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Snowdrops


by Adam Pasco

Although I grow snowdrops in my own garden, and I admire their short-lived display - most welcome at the coldest time of year - they don't really rock my boat.


SnowdropsWoodland floors carpeted with snowdrops do look beautiful, cool and calming, but their pure simplicity causes quite a stir in some quarters. A particular breed of person, the galanthophile, gets quite excited by this particular flower (a member of the genus Galanthus). Fortunately, there are many great gardens around the country where such enthusiasts can get their snowdrop fix over the coming weeks.

Although I grow snowdrops in my own garden, and I admire their short-lived display – most welcome at the coldest time of year – they don’t really rock my boat.

But could I become a galanthophile? Does a certain sort of person become fixated with a particular plant, or are we all susceptible? If I spent more time in the company of a real galanthophile, getting close-up and personal with more unusual varieties than the common Galanthus nivalis, perhaps I would be converted.

Don’t get me wrong. Over the years I’ve had passions for particular plants, such as pineapple flowers (Eucomis), but I haven’t gone so far as to build up a National Collection, or go trekking to visit other growers.

My enthusiasm for plants changes, too. At first a new plant gets my attention, and gradually my head is turned whenever I see other relatives too. A small collection builds into a larger one, until I realise that what I want in my garden is variety and not lots of the same or similar plants.

And so to those that like nothing better than dropping to their knees at this time of year to study the intricate variety of green marking on white petals: enjoy every minute. I’m not sure I could stand the excitement, so will probably stay home and turn the compost heap.

Undoubtedly I’ll be told that I’m missing something, so please enlighten me. If there’s a secret to be shared then this is the place to share it with the world!



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Gardeners' World Web User 25/01/2011 at 08:51

Ah, I have a theory about galanthophile types. They seem to see in snowdrops what most of us see in people - variety. There's the large, showy type like "Colossus", the shy but dependable type like nivalis and nivalis flore-pleno with its pretty double flowers and the more studious ones with broader leaves like elwesii named after Henry Elwes. You find a great deal of gardening history even in the names of snowdrops. They flower usually, depending on the variety, from December to March but you can get ones that flower in Sept. There is a wonderful panorama of many species and varieties of snowdrops round Churchill Hall, a student residence in Bristol, interplanted with crocuses, gold,purple and white, which will turn anyone who sees it into a snowdrop-lover. It does not matter if it hurts to bend to see a flower more closely if you discover when you do it has just that streak of individuality that you love in your friends.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/01/2011 at 12:49

So looking forward to Monty returning to Gardeners World - having not been well recently and feeling very down - not being able to get onto my garden. I was browsing through GW magazine Feb 06 and came across Montys article - 'natural tonic' I followed his advice and how right he was - 10 minutes turned into an hour and I feel so much better and ready to start preparing for Spring! Thank you Monty

Gardeners' World Web User 26/01/2011 at 16:25

Sorry Adam that snowddrops don't 'rock your boat'. I think they are truly amazing and a wonderful sight at this time of year when little else is in flower. The ground is rock hard and one can hardly put a spade or fork in but somehow the little snowdrops have managed to push their way through.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/01/2011 at 10:12

I have always loved snowdrops and, like my namesake Anne, especially en masse. My favourites are the single nivalis ones (though I have other kinds) and they like my garden too. I've just spent a happy half hour moving some that had spread so far as to be in danger of getting walked on. What I love is their seeming fragility, and their way of enhancing what can be a bleak time of year. Love Anne's name for bluebells too - have lots!

Gardeners' World Web User 06/02/2011 at 12:55

How do I go about asking questions on here? I am wondering if it is too late to plant bulbs such as tulips...... Thanks

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