Gardening with Pete Evans – This month …. The purest white of the snowdrop
Now is the time for pure new beginnings and the cool startling white of the snowdrop gives us just that. Nothing signals new beginnings and offers the promise of a new year and the spring that is fast approaching like these jolly little fellows that nod in the wind. There is a legend, that when you listen closely, you can hear their bells ringing, trying to wake up nature from its winter sleep. Galanthophiles – enthusiastic collector of snowdrops (Galanthus species and cultivars) - will be out in their hundreds and at their happiest.
For me the best snowdrops are the simple plain green and white; try Galanthus “Peardrop” which has a very good scent and if you like something a little bit different Galanthus nivalis sandersii; instead of the usual green has jolly yellow petals and ovaries, if however, you are the impatient type and can’t wait for winter snowdrops try Galanthus reginae-olgae which is an autumn flowering snowdrop and has a beautiful white striped leaf that appears after flowering.
Some snowdrop tips:
Never buy snowdrops unless they are “in the green” which basically means that they are growing in soil and have been kept moist, avoid the poor things that have been left to dry out completely, they never re-establish very well.
They naturalise very well under trees, snowdrops prefer a well-drained spot in light not too much shade, it is best to mimic their natural woodland habitat.
If you plant your bulbs in a heavy clay soil, add a little sharp sand or grit to improve the drainage and they will naturalise and multiply over the years ready for you to dig up, thank them, thin them out and replant elsewhere.
To see snowdrops at their best visit Chirk Castle Snowdrop Walk 2 – 21 February.