Archive for snowdrops US

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

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

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 phone 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.

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New Snowdrops for 2018 Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘South Hayes’ is very special.

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

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

Carolyn

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

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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