Simply Snowdrops

There is a divide among snowdrop growers, a contrast in styles between those who collect snowdrops and those who garden with them. For some, there is nothing more attractive than a new variety, another snowdrop a little different to their eyes, another flower of exquisite beauty to be appreciated in its individuality. For others, snowdrops are simply snowdrops to be enjoyed in mass rather than individually, aiming at developing good spreads of snowdrops which make an impact in the garden. I’m sure most of us find ourselves somewhere in between. Our gardens may be small and only allow small spots of snowdrops sprinkled about, a beautiful winter interest, with those which are especially good sturdy growers giving that impression of the drifts of white we admire so very much.

Drifts of a wonderfully large and wonderfully strong-growing Galanthus plicatus on the entrance drive to Burtown House, Co. Kildare.

There is a special joy in visiting a garden where the snowdrops are simply snowdrops, individually nothing particularly special about them but planted in such number that they create that perfect winter snowdrop scene with drifts of white beneath deciduous trees. It is, in a sense, a very pure form of gardening with snowdrops for it takes the essence of snowdrops, their whiteness, and features that quality alone, strength in numbers rather than featuring individuals.

Snowdrops under an elderly apple tree, a simple and beautiful setting where the snowdrops are often accommpanied by winter aconites, Eranthis hyemalis, and Cyclamen coum.

A walk around the grounds at Burtown House in Co. Kildare with Lesley Fennell last week brought us to a snowdrop display I have described above – simple plantings in big drifts of good strong growing snowdrops which make a wonderful visual impact by their numbers. Of course, there is room for those special snowdrops also and Lesley keeps these in a bed close to the house to be enjoyed without the need to walk any distance, a great advantage in poor weather.

Finally, a small woodland where Lesley has been dividing clumps of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, year on year so as to spread it about more and more and has been adding plantings of hellebore as companion plants. Summer brings a beautiful covering of Cow Parsley. The large snowdrop in the foreground, on the left, is Galanthus plicatus, by the way, and the others are G. nivalis.

7 thoughts on “Simply Snowdrops

  1. lAs a gardener who is definitely more impressed with the swathes of snowdrops I confess to examining stray self-seeded snowdrops in my own garden to see if they are different to the ones I am trying to spread into drifts! However, I also enjoy your exquisite close-ups of these wonderful flowers too! Keep giving us the vistas and the details – a delightful mix!

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    1. The snowdrop season is winding down now, moved along prematurely by the recent storms so there won’t be too many more snowdrop photographs to show – still some to come though!

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  2. You know, I think, how much I love them! (If you remember our previous to-and-forth!!!) I wish I could have the vast swathes, but won’t happen here in my lifetime! So lovely to appreciate them in other gardens. Thanks for sharing.

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