Get to know your snowdrops at one of the many garden openings taking place this month and next which focus especially on this most welcome of late winter flowers.
You'll find snowdrop days all over the country, from the Snowdrop Exhibition, currently open at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, to Dungannon's snowdrop walks in Co. Tyrone, and open days at Colesbourne Park in Gloucestershire, nationally renowned for its collection of 250 varieties.
Galanthophilia, as the love of snowdrops is officially called, is sweeping the nation at the moment, with more enthusiasts than ever to be found on their knees, nose in a clump of those tiny, nodding, pure white flowers. When you look at a snowdrop closely, especially if you turn its flower up towards you, you'll see a dazzling variety of foliage, petal shapes and markings, from the frilly double skirts of Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno' to the yellow-painted inner petals of sought-after 'Wendy's Gold'.
Get down to your favourite garden centre and you'll soon find snowdrops to plant 'in the green' – just after they've flowered, while they've still got their leaves – to increase your own display at this time of year. Here are three of the best:
- Galanthus elwesii puts up with drier conditions than many snowdrops, and a sturdy, reliable performer
- Galanthus 'S. Arnott' is among the largest, with beautiful large, pure white flowers with a honey scent.
- Galanthus atkinsii has fine, slender petals and spreads easily to make carpets under trees in early spring