For over 10 years I have been planting my ‘special’ snowdrops in pond baskets and sinking them into the soil, partly for ease of knowing exactly where they were planted but also because I felt it gave them some degree of protection from encroachment by other plants or accidental slicing by a spade. Some of those reasons may well have been justified but certainly not protection from encroachement, as I showed in a recent post, and containment also put them at risk from the medium they were planted in, as I found to my cost when I lifted the pots of some of the less successful snowdrops and discovered rather too much in the way of gravel and not enough soil.
Although I can see the snowdrop bed from the kitchen windows and have paused to admire the preciouses as I rambled, the weather has been cold and damp recently and not at all conducive to working in the garden or squatting down to admire individual snowdrops at close quarters. However, temperatures lifted a little in the last couple of days and the sun was out so this afternoon I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with their individuality and also release them from the confines of their baskets. For the first couple of seasons I still intend to keep them in the tall snowdrop pots that Avon Bulbs sell, but all the others are now planted directly in the ground, competition from pulmonaria, geranium, campanula and cyclamen having been removed to other quarters.
This has made it possible to divide a number of established clumps, splitting the individual bulbs away from their neighbours and hopefully encouraging further expansion. In the meantime, earlier division of clumps has provided a few spares this year of Magnet, James Backhouse and Mrs Macnamara, so if any of my UK blogging friends would like any of these, just let me know and I can share them round. I have benefited many times from other bloggers’ generosity and I am pleased to be able to reciprocate this time.
See Magnet below, with Imbolc to the right, and then (clockwise from left) Walrus, Starling, Blewbury Tart and Wendy’s Gold, all bobbing about prettily on this sunny afternoon. Despite several snowdrops flowering in late November or December, their season seems to have slowed down to a normal pace since Christmas as the majority are now in their prime whilst, as the bottom picture shows, the natives are all through but mostly not yet opening – so we have many more weeks of snowdrops to delight us, especially on milder days!