The first blooms of 2016 in our garden.

The Snowdrop Scout Party

There is a patch of Common Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) that I refer to as The Scout Party. For some reason, they always emerge first from the almost frozen ground, leading the charge while their more cautious comrades stay burrowed in the earth.

The Scout Party always causes me the most angst, as they tend to expose their flower buds to the sudden deep freezes common to February in Chicago. If you look closely at the picture above, you can the brown tips that indicate they did sustain some damage. Nevertheless, the Scout Party produced a decent number of  blooms.

Why this particular clump of Snowdrops is so eager and reckless I couldn’t say. But I appreciate their audacity.

More Snowdrops emerging.

Meantime, all the other Snowdrops have decided it’s safe to come out. They will make a pretty sight when they all bloom together, maybe in a week or so.

I think of Snowdrops as a transitional flower. The elegant white blooms tell us that winter is coming to an end, but spring has not quite arrived, so don’t get too excited just yet. It’s the brightly colored Crocuses that tell us it’s time for giddiness of spring.

Are there Snowdrops blooming in your garden yet?

63 Comments on “Snowdrops!”

  1. My snowdrops came up three weeks ago and are still blooming. They poked up through 3″ of snow. I’m always amazed when they do that – and always delighted by their spunky nature. (I live just south of Indy.)

  2. Over here in Berlin it’s just the same: the first snowdrops are out. Have been snowed on and survived last night’s substantial frost, if with or without damage remains to be seen. Which is weird, because Berlin is roughly 1000 km north to Chicago. Just looked it up and am very surprised to find Chicago at the height of South France and Rome.

  3. Of course, here in Puget Sound, we don’t have as distinct a winter-to-spring transition as you have. And this winter has been especially warm and the wettest on record, making it easier to find some color. Sadly, I don’t have snowdrops in my garden, but will definitely plant some this year.

    Right now I have Crocuses; a red Camellia; Forsythia; Hellebores; an Erysimum linifolium with multi-color flowers (formerly known as Cheiranthus linifolium)blooming in a pot that’s been outside all winter; primroses; and an Oregon Grape cultivar, Mahonia x media ‘Charity,’ that is showing yellow buds.

  4. What a lovely little scouting party! I only have a few snowdrops, and none of them have yet appeared. But then they’re usually buried under a pile of leaves, so unless I uncover them soon, I may miss them. The daffodils are poking up, however, and I was just thinking along the same lines the other day–it’s as if they’re checking out whether it’s time to make an appearance yet. After last week’s snowfall, I think they’ve decided to go back into hibernation.

  5. That’s great–“Scout party”! Theoretically, we can grow Snowdrops here in Central Texas and some do, just not me, unfortunately. I content myself with enjoying other gardeners’ bounty of Snowdrop blooms. Nice post!

  6. I’m envious of how large your grouping is! I planted a lot of snowdrop bulbs many years ago, when we first moved out here, but I think many of them got eaten. The few that survived are multiplying, but it’s taking some time!

  7. I always think how brave they are, showing up at the coldest time of year. Mine are in full bloom now, but it is barely warm enough most days for them to open, so I have picked quite a few to enjoy indoors. My crocus are also up and about, but again they are hardly opening to show off their colours, and it is snowing again tonight!

  8. Very exciting! I looked around for them the other day, but I haven’t lifted the mulch yet. Good thing, because we had a 2-3 inch snow this morning. I’m sure they’re under there somewhere. 😉 I have a patch of Crocuses that seems to do the same thing. I’m guessing next week, with milder weather, will announce their arrival. Cheers!

  9. Hello Jason, it’s amazing how early things have been here. Snowdrops are old news, we’ve had Camellias in full flower and locally the Magnolias are starting to open up but it might be yet another year where the display is spoiled by late frosts; that’s always the gamble with early spring flowering trees and shrubs.

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