A snowdrop event in my garden

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Fri, 18 Mar 2005 11:26:50 PST
One of the pleasures of this list and the web in general is the
authoritative insight it provides into all sorts of horticultural arcana.
I've spent several hours during the last two weeks reviewing snowdrop sites
on the web. Two favorites have been Mark Smyth's site and one called Judy's
Snowdrops. Mark is a contributor to this list, and most of you probably
already know about his site. Judy's site can be found at: 


My earliest snowdrop importations from England were made about thirty years
ago from Mr. Mars of Haslemere. In the interim, most labels have
disappeared. As a result, I've never been too sure of the identity of some
of the cultivars I grow. Luckily I still have lists of the cultivars sent.
And now with the help of the several snowdrop sites, it has finally been
possible to match up the names with photos on the web. Now when I point to
'Sam Arnott' or 'Robin Hood' or 'Alleni' or 'Augustus' (although this one is
about as distinct as any snowdrop I know), it's with a renewed confidence
about the accuracy of the name. 

So far, I have not located a suitable picture of 'Atkinsii'; perhaps I
should say 'deformed Atkinsii', because this name 'Atkinsii' is attached to
two snowdrops distinguished by the presence or absence of a deformed inner
tepal. By suitable picture, I mean one which shows the salient
characteristic of the 'deformed' cultivar, the deformed inner tepal. There
are many images of "Atkinsii' on commercial sites, but they those images
might as well be any snowdrop. 

The true identity of the plant in my garden is of some importance to me
because this year the clump of the plant which I believe to be 'deformed
Atkinsii' gave me a great gift: this clump produced one stem on which the
typical green markings on the inner tepals are bright yellow. The ovary is
green. So now I have my own "golden snowdrop". 

Because 'Atkinsii' is one of the older cultivars, it occurred to me that
perhaps this cultivar has sported yellow forms in the past. Does anyone
know?  Also, I've read that some 'yellow' snowdrops are unstable in that
they come yellow some years, green others. This is frequently reported for
the cultivar 'Lady Elphinstone'. Is this generally true of 'yellow'

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'm off to check out
the rest of the snowdrops and pan for more gold.  

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