through 2/5/12.  For details, click here.

Nursery Happenings: To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order.  The Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plant Seminars are also available for registration here.  The Friday seminar has one space left, and there are three spaces on Monday.  Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. 

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 carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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 2012

Posted in New Plants, Shade Perennials, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Who said all snowdrops look alike?  Some of my favorites: top row, L to R, ‘Wendy’s Gold’, ‘Blewbury Tart’, ‘Hippolyta’, ‘Flore Pleno’; middle, ‘Jaquenetta’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Lady Elphinstone’, ‘Augustus’; bottom, unknown, ‘Ophelia’, G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus, ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’.

.

Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

.

This article includes photographs and colorful descriptions of the 5 new snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2012 Snowdrop CatalogueFor entertaining descriptions of most of the remaining 13 varieties offered in the 2012 catalogue, click here.

The hundreds of snowdrop cultivars out there range from a classic like ‘Atkinsii’ pictured above to…(see next photo)

In Snowdrops or The Confessions of a Galanthophile, I described my transition from someone who grows snowdrops to someone who is obsessed with them.  In Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile, I explained that most snowdrop cultivars can be appreciated as much for their colorful history as for their ornamental characteristics.  That history is contained in Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), commonly called the “snowdrop bible”.

Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart' at Carolyn's Shade Gardens…this crazy, modern double cultivar, ‘Blewbury Tart’, which looks like it’s having a bad hair day (I love it!).

The information in Snowdrops is not only interesting but also crucial to keeping straight all the available snowdrops.  Snowdrops describes over 500 cultivars, and the authors admit that it is now out-of-date, and a second volume is required (for details on Snowdrops 2, click here).  Snowdrops description of the cultivar along with the actual origin of the snowdrop plant in question both contribute to its provenance: the history of its ownership documenting its authenticity.  If a collector is purchasing an expensive plant, provenance is very important.

Snowdrop prices range from the very affordable (but no less desirable) common snowdrop, G. nivalis, pictured above with Italian arum and snow crocus, to…(see next photo)

…the highly collectible (with a price to match) ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

‘Brenda Troyle’, a new snowdrop from Charles Cresson in my 2012 catalogue, is a perfect example of how this works.  True ‘Brenda Troyle’ is a vigorous snowdrop admired for its well-proportioned, rounded flowers with flared and cupped outer petals (segments) and a strong fragrance of honey.  It received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1960 for “outstanding excellence for ordinary garden decoration or use.”  Customers who attended Charles Cresson’s snowdrop seminars last year loved it.

Charles Cresson’s authenticated ‘Brenda Troyle’

But Snowdrops explains that ‘Brenda Troyle’ is very mixed up in the trade.  In fact, it is even unclear whether it was named after a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Pirate or a staff member at an Irish nursery.  In cases like this, it is very important that the snowdrop display the desirable characteristics of the cultivar as Cresson’s stock does.  It is equally as important that the original stock was purchased from a reputable source and kept labeled since its purchase.  Charles got his plants from a bulb company started by the venerable Hoog family of Van Tubergen fame and conserves his whole snowdrop collection with the utmost care.

Galanthus ‘Tiny’

‘Tiny’ is a snowdrop that does not suffer from an identity crisis as Snowdrops states that almost every galanthophile in the U.K. grows it.  It is a diminutive form of the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, easily distinguished by its narrow leaves and elfin stature.  It is quite charming in a clump, which develops rapidly with this vigorous cultivar.  It also flowers later, extending the snowdrop season into late spring.

The subspecies byzantinus of G. plicatus is easily distinguished from subspecies plicatus by the two marks on its inner segments.


Unique provenance adds significantly to the desirability of a snowdrop as is the case with the Turkish snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus subsp. byzantinus.  This subspecies has beautiful wide pleated leaves and lovely plump flowers joined in an elegant overall habit.  It comes from a small area in northwestern Turkey, but is uncommon even there.  Subspecies byzantinus is an exceptionally good form of G. plicatus, hard to come by even in the U.K.

The elegant habit of G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus.

But the part of its provenance that is really exciting is that these plants originated from one of the most celebrated and important American snowdrop collections, the gardens at Winterthur.  As Henry Francis du Pont added plants to Winterthur, snowdrops became a focus.  In the 1930s, he purchased the parents of these very bulbs from Barr & Sons, a renowned bulb house that operated in Covent Gardens, London, from 1882 to 1956.  When Charles Cresson worked at Winterthur in the early 1990s, he was given plants of this unique snowdrop, and we are offering the offspring of those plants in the 2012 catalogue.  Now that’s provenance!

The Greatorex double ‘Hippolyta’ (photo by and used with the permission of Paddy Tobin).

The final two new snowdrops were both hybridized in the mid-twentieth century by the legendary but enigmatic snowdrop breeder Heyrick Greatorex and are known as Greatorex doubles.  Snowdrops makes an unflattering reference to a story that he spent World War II in a local pub.  However, further research reveals that, in addition to serving in WWII, he fought in World War I, was wounded at Lagincourt, and received the Victory and British Medals—a very distinguished record indeed.  If you would like to read more about him, click here.

Galanthus 'Hippolyta' photo Paddy Tobin‘Hippolyta’ (photo by and used with the permission of Paddy Tobin)

‘Hippolyta’ is the shortest of the many Greatorex double snowdrops, which Heyrick Greatorex developed by crossing the double common snowdrop, G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’, with the species G. plicatus to create large and vigorous plants.  He named them after characters in Shakespeare’s plays, Hippolyta appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Although some of the Greatorex doubles are confused, ‘Hippolyta’ consistently produces neatly doubled, rounded flowers, combining a tightly compact inner rosette with cupped and flaring outer petals (segments)—a charming arrangement.  It received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1970.

 

The Greatorex double ‘Dionysus’

The final member of the five new snowdrops in my 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue is ‘Dionysus’, also a member of the acclaimed series of double snowdrops developed by Heyrick Greatorex (although not a Shakespeare character).  ‘Dionysus’ is one of the taller and earlier flowering doubles in this series.  It has fewer inner segments  than other Greatorex doubles, and  they feature a large, deep green, inverted heart-shaped mark.  Evidently Heyrick Greatorex described ‘Dionysus’ as one of the best of his doubles for cultivation in the open garden.  Charles got his bulbs from the well known Oregon bulb authority Jane McGary.

Obviously, I find everything about snowdrops fascinating and hope I have communicated some of my infatuation to you.  If you are in the U.S. and want to order from the catalogue, just follow the directions for mail order.

Carolyn

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.


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.

Snowdrops: Further Confessions of a Galanthophile

Posted in bulbs for shade, New Plants, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ described in Snowdrops as having “elegant elongated flowers that suggest the drop-pearl earrings of Elizabeth I,”  I can’t improve on that

.

Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

.

This article includes photographs and colorful descriptions of the 15 snowdrops I am offering for sale in my 2011 Snowdrop Catalogue.

 

In my garden, I have many forms of Galanthus elwesii, which was named for Henry John Elwes (1846-1922), described as a “true energetic Victorian” combing the world for big game, fine trees, insects, birds, and snowdrops

 

In my article Snowdrops or the Confessions of a Galanthophile, I revealed that I am obsessed with snowdrops.  I described my evolution from a gardener growing a few distinct varieties to a galanthophile collecting every cultivated snowdrop I could get my hands on.  I explained that I could now see the often subtle differences between flowers that others might unknowingly (shall we say ignorantly) dismiss as ridiculous.  To understand how far I have gone down this road, know that I recently found myself describing a snowdrop as having “a bold inner marking with a basal blotch narrowly joined to an apical round-armed V.”  There is no turning back.

 

Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’, probably the oldest snowdrop cultivar  in existence with records as early as 1703

 

But I didn’t talk about one of the things I find most fascinating about snowdrops.  They are the only plant that I would purchase as much for their colorful history as for their ornamental characteristics.  And how do I find out about their captivating  lineage: I consult Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006).  This book, always referred to as the snowdrop bible, has all the information anyone could want about the 500 “commonly” cultivated snowdrops.

 

The Greatorex Double, Galanthus ‘Ophelia’

After reading Snowdrops, who would not want Galanthus ‘Ophelia’, a beautiful double snowdrop, when it was originated by Heyrick Greatorex of Brundall, Norfolk, England, a man who lived “an unconventional lifestyle” in a wooden garden shed that might have been a railway carriage?  Or a snowdrop like Galanthus ‘Magnet’ that has reached its centenary [a word not used commonly in the US so I had to look it up] and was probably named for “the old-fashioned child’s game in which magnets are attached to miniature fishing rods for the purpose of picking up painted metal fish, the point being to win the game by catching the most?”  I played that game.

