Posted:10 February 2013
A visit to Marchants Hardy Plants nursery for their ‘snowdrops weekend’ was a wonderful way to kick-start our spring garden visits (though relentless rain on Sunday proved a bit of a dampener to our enthusiasm for the new season!).
The Marchants garden itself was awash with delicate swathes of snowdrops peeking up over the mulch and lighting up the beds and bare hedgerows; and in the ‘potting palace’, an exquisite display of special varieties set in moss, with nearly 40 varieties available for sale.
Galanthus are more commonly known as snowdrops. They are perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs and are found growing wild from Italy to Turkey, mostly flowering in the depths of winter. They are very hardy. The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is in fact not native to UK. It arrived during the 17thC and has made itself at home here, often spreading to form huge colonies.
True collectors, Galanthophiles, relish the subtle and not-so-subtle differences of the many single and double forms – the plant and leaf form, the central green markings, the way in which the bloom hangs from the thread-like pedicel, the shape of the six tepals (three outer, three inner tepals it has no petals).
If you would like to receive the Marchants snowdrop list by email, please CLICK HERE for their contact & catalogue request page making sure you tick the Snowdrop availability box. For more information on this wonderful nursery visit www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk
Here at the Garden House we’re also enjoying the quietly emerging early spring buds and flowers. At this time of year, it’s like a game of hide-and-seek as you have to move leaves and trim away spent grasses to reveal, not just snowdrops, but early crocus, anemone, narcissi and just starting to push up are the leaves of miniature Iris reticulata and of Iris “Katharine Hodgkin’ (one of our favourites). Our many varieties of beautifully subtle hellebores are in flower now too.
Planting & growing snowdrops:
- Snowdrops are best bought and planted while actively growing – growers call this planting ‘in the green’ ensure they are planted at the same depth as they were growing before they were lifted from the ground – the point where the green leaves start to turn yellow should be level with the soil surface
- With pot-grown plants, the surface of the compost should be level with the soil
- They do not like hot, dry positions preferring part shade
- Snowdrops can be naturalised in grass under trees where they look spectacular alone, or mixed with crocus. They will make handsome clumps in a shady border or under a hedge or among shrubs
- Plant in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil with plenty of humus
- Where bulbs are planted in grass do not cut the grass until after the leaves have died back. Divide large colonies immediately after flowering while the leaves are still green
- Flowering period: January and February
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Join The Garden House special visit to the Winter Garden at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden: Friday 22 February. This is a daytime coach trip, for more info CLICK HERE
Snowdrop Days at Pembury House: NGS Open Garden Pembury House, Ditchling Road (New Road), Clayton, nr Hassocks, Sussex, BN6 9PH: See the snowdrop displays on 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 February. Special Hellebore Day, Friday 8 March (all dates 11am-4pm). CLICK HERE for more info on Pembury House
Marchants Hardy Plants, 2 Marchants Cottages Mill Ln, Laughton, East Sussex BN8 6AJ Tel: 01323 811737 / web: www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk