Six on Saturday: When is a Snowdrop Not a Snowdrop?

…when it’s a snowflake, or Leucojum, probably L vernalis as this one is quite short in stature, unlike the taller and slightly later L aestivum. Often mistaken for snowdrops by those with more limited plant knowledge, they are commonly known as spring and summer snowflakes respectively. They seem to be pretty trouble-free and I really ought to add more.

With daytime temperatures of around 9ยฐC for most of the week the ‘real’ snowdrops are beginning to open up. The double G flore pleno always begin flowering a week or two ahead of the single G nivalis, but the prospect of a ‘carpet of snowdrops’ is beginning to look more likely. I would usually have started splitting clumps before now, but with the ground being frozen for so long that task can easily wait.

As for my named ‘specials’, I think any that have survived their move will have made themselves known by know, and I have been able to make an assessment of where my collection now stands. It’s a little depleted, but I knew it was a risk and, with broad shoulders (all that swimming!), I can take it. There are some varieties I will actively seek to replace, largely for emotional reasons, but I have probably now learned not to keep replacing those that just don’t want to make themselves at home. I have come to the conclusion that Galanthus ‘Trumps’ is now my current favourite, so distinctive in character and bulking up well.

Now spreading nicely in the woodland edge border is an unnamed pulmonaria, probably a distant relative of the plant I brought from my parents’ house to my first marital home in 1976. I have a soft spot for all pulmonaria, probably for that very reason, just as I do with all geranium, with a plant of G magnificum coming to me at the same time from the same source. I am pleased to see the pulmonaria flowering now, as it is generally a little later.

A number of hellebores are also in bloom, although many are not. I am not convinced how much I like the over-abundance of blooms on H x ericsmithii ‘Pirouette’ though, which I think is likely to trip over its skirts if it attempts any twirling around:

Much more ladylike and practical is the unnamed variety below, probably one of the first in the garden and having lost its label many years ago; it obligingly holds its head up too. The stick to her right is Daphne mezereum, with tiny pinpricks of pink visible when inspected closely.

These are my promising six for today, and if you pop over to the blog of Six on Saturday host Jim you can see a wide range of other sixes