In a recent post I wondered if I should divide some of our Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis and G. elwesii) clumps. Several readers answered in the affirmative. Then I just happened to read in Anna Pavord’s encyclopedic book Bulbs that Snowdrops should be planted right after flowering.
This is distinct from most bulbs, who want to be transplanted only after their foliage has withered. Replanting earlier can interfere with building up energy in the bulb for next year. But for Snowdrops, apparently, this is not a problem.
The ground was cool and so moist and soft that I could grab a handful of Snowdrops at the base and just yank them all out at once. This is probably not the approved method of digging up Snowdrop bulbs but it was oddly satisfying. I don’t recommend that you try it at home.
The bulbs in the clumps were packed together really tightly. You could see that many of them had 2 stems and could be getting ready to separate.
The G. elwesii I replanted in the Spicebush Bed that borders the brick garage. Another group ended up in the Sidewalk Border out front. The other species, G. nivalis, were moved in front of the Annabelle Hydrangeas (H. arborescens) by the east fence.
It seems I’m due to eat some humble pie on the subject of Snowdrops. In the past I’ve condescendingly described them as rather dull compared to brightly colored Crocuses. But rabbits and perhaps other factors have caused my Crocuses to diminish rather than expand. At this point all I get is a sparse scattering of Crocus blooms.
So it’s time to face facts. Your color can be as cheerful as you like but it doesn’t do much good if you never get to bloom. Snowdrops, meantime, flower reliably and in ever increasing numbers.
Still, I’m not going to become a Snowdrop fancier or Galanthophile. The distinctions among most Snowdrop varieties seem barely noticeable to me – I’m happy to stick with regular old G. nivalis and G. elwesii. Although, ‘S Arnott’ and ‘Atkinsii’ are kind of intriguing.