Our snowdrop season

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 10:39:10 PST
The snow has melted in a few very sunny parts of the garden, and I was
surprised to see how many snowdrops seem to have been developing under the
snow. Just before the heavy snows started I took a quick tour of the garden
to check the progress of the snowdrops and hellebores. In one part of the
garden there were snowdrops above ground and showing white. Once the snow
cleared, I could see that these plants had elongated scapes and open blooms.


This year it seems that the snowdrop season will be greatly condensed: the
earlies (here that means the winter blooming forms of Galanthus elwesii)
will be blooming with the mid-season sorts (which are typically late winter


And I think that the long-prolonged snow cover has taught me a snowdrop
lesson.  For decades there has been a plant of one of the Greatorex
double-flowered snowdrops in this garden. For nearly twenty years this plant
struggled simply to grow: it never increased, nor did it bloom. Then several
years things changed: it began to divide and eventually it began to bloom.
The flowers however were a disappointment: they were always misshapen and
had a starved, pinched look to them. 


While quickly surveying the garden yesterday, I noticed a clump of snowdrops
in full bloom at the spot where this formerly balky plant grows. I couldn’t
believe my eyes: could this really be the same plant? It was. And the
flowers for once are handsome, full doubles with neatly imbricated segments.
The conclusion I draw from this is that this plant needs a long cold season
to develop properly. Our mercurial weather will not provide that on an
annual basis, so I’m enjoying these plants while I can.  


I have not finished searching old acquisition records, but so far the names
Ophelia and Desdemona have turned up. My memory says it’s ‘Ophelia’, but at
this point that’s little better than a guess. 


Here’s a view of the plant; let me know if it looks familiar to you:   




Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/

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