Last year the first snowdrops in my garden appeared on St. Patrick's Day. I noted their appearance and that it was cold and snowing. The ground on the south side of the house is showing bare spots but not a touch of green. Frost depth this year is purportedly 6 feet deep and Madison's lakes froze to a depth of 2 feet. It's going to take a string of warm, sunny days before anything much happens in my garden. At the moment the weather is alternating between snow and rain. And there's too much snow — and too many brown evergreens — to make the effort to take a walk around the garden. I will, however, keep looking out the window to the sunny spot where the first snowdrops typically appear.
But what is March without snowdrops? Since they didn't show on the 17th, I went on-line to Munchkin Nursery in Indiana and ordered some. Owner Gene Bush — who's in town tonight to speak about Trilliums to the WHPS — sells a variety of plants suited to shade gardens, including snowdrops or Galanthus. I ordered G. 'Hippolyta' and G. 'Sam Arnott'.
Galanthus 'Hippolyta' is named for the Amazon queen of Greek mythology. It's a double snowdrop raised by H. A. Greatorex of Norwich, England, in the 1940s. White Flower Farm describes it thus: "The outer petals of the bowl-shaped blossoms enclose whorls of neatly trimmed inner petals heavily marked with green."
“Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus” by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw (Griffin Press 2006), describes ‘Sam Arnott’ as the “classic snowdrop . . . a first-class garden plant with an unquestionable constitution, admired by everyone.” This one is named for Samuel Arnott (1852-1930), an early galanthophile (snowdrop fanatic).