Snowdrops, small, winter/spring blooming bulbs, are easy to grow. After planting the bulbs in the fall, in masses or drifts for the best effect, you will be rewarded with small, white bells in the midst of winter. Here in Virginia, snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) bloom in January and February, sometimes in snow, sometimes in a carpet of brown leaves under trees (Galanthus means “milk white flowers” and nivalis means “snow”). Hardy to USDA Zone 3-7, they prefer cool weather and are not fazed by deer although squirrels may take it upon themselves to relocate a few bulbs. By late spring, the green, straplike leaves die back and the bulb are dormant during the summer.
Snowdrops seem so simple, so humble, more like servants to queen daffodils and stately tulips. But in Great Britain, they enjoy a cult status. Fashionable as early as the Victorian era, snowdrops have been bred extensively, currently yielding about 1500 cultivars abroad. The differences may be obvious to slight, only galanthophiles would be able to appreciate the distinction. Here in this country, most nurseries do not offer a wide variety. If you are a galanthophile, you probably already know that one of the few American resources for snowdrop cultivars is Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, Carolyn Walker’s nursery in Pennsylvania. http://www.carolynshadegardens.com.
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