The Erygeum ginganteum that I ordered from White Flower Farm last week was not the first plant I bought that will be put out in the garden in 2017. I was sitting at the computer reading a depressing news story on December 1st when I heard that little email ping.
Needing a distraction I took a look and discovered that Carolyn's Shade Gardens had just posted her annual Snowdrop catalog. This is the first time I've been able to order a couple of her rarities before they sold out since she only has very limited quantities for sale. Amounts range from five to twenty pots per variety with usually only one bulb per pot.
The national news was so depressing I decided that buying wildly pricey Snowdrops was cheap therapy. I'm so excited to know these treasures will be arriving at my house "in the green" come March or April. The shipping date depends on when the plants pop up in Carolyn Walker's garden in Bryn Mawr, PA. Here's what I ordered with the pictures above the descriptions which mostly come from Carolyn's catalog.
Galanthus ‘Primrose Warburg’ (Yellow Hybrid Snowdrop)
This has intense yellow markings on the inner segment and ovary (the “cap” above the petal-like segments), much coveted by collectors. It originated at South Hayes, the garden of the famous British collector Primrose Warburg, and chosen by her fellow galanthophiles after her death in 1996 as the most suitable snowdrop to bear her name.
Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge' (Yellow Common Snowdrop)
This is the first snowdrop to have yellow markings on its inner segments while the ovary remains green. It was discovered by Nicholas Topp in 1977 in a cemetery near Cologne, Germany, and introduced to the UK in 1993. This is supposed to be a vigorous snowdrop that grows rapidly to form an impressive clump which would make it well worth the price. Carolyn says hers emerge green and turn yellow, something to remember in the future. The name comes from the lyrics of a 1920s-era German foxtrot about taking blonde Inge home.
Galanthus elwesii ex Carolyn's Shade Gardens (Giant Snowdrop).
Named after Henry John Elwes, a Victorian botanist among many other skills, who built up one of the all-time great snowdrop collections.
According to "The Plant Lover's Guide to Snowdrops" the giant snowdrop exhibits quite a lot of natural variation. As a result it's given rise to many selections and hybrids, which I suspect includes Carolyn's own offering. She describes it thus: "early-blooming, beautifully scented, large white flowers with the inner segments (petals) boldly marked with green at both the top and bottom (or merged into a single large green mark) and broad, blue-gray leaves; multiplies quickly, tolerates hotter and drier locations."
Just thinking about these Snowdrops, and knowing they will arrive when winter's winding down, will help me make it through the remaining weeks of winter in Wisconsin.