Posts Tagged ‘snowdrops’

Narcissus ‘February Gold’

March 30, 2016

‘February Gold’ must be one of the best of all the daffodils. True, there are a couple of others that flower even earlier, but they are not so freely available. I made a planting last October and they were in flower before the end of January and have only just gone over. I made a second planting at the turn of the year (garden centre bargain – all bulbs half price), and these began flowering only at the start of March. But they are still going strong. Next year, I expect all to flower simultaneously.


Not only is this daffodil good and early – it also has considerable style. Admittedly the flowers are of the typical brassy yellow, but that’s a welcome colour on miserable February days when the usual snowdrops and hellebores can look a little pallid. What distinguishes it (for me) is its elegant habit. Dwarf it is not, the stems extending to a good 30cm (12in) or more, and the trumpets (technically coronas) are long and narrow, the perianth segments, or petals, nicely reflexing without looking as though they have been through a wind tunnel. And it is much more robust than it appears, standing up to heavy rain, wind and late frosts. I shall definitely be planting more later this year.

Galanthus elwesii

January 20, 2010

Some gardeners get very excited about snowdrops, arguing passionately about the different species and their forms. I cannot get into this – while being as happy as anyone to see carpets of white flowers in late winter.

I don’t bother with Galanthus nivalis, widely seen in hedgerows, preferring instead the rather larger elwesii, with broad, strappy, bright green leaves and the usual pendulous white flowers. I have a patch of them under an apple tree, and they are already advanced despite the recent cold weather. Along with the other spring bulbs, they are best planted in bold drifts.

Galanthus elwesii has large flowers and broad, bright green leaves

If you have the space, grow as many different species as you can – because they will hybridise and some interesting forms will appear. A few years back I spotted a single fine variant of elwesii with substantial, pewter grey leaves – I’m guessing a hybrid of this with nivalis, which must be growing in some other garden nearby. Alas, I fear I have lost it, but shall keep my eyes peeled on my next walk round the garden.