Fall Blooming Snowdrops

Charles Cresson ccresson1@verizon.net
Sat, 19 Dec 2009 17:39:56 PST
Although I have been reading your comments for some time, this is my first
contribution to the group, so I should begin by introducing myself.  I live
in Swarthmore, PA (USA) on the southwestern side of Philadelphia, in a
climatic zone right on the edge of zones 6 and 7 with a primarily clay soil.
I maintain a large, old, intensively cultivated family garden with a large
and diverse plant collection.  It is composed of all kinds of microclimates
and habitats surrounding a classic central flower garden.  Consequently, my
interest in geophytes is almost entirely focused on those that can be grown
outdoors in garden settings, rather under protection and I do not have a
greenhouse.  But I am not above using clothes!  I am always intrigued to
stretch hardiness zones, whether it be to grow bulbs or other kinds of
plants such as camellias or hardy palms.


So far this fall, I have had about 6 different clones of Galanthus bloom,
some of which I have grown for over 25 years.  These have come to me from
various sources, mostly other local gardens and friends.  These include G.
reginae-olgae (late October- November, for 28 years), G. reginae-olgae
'Cambridge' (November-December), and various clones of G. elwesii.  I lost 2
clones of G. corcyrensis many years ago.


In 2004, I registered a clone of G. elwesii monostictus as 'Potter's
Prelude', named for my friend Jack Potter, former curator of the Scott
Arboretum, who gave it to me. 'Potter's Prelude' is a relatively short plant
with a large flower and gracefully spreading foliage. It usually blooms in
Late November to early December and often lasts until after the new year.  I
have grown it for 23 years.  Until buried under snow today, several clumps
have been making a splendid show in the winter border where they will be
followed by other mid winter clones of elwesii.


There is no doubt that these autumn blooming snowdrops have done much better
in recent years than previously (another gauge of global warming), although
the G. elwesii types seem amazingly hardy.  I don't grow any of these under
cloches, including G. reginae-olgae, just in sheltered locations under
shrubs.  In the early years, I used to cover them with evergreen boughs
during the coldest weather to protect the foliage but have discontinued this
lately.  It was rare for the seed pods to survive the winter in the early
years, but now seedlings are appearing in different places and new clones
are apparent.


Charles Cresson

Swarthmore, PA, USA

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