Most gardeners associate Snowdrops with February, however, the season for most Galanthophiles (those who avidly collect Snowdrops) actually starts in September!
Tweeting Galanthophiles Cornovium Snowdrops write here for the Mr Plant Geek website, and tells us more about the snowdrops that confuse garden visitors with their seemingly untimely entrance..
“Galanthus reginae-olgae, a native of the mountains of Greece, is the first to flower in the garden, cold frame or greenhouse. In their natural habitats, they are to be found near plane trees in limey, damp gullies where their roots can keep cool. Unlike most snowdrops that people grow, their leaves appear after they’ve flowered.
To successfully grow this particular species in the UK, keen growers try to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. In the garden, a sunny spot and a deep mulch of grit have shown to produce excellent results for these Autumn beauties.
When planting, it is wise to clearly label the spot and to be pre-emptive with regards to slugs and snails, who also love these early snowdrops! Cultivars that have been tried and tested throughout the UK include ‘Tilebarn Jamie’ and ‘Cambridge’.
The next snowdrops to start flowering during October and November are Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus, a native of Turkey. These are much easier to grow in a variety of soils in partial shade than their Greek cousins. I like to place a good layer of grit and sand under the bulb when planting to improve drainage, as these bulbs do not like to sit in damp conditions, especially during the wet summers we have been having in the UK. Easy to grow cultivars include ‘Barnes’ and ‘Peter Gatehouse’.
The perfect planting companions for your autumn snowdrops include Cyclamen hederifolium and coum, as well as Arums, Ferns and Autumn Crocus. With some careful planning you can have snowdrops flowering for seven months of the year, now isn’t that just magical!”
David and Jane run Cornovium Snowdrops, a small family-run business in the heart of Cheshire. They offer high quality, correctly named, mail order snowdrops ‘in the green’ during January to March, and as dormant bulbs during July and August. They ship to the UK, EU and the USA.