 

Galanthus ‘Magnet’, can you can see the miniature fishing rod?

Galanthus ‘Straffan’, Baron Clarina of Ireland’s souvenir of the Crimean War

Who can resist the indestructible Galanthus ‘Straffan’, the third oldest snowdrop cultivar still in existence, discovered in the later 1800s by the head gardener for Straffan House in County Kildare, Ireland, in a clump of G. plicatus brought back from the Crimean War by the owner, the fourth Baron Clarina?  Or October-flowering Galanthus reginae-olgae, named in 1876 in honor of Queen Olga of Greece, the grandmother of  the current Duke of Edinburgh?  [In the US, we would say grandmother of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband.]

 

The October-flowering Galanthus reginae-olgae, named for Prince Philip’s grandmother, photo Charles Cresson

Galanthus nivalis/Common SnowdropGalanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, has a 500-year lineage to brag about

 

Even the plain old common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, an imminently garden-worthy plant, has been cultivated as an ornamental in England since the 16th century.  There are written records.  The species snowdrop, Galanthus woronowii, was collected on the eastern shores of the Black Sea and named by a Russian botanist for Russian plant collector Georg Jurii Nikolaewitch Woronow (1874-1931).

The shiny green leaves of Galanthus woronowii named for plant collector Georg Jurii Nikolaewitch Woronow, photo Charles Cresson

 

Galanthus ‘Blewbury Tart’ found by Alan Street in Blewbury, Oxfordshire, England

Even more modern snowdrops have name-dropping heritages.  Snowdrops tells us that when noted horticulturist Alan Street of the well known English bulb house, Avon Bulbs, and the discoverer of Galanthus ‘Blewbury Tart’, gave three bulbs instead of one to quirky English gardener, Primrose Warburg (1920-1996), she “characteristically complained” and called it ‘Blewbury Muffin’.  This is the same Primrose Warburg who we are told cautioned visitors navigating her treacherous garden slope to be careful, not because they might hurt themselves, but because the snowdrops were irreplaceable. Galanthus ‘Beth Chatto’ was, of course, discovered in the gardens of the internationally famous gardener and writer, Beth Chatto, OBE [Order of the British Empire].

 

Galanthus ‘Beth Chatto’ from the internationally famous Beth Chatto Gardens

 

Snowdrops describes Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ as the “classic snowdrop….a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone,” photo Charles Cresson

Other cultivars have discussions of their origins so complicated as to rival the US Tax Code, something I am familiar with from my former career. Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ is in danger of losing its name to ‘Arnott’s Seedling’, the name under which it was given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, but a name deemed unsuitable because E.A. Bowles, “one of the most revered plantsman of all times,” later called it ‘S. Arnott’.  The  International Cultivar Registration Society in the Netherlands has been so advised. Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’ has evidently had many imitators since it was discovered prior to 1922 near an old farmhouse in northern Holland, and confusion is rampant.

 

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’, hopefully not an impostor

Please do not think I am in any way making fun of this book.  I love it, and I wish all plant genera had books this information-packed and well written dedicated to them.  I list Snowdrops on my Blotanical profile as the garden book I am currently reading because I am always reading it.  Rumor has it that a new edition is in the works (for an update from John Grimshaw, click here), and I will buy it.  If you like snowdrops, you should own it too.

Well, based on the tales found in the snowdrop bible, what cultivars are in my future?  I am intrigued by ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, a vigorous double, whose namesake (1877-1944) struggled to create an English garden in India when her husband was Governor of Madras.  I have my eye on ‘Merlin’ with its solid green blotch, whose stock was maintained by Amy Doncaster (1894-1995), “a greatly admired, no-nonsense plantswoman” who collected my favorite plants, snowdrops, hellebores and epimediums, in her woodland garden.  Finally, I would like to grow ‘Primrose Warburg’, a rare yellow snowdrop, because I think I might be just like her when I grow up.

Galanthus ‘Merlin’ whose stock was maintained by no-nonsense plantswoman Amy Doncaster

 

Carolyn

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.), click here.

The view from my office this morning:

Snowdrops or the Confessions of a Galanthophile

Posted in bulbs for shade, Fall Color, Shade Gardening, snowdrops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Common Snowdrop at Carolyn's Shade GardensCommon Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis

Our 2021 Snowdrop Catalogue is on line here, and we are currently taking orders.

I have always loved snowdrops. I loved them so much that I set my seasonal clock by them.  When they bloomed, it was spring no matter what the calendar said. When we purchased our property in 1983, it came with thousands of common snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis. Many of my original snowdrops are on an open south-facing hill and often start to bloom at the beginning of February.  That’s when spring began for me.  When they bloomed, I would put on my warmest set of work clothes, head out to the garden, and leave the winter doldrums behind.

'Viridi-apice' snowdrops at Carolyn's Shade GardensGreen-tipped Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice’

That was before I became a galanthophile, a British word describing gardeners obsessed with snowdrops.  In my pre-galanthophile days, I thought (and I shudder to put this in writing) that once you had the double ‘Flore Pleno’, and the giant G.  elwesii, and the green-tipped ‘Viridi-apice’, and the glossy green-leafed G. woronowii, you pretty much had the snowdrop field covered.  The rest all looked the same, didn’t they?  What were all those collectors getting so excited about?

But one day, I realized the error of my ways and was seized by the galanthophile obsession to collect every snowdrop cultivar I could get my hands on.  Actually, it didn’t really happen in a day—more like years.  It started with reading the snowdrop sections in the (old) Heronswood catalogues.  Dan Hinkley was a master at plant descriptions, and I ordered a few new cultivars each year.  However, my fate as a galanthophile was sealed when I visited the garden of  famous regional plantsman Charles Cresson during snowdrop season.  Charles can make you see and appreciate the finest distinctions in plants, and he is so generous with his treasures.

Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart' at Carolyn's Shade GardensGalanthus ‘Blewbury Tart’

Now I had the wild up-facing double ‘Blewbury Tart’, and ‘Magnet’ with the fishing line stem, and the drop-pearl earring shaped ‘Atkinsii’, and  the classic ‘S. Arnott’, and the rabbit-eared ‘Sharlockii’, and …. they all looked different to me.  I only have 25 varieties though, hardly qualifying me to join the International Galanthophile Society if there is one.  Luckily (or unluckily) unusual snowdrops are rarely offered for sale in the U.S. saving me from creating a system to keep track of hundreds of snowdrop cultivars in my garden.  The British snowdrop “bible”, Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by Matt Bishop, et al., describes 500 cultivars and is sadly out-of-date number-wise.

snowdrop 'Magnet' at Carolyn's Shade GardensGalanthus ‘Magnet’

But why am I talking about snowdrops in fall?  Because two of the unusual varieties I have been able to collect bloom in fall.  This wreaked havoc with my “start of spring” clock, which I had to reset to recognize the wonderful fragrance of sweet box as the beginning of spring.  But this inconvenience has been more than outweighed by allowing me to start my snowdrop season in early October with the blooming of Galanthus reginae-olgae.

October blooming Galanthus reginae-olgae, photo Charles Cresson

Galanthus reginae-olgae, a species snowdrop which has no handy common name, starts blooming in my garden in early to mid-October and continues for about four weeks.  It looks very much like the common snowdrop, G. nivalis, with a single green spot on its inner petals.  Its most significant identifying feature is its bloom time as it is the first species to flower in the garden.   It is not particularly robust in my garden, but I love it in October.

fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade GardensNovember blooming Galanthus ‘Potter’s Prelude’

Just as G. reginae-olgae is winding down, the first blooms of Galanthus elwesii var. monostichus ‘Potter’s Prelude’ are opening in early November.  It continues to flower, sometimes into January, when the straight species, G. elwesii, takes over.  ‘Potter’s Prelude’ is a free-flowering and vigorous snowdrop in my garden with wide recurving blue-green leaves.  It has large blossoms equal in size to the best cultivars of the giant snowdrop, G. elwesii.

fall-blooming snowdrop 'Potter's Prelude' at Carolyn's Shade GardensNovember blooming Galanthus ‘Potter’s Prelude’

‘Potter’s Prelude’ was selected by Jack Potter, former curator of the Scott Arboretum, and named and registered by Charles Cresson.  Charles has generously allowed me to include ‘Potter’s Prelude’ for sale in my February snowdrop catalogue and given me enough plants to enjoy good-sized clumps in late fall in my own garden.

Carolyn

%d bloggers like this: