Once again we’re one of a relatively small number of private gardens that open as part of their snowdrop festival, and our season begins on February 1st. The N.G.S. have updated their website for this year, so that it’s much easier to find gardens opening in this way, both with formal set time open days, as well as gardens like ours which only open “by arrangement” – which means that you need to contact the garden owners in advance to arrange a trip, rather than just turning up. (Just click on the “By Arrangement” tab next to the “opening” tab, near the top left of this N.G.S. page, as shown below).
We’ll only be opening “by arrangement” this year, so we can restrict garden visitor numbers to a level our garden can cope with. If you’d like to plan a visit either to look at the snowdrops and other early bulbs or indeed to visit at another time of the year, up to the end of October, then do contact us via email/phone number on our “Visiting The Garden” page of this website, which gives all the relevant details about how to find us, etc.
Currently, we’re under 2 inches of snow, hail, and ice all melded together, but this isn’t expected to last, and the snowdrops can cope with all this amazingly well, bouncing back as soon as the snow melts.
For those who haven’t visited us before at snowdrop time, I reckon we now have well over 400 different types of snowdrops growing here. Some in large numbers, some as singletons. And yes, frankly, they are all pretty similar. Yet every year I add a few more, and the latest 5 arrived just as the first snow fell onto frozen ground, so I had to get them into the ground a.s.a.p.
This is always a problem with snowdrops acquired online, since however well packaged they are, nearly everyone sends them out with very little soil on the roots, so they’re actually quite vulnerable. However, short of visiting a specialist snowdrop sale/nursery/garden there really is no other way of adding a few more varieties into a garden. The reason I keep getting a few from probably the best snowdrop nursery in the UK is to try to expand the flowering season, size, and flower types, and most importantly try to discover a few more forms that are vigorous in our conditions. Sadly, even trawling through cheaper cultivars, many prove not to be at all vigorous in our wet conditions.
We always try to have a range of snowdrops in pots for sale (only to our garden visitors), and this year we should have over 50 different forms including those that I list below. All these are snowdrops that have multiplied well with us, hence there are a few I can spare. All pots are priced between £3.50 and £7.00, and all have grown naturally in the ground, and not been artificially propagated by “chipping”. Some are of single bulbs with a small offset, and some for several bulbs in a pot with our homemade compost/soil mix. Apart from such plants in pots being more tolerant of whatever the weather throws at us early in the year, you have the flexibility to delay planting them. So can place them in between other bulbs quite easily, later in the year. You also don’t have postage/packaging to pay, which if you glance online seems to typically be about the cost of entry to our garden (£5).
Snowdrops propagated for 2023:
G. nivalis early season; G. nivalis mid-season; G. nivalis late season. A selection to spread the flowering time from early to mid-January, well into mid to late March
Named single snowdrops: Bess; Llo’n’Green’; Acton Pigot No. 3; Scharlockii tall form; Pride o’ the Mill; Modern Art; Colossus; Galatea; ex Anglesey Not Galatea; Seagull; Sam Arnott; Shropshire Queen; Sir Herbert Maxwell; Florence Baker; Kildare; Galadriel; Atkinsii; George Elwes; Sprite; Honeysuckle Cottage; Trymposter; Augustus; Tubby Merlin; Falkland House; Bill Bishop; Blonde Inge; Sibbertoft White; Benton Magnet; Kite; Washfield Colesbourne; Curley; Mrs. Macnamara;
Double snowdrops: Very early Double, (probably Desdemona); Rodmarton (double); Hippolyta (double); Dionysius (double); Ex MB, unnamed first early double vigorous.
Yellow snowdrops: Madeleine; Sarah Dumont.
Other vigorous but un-named snowdrops, some possibly unique to Gelli Uchaf:
X Valentinii- G.U. unique & very vigorous; SP2; 32-1; 19-3; LCT-4; ‘Keith’s Corker’ – unofficial name; “Not Trymming” -G.U. unique?
My guess is that the snowdrop season will be later than usual this year, so whilst we have lots of beautiful early snowdrops out already, the main mass will probably be in flower from mid-February to mid-March, ending once the weather warms up and the flowers all get pollinated. By which time the daffodils will be getting going.