Snowdrops galore


The weather is demented – going from cold and bright to heavy frost to milder with lots of low cloud (aka thick fog) – but the snowdrops are really out now, and I don’t care about the weather!

They are beautiful in almost any conditions that the weather can throw at us:

with the possible exception of the fog, where they are just likely to get stepped on. That would be cruel…

They also give me the most splendid excuse not to get involved in the all-Wales weedathon that is my garden: ‘I’ve just got to photograph the snowdrops before the sun goes…’ This also means that I haven’t been able to get involved in lifting heavy slate slabs to see why the level of the paving has dropped (broken pipe is best bet, probably caused by cedar roots in search of a drink). Shame.

And, of course, the snowdrops are giving me a perfect opportunity to finally work out how to use my new camera properly, rather than just keeping my fingers crossed, my finger on the button (difficult, given the state of my hands – operation soon) and my metaphors mixed.

I’m relieved to see that my earlier fears about short stems have been proved unfounded. They’re fine. Stems as usual. Not that I pick them, mind – but I do like them to stand a little taller than the grass. I still end up crawling around, though.

There are plenty of galanthophiles out there who have many beautiful and rare varieties in their gardens, and who monitor them closely and even keep count, and fair play to them: I applaud their involvement. I’m afraid I’ve only got two – ordinary singles, and ordinary doubles. And counting? I’ll settle for ‘lots’.

I’ve planted maybe a hundred or so in the green, the last about six years ago, and I’ve let them get on with it. I did think they’d like it here as there were already a couple of small clumps, even though I didn’t think the garden was an ideal snowdrop home. But it evidently is. The sheer number I now have – big clumps, medium clumps, random singles springing up apparently spontaneously across the top and middle gardens – is testimony to what they can do when they’re happy.

I’m sure they’re happy (and so am I)…


32 Comments Add yours

  1. Your snowdrops are delightful and certainly look very happy! I have lots of named varieties here but I don’t think you can beat masses of the wild ones, singles and doubles, and they bulk up so quickly too, making it so easy to have drifts!

    1. kate says:

      I still hanker after the odd exotic, though – but I rather suspect that my thugs would gang up on any I introduced. I think I’m even going to have to split some of my clumps this year, they’ve increased so much (we planted them in little groups of three – boy, have they bulked up)…

  2. These look so pretty. Do you plant the bulbs in the fall, similar to daffodils and tulips?

    1. kate says:

      They are the cutest things…

      I don’t plant them as bulbs; I buy them ‘in the green’ just after they’ve flowered. However, there’s been quite a lot of talk about whether this is the best thing to do recently. It’s the traditional way, and it’s the only way I’ve had any success, but one or two garden gurus have been suggesting dry bulbs instead. All I can say is that when I did that, the bulbs vanished. Mice? Dampness? No idea, but no luck at all.

      1. dry bulbs vanished for me too and I’ve had trouble finding them in the green, Frances

        1. kate says:

          Glad it wasn’t just me and the Giant Mice of Wales…. I got mine from Orchard Nurseries, and very good they were too. Might be worth a try?

  3. Jenny says:

    How lovely!! I live in Boston and we have yet to see our first snowdrop or crocus. They are a marvelous sight to see.

    1. kate says:

      Aren’t they gorgeous? Always mean the beginning of spring – hopefully you’ll spot some soon!

  4. wellywoman says:

    Lovely Snowdrops. I have planted some over the last 2 years but they have yet to form significant clumps. I only have one variety, the standard single ones. I would like to get some more but funds won’t allow it at the moment. We had some lovely sunshine this morning but it didn’t last long before the cloud came in and it was grey again. It has been very cold but so far the promised snow has only been rain. Hopefully that’s how it will stay.

    1. kate says:

      I think it took about three or four years before mine really began bulking up, and now they won’t stop – so maybe you don’t need any more… Interestingly, my best clumps are at the bottom of the sloping top garden; perhaps it’s something to do with drainage (lack of). This year I’ve noticed clumps beginning to form under the apple trees and we planted those in 2008. Don’t give up!

      (Damp and mizzle and bleagh here but no snow – and, happily, no ice)

  5. Crystal says:

    What lovely snowdrops. Mine are all still in tight bud. I’ve only got one variety, so you’ve got twice as many as me.

    1. kate says:

      Mine have only just come on significantly – plenty still in bud here too. They’re looking a bit sorry for themselves this morning though, as we’ve had a very heavy dew. Poor babies…

  6. Very nice! I wish we had them!

    1. kate says:

      Thank you… they seem to like it here – I’ve never had as much success elsewhere, so I really, really enjoy them!

  7. How lovely Kate – I may come up and see them for real!
    I only have a dozen (or so) all singles – I am particularly fond of double snowdrops.

    1. kate says:

      Do come up and have a snowdrop worship / cuppa / cake anytime. They’re so cute!

      (Er – except for the few that have been nibbled. Grr. Wood pigeons? Maybe that’s more bitten – mice again?)

      1. Cake and snowdrop worshiping – perfect! I will be along later ….

        The link to Orchard Nurseries is tempting …. double snowdrops £18 for 100

  8. PS So glad that they are giving you the perfect opportunity to play with your camera – they are a good test – and your pictures are nice.

    1. kate says:


      (Actually they’re giving me a perfect opportunity to avoid other things, but hey)

  9. Kate they do look beautiful and what better excuse for not doing other things,
    I bought a new camera nearly a year ago and still have not properly started using it, it’s too easy to grab and carry on with the old camera but I know I must try and figure out the settings as the new camera does take better photos, Frances

    1. kate says:

      Fortunately my old camera died – well, its ability to judge exposure did – so I had no choice… otherwise I’d be just like that! BUt as for learning how to use it – hmmm.

  10. Anna says:

    Must confess that I could become a galanthophile Kate if a lottery win came my way 🙂 I am content with my few named snowdrops but even more content with the ‘ordinary’ ones. Mine have been planted for a few years now, the clumps are spreading and they are either seeding themselves about or being spread further afield by little creatures 🙂 Hope that yours continue to give you pleasure along with your new camera.

    1. kate says:

      Sounds like your snowdrops are behaving the same as mine – but I must admit I hadn’t thought that they might be being moved by animals – that would explain a lot. Some do seem to have been chewed, but that’s the flowers…

      I know mice like fritillary bulbs (well, they like mine), so it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. But they eat those. Gr.

  11. Christina says:

    I love ‘just’ normal singles and doubles. It is so satisfying when bulbs bulk up when they are happy with their situation. Christina

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it? It’s so gratifying when something lovely flourishes, and makes up for other gorgeous things that don’t. (Can you hear me, alliums? I’m talking about you…)

  12. I love snowdrops and like you have only singles and doubles although I could be tempted to go for more. As an obsessive (not about much though, gardens and wine are all that spring to mind) I have to confess to counting. I put 500 bulbs in during 2007 and another 100 last year. This year’s flower count produced 1484. One of the great things about counting is that it shows me where they are increasing and where they aren’t. The ones left to their own devices are bulking up nicely. There were some at the base of a wall which spent much of the year with roof slates leaning against it. All these seem to have disappeared this year so that is a lesson to remember. I am going to do some splitting up and moving this year as last year’s planting hasn’t been up to much. Last year was the first time I have planted dormant bulbs in August instead of in the green so I was not very impressed!

    1. kate says:

      I would never have guessed you were a counter – or maybe I would, as a counter myself, though of those daffs. I do have one question though – when I count daffs, it’s easy – I just count the ones I pick or dead-head and keep a scrappy record. But how on earth do you count snowdrops? My clumps have mature flowers, flowers that have just opened, and ones that are still just forcing their way upwards. I’d not be able to keep track of ones I’d already counted…

      Another non-bulb person – I’m not convinced by the recent claims that bulbs are best at all. I shall be splitting clumps too; it’s so satisfying when they get to that stage!

  13. easygardener says:

    Lovely pictures. The advantage of ordinary singles and doubles is that you get lots of them which counts for a lot as far as I am concerned!

    1. kate says:

      Oh yes – you’re so right! One elegant, rare snowdrop equals about 500 ordinary ones – definitely worth it!

  14. hillwards says:

    Lovely. I hope ours clump up as beautifully as yours. I have succumbed to order some S. Arnott to plant beneath the birch tree, which should arrive soon but otherwise it’s common singles all the way for us, most of which are bulblets from the masses in my parents’ garden, that I planted this autumn.

    1. kate says:

      Those Sam Arnott should be lovely – I understand they’re strongly scented, and under a birch sounds perfect. I love the common singles, but today I realised that some of my big clumps under the apple trees are doubles – hooray!

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