The 2017 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders. To access the catalogue, please click here.
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: Our nursery, Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, is currently closed. If you would like to receive emails notifying you of catalogues, events, and sales, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to email@example.com. If you are only interested in snowdrops, please let us know and we will put you on the snowdrop list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cambo 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.
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