A Quick Guide to Snowdrops
Snowdrop is the common name for a group
of plants that botantists call Galanthus (from the Greek
meaning 'Milk Flower'). Consisting of nineteen species, these
delightful bulbs occur naturally from the Pyrenees to Iran and
as far south as Sicily and the Lebanon. Their northern range is
difficult to establish due to introduction and cultivation by
humans; they have been popular for quite a while! In nature, they
flower as early as late autumn through to August. In Britain
flowering occurs from late autumn but generally only through to
march depending on species.
Whilst in the UK, there are records of
snowdrops being grown since the 16th Century, the
explosion of interest in snowdrops, however, didn't begin until the
latter part of the 1900's. This was part of the golden age of
plant hunters and coupled with the increased exploration of the
western end of the Mediterranean following the Crimean War (1853-1857).
How to Grow
Most snowdrops that grown in the UK are from deciduous woodland
or cool, shady places with well drained soils which do not dry out
completely in the summer. So try to plant in places in your garden
that minic that - underneath decidious trees, shrubs or in partial
shaded spots and avoid very dry or very wet soils. Do not
plant underneath evergreens.
Plant 'in the green' in April/May when bulbs are supplied with
leaves as opposed to dormant bulbs. Simiply replant the bulbs
appoximately three times their height. Only buy dormant
bulbs from reliable suppliers (they are prone to drying out if
stored incorrectly) and plant in autumn.
Snowdrops required very little care once planted other than
being kept weed free when they begin into growth The simplest
solution to this is to mulch with either garden compost or leaf
mould before the bulbs begin growing (despite what you see at Ness
avoid shredded bark). After that avoid the urge to tidy up
leaves and left them alone to their own devices!
Snowdrops at Ness
Here at Ness, we grow over eighty different species and
cultivars. The best represented is the familiar common snowdrop G.
nivalis which can be seen at several locations throughout the
gardens. These came from original plantings by the Garden's
Founder Arthur K. Bulley (although not all in their current
locations) but certainly in the Azalea border running next to the
The Pinewoods and Azalea Walk play host to bigger populations
including robust and larger varieties such as G.'Robin Hood', and
G.'Magnet'. The Rock Garden plays host to smaller populations of
snowdrops such as the delightful double Galanthus nivalis