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Michael Perry's Gardening Blog

Michael Perry's Gardening Blog

Snowdrops, February 2012


Snowdrop fever has descended on us!

I’m sure you’ll have seen the headlines last week where Thompson & Morgan paid more than £700 for a single bulb of the first yellow Galanthus woronowii.

Galanthus woronowii

Why did we do this? Well, we’ve been looking for many years to offer some unique snowdrops to our customers, but they’re never available in too great a number and speedy bulk propagation isn’t always easy. Looking at the species Galanthus woronowii, it has a much more robust habit than other snowdrops, so could potentially perform better in micro-propagation. So when the first golden-yellow form came along, we knew we had to get hold of it, whatever the price! But it’ll be a long process and you may not hear from us for another 10-12 years, so it’s definitely a case of 'watch this space'!

Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey

So much was snowdrop fever in the Thompson & Morgan offices late last week that I took myself to Anglesey Abbey at the weekend to see their world-famous snowdrop displays. They have mass and specimen plantings of a range of species with more different attributes you can think of: double flowers, marked green petals, highly fragrant types, giant blooms and, of course, golden yellows! Until you spend more time with snowdrops, you really can’t appreciate how different, intricate and dainty they are. Asking our photographer to take some pictures of snowdrops just this morning, she exclaimed "but my lens isn’t macro enough"... another investment needed there then!

And, one of the most positive things about snowdrops is that the time you see them in their glory is also the time to plant them, so you can certainly strike while the iron's hot. Snowdrops, bluebells, aconites and some daffodils transplant and go on to perform much better when they are planted ‘in the green’. So, clumps of the bulbs are lifted straight after flowering and sent to you for transferring direct into your borders. With this method, you are almost guaranteed success with your plant and they will always establish better than dry bulbs.

Our current snowdrop range includes the well-loved Galanthus nivalis (single snowdrop) and the voluptuous double snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis ‘flore pleno’). At the weekend, I couldn’t stop turning the double-flowered ones upside down, just so I could see their tightly-packed middles; they really are a work of art.

Aconites are like snowdrops’ cheery cousin, with their gold bullion cupped spring blooms, and often performing alongside the main snowdrop show. They multiply swiftly and efficiently, giving what’s probably the first spring blanket of colour in the year.

English Bluebells

Bluebells are recommended for planting ‘in the green’ too, and did you know that the bluebells Thompson & Morgan now sells have passed a DNA test and are certified as not being taken from the wild? They work so well in damp, shady corners where little else would ever perform, so give them a try.

So, get outside and talk a walk in your neighbourhood, local woods or nearest open garden and you’ll see for yourself how beautiful your spring displays could be.

Bye for now,

Michael Perry, New Product Development Manager, Thompson & Morgan

Snowdrops 'in the green''

Snowdrops 'in the green'

Double-flowered snowdrops

Double-flowered snowdrops

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