I would love to buy some snowdrops for my girlfriend but I could not find themÂ anywhere. We are from Europe and we used to enjoy the snowdrops every spring
Galanthus or Snowdrops seem to be much more popular in Europe than in the U.S. It is sad that so few Americans have the pleasure of this charming plant growing in their garden to welcome spring.
I have to assume that this writer is from Europe but presently living in the US and is looking to buy Galanthus or snowdrops in the US. I am also assuming that the writer wishes to purchase either the plants or the bulbs to give to his girlfriend. (TheGardenLady does not know the names of any florists in the US that sells snowdrops as cut flowers though some of the more expensive florists might be willing to order them from Holland for a customer.)
I recommend Carolyn’s Shade Garden for those who want Galanthus plants. If you contact Carolyn please tell her that TheGardenLady recommended her.Â Read this.
TheGardenLady received this question from Charlene.
Do you happen to have any blooming or budding Galanthus Nivalis that you could sell me? I live in California.Â If not, any suggestions?
Galanthus Nivalis or the Common SnowDrops is a charming flower in gardens that have winters. They need the coldness of winter to produce flowers. This earliest blooming flower is not quite in bloom or budding in the East Coast of the United States because we have been blanketed with snow and there is more snow predicted. But towards the end of winter, the beginning of spring, they will poke through.
(Thatâ€™s a British word for gardeners obsessed with snowdrops)
Galanthus nivalis at Carolynâ€™s Shade Gardens
Carolyn Walker of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens writes that ” buying snowdrops ‘in the green’ (as they say in the snowdrop world), rather than as bulbs in the fall, is the best way to insure vigorous healthy plants. You will also be able to enjoy the blooms immediately as most plants will be flowering when you receive them. ” She has teamed up with the famous Swarthmore gardener Charles Cresson to make available some of his exceptional heirloom varieties. Charles teaches the bulb course at Longwood Gardens (among other accomplishments) and has traded with numerous garden friends and snowdrop enthusiasts to amass an amazing collection of snowdrops, some of uniquely local origin.
Carolyn is also offering four additional winter interest plants: a miniature arum, a special crocus, a spectacular hardy cyclamen, and an early-blooming Christmas rose.”
GALANTHUS: Common snowdrops (G. nivalis) appear naturalized throughout Carolyn Walker’s garden. The wonderfully honey-scented, white flowers appear by the thousands from February through March-a signal that winter is ending. By adding unusual varieties, one can extend the snowdrop bloom season from mid-fall through spring. For example, â€˜Potterâ€™s Preludeâ€™ blooms in the fall, while G. elwesii, â€˜S. Arnottâ€™, and â€˜Atkinsiiâ€™ bloom in the winter before the common snowdrop. A great companion plant for hellebores, snowdrops grow in full sun to full shade and are usually not picky about soil. Deer resistant and summer dormant. For more photos, use Google images.
To Order: If you would like to order any listed in the above paragraph, please send Carolyn an email to email@example.com with the plant name, quantity, your name, and telephone number. Supplies are limited (except for G. nivalis) so order early. You will receive an email confirming your order, amount owed, and outlining pick up options for late February or early March. Any snowdrops purchased can be planted in your garden immediately or enjoyed in the pot until they are planted later in the spring.
More photos from Carolyn Walker’s Shade gardens that are for sale will appear in the next column.
TheGardenLady received this question from Charlotte.
Can you tell me where you can see snowdrops (galanthus) in the US – I cannot seem to find any listings except yours for Winterthur – if you can help, I’d be really grateful.
Check out the public Botanical gardens in your area to see if they have spring flowering bulb gardens and call them to see if they grow Galanthus-Snowdrops. Gardens that have spring show gardens should have Galanthus. Gardens such as the Denver Botanic Gardens (see here)Â or the New York Botanical Garden may have them growing among their spring bulbs. Or contact the Missouri Botanical Gardens to see if they can recommend a garden with Galanthus. If you call any of the Botanical Gardens you should be able to ask for a list of the plants they exhibit.
Join the American Horticultural Society and contact them to take tours of gardens or learn of spring gardens you can visit to see Galanthus. Or contact the Horticultural Society in your area. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, for example, gives great tours of gardens that you could take to see spring bulb gardens.Â See here.
Join the Garden Conservancy and visit gardens during their open gardens days. Private gardens are often open to the public on these days. One of the gardens that often shows during open garden days is David Culp’s private garden. Culp, a famous breeder of Helleborus, loves Galanthus and has them growing in his delightful garden in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Still looking forward to spring? Besides daffodils and crocuses there is another bulb that blooms early and is a harbinger of spring. It is a bulb native to Europe and Turkey that has a common name of Fair Maid of February because that is when many of the species bloom. In the US they are more commonly known as snowdrops.
Snowdrops are in the Galanthus family, a small family of about 20 species. Galanthus nivalis is the best-known and most widespread representative of this genus. And Galanthus nivalis S. Arnott seems to be the finest, sweetly honey scented, long lasting variety. Galanthus may be celebrated as a sign of spring, but an area blanketed with the flowers can look like there is still a field of snow in places where they are native or have been naturalised.
Galanthus grow in zones 3 through 9 though they do better in the cooler, Northern climates. Plant bulbs in early fall 2 to 4 inches apart and covered with 2 to 3inches of soil. All snowdrops prefer cool, moist conditions in the spring and a surprisingly dry summer dormancy in the shade which makes them good to plant under deciduous trees. Do NOT fertilize. The bulbs can be left undisturbed for years. But when you want to divide them, dig and divide soon after flowering and replant IMMEDIATELY so roots do not dry out. If you want you can plant seedlings which take 3 to 4 years to flower.
A great place to buy Galanthus bulbs is from Brent and Becky’s bulbs. The reason that this is a great place is that Brent and Becky’s dig and ship bulbs earlier than most places so that you know the bulbs are freshly dug allowing you to plant the bulbs really early in the fall to give them a good head start.
If you want to order Galanthus plants, TheGardenLady was told that they don’t ship well and there are only 2 places in the US to buy Galanthus in the plant stage. One place to buy the plants is from Carolyn’s Shade Garden at 325 S.Â Roberts Rd in Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. But you have to go to her garden to pick up the plants. (TheGardenLady will soon be writing about Carolyn and her wonderful plants.)
Seeds seem to be trickier to buy. Most seed distributors seem to be in the UK.