Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First ones out!

The first snowdrops of this spring are already out

I think I should confess it: I am an incurable galanthophile, even if my collection still is in the making... But snowdrops, these joyful harbingers of spring, are one of the plants that I do not want to be without. I love the nodding little bells with their clean white and jade green colors, and the delicate, honey-like scent of them. Despite their dainty looks snowdrops are very easy to grow and completely hardy, bravely withstanding the harsh weather of the North. They even keep well as cut flowers, if you have the heart to snip some off for a tiny vase indoors.
In Saltsjöbaden, I was lucky to inherit thousands of them, shooting up happily in crowded groups under the old lilac hedges every spring. They didn't mind me separating them and spreading them eagerly all around my garden. Here in Seattle, my garden is much less poetic in appearance, so I was very happy to receive a large tuft of these little 'milk flowers' (from Greek gala meaning milk, and anthos meaning flower), from my gardening friend Marian. I divided it to seven smaller groups, planted them during the Christmas week and now they are already pushing up from the dark soil near my entrance. That tells you how mild this winter has been in Seattle, while the rest of the Northern hemisphere has been covered in snow, shivering in temperatures of arctic cold.
Unidentified Galanthus (same as above) already flowering in a south facing slope near my house

My newly planted snowdrops are just out from the soil, but I spotted some already in flower in a south facing slope nearby. Their white outer tepals (snowdrops have no petals, only tepals, which I just learned in a book about them...) are larger and more rounded than in the common snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and the markings on the inner tepals are bright green and very distinctive, as can be seen in the first picture. I tried to find the name for this Galanthus species or variety, but after viewing over hundred pictures of them, I gave up. The International Bulb Society had some pictures of Galanthus 'Sibbertoft Manor' and Judy's snowdrops in England showed G. elwesii 'Kyre Park', both of which looked quite similar to the ones above. It seems that I still have a long way to go on my galanthophile career, but in this case, I really am one happy learner...


nilla|utanpunkt said...

Ja, underbara! Det verkar verkligen som om vintern hos dig har varit riktigt mild, här i Europa har vi haft en riktig vargavinter (också här i England har det som sagt varit vitare än nånsin).

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Jag såg bilderna på din blog, så vackra - de kändes nästan arktiska med sina blåa toner och stilla snö. Vi hade snö här i vintras, men det var tydligen ovanligt, så vi får se hur det här utvecklas...