Don’t mix up your drops and flakes

If you’ve visited places such as Howick Hall grounds recently, there’s possibly a wish to introduce a modest group of snowdrops to your garden. If so, the time is approaching to do it.

By Tom Pattinson
Sunday, 03 March, 2019, 16:15
Pretty snowdrops pictured by a river. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

They are best planted ‘in the green’, which means directly after flowering, but while the foliage remains. It follows that any large clumps in your garden can be dug up and divided into sections for replanting, thus increasing next year’s attraction.

Look out for adverts highlighting single (Galanthus nivalis) and double (Galanthus Flore Pleno) flowering varieties. They’re generally sold in bunches of 25 or 50, the doubles being more expensive.

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Buying and planting bulbs in autumn is not fully reliable as they dry out easily.

Spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) flower at the same time as snowdrops, causing confusion. However, there are differences, the main one being leucojum blooms are much taller and all petals the same size, and whereas a snowdrop’s performance is confined to the approach of spring, the snowflake has summer and autumn flowering species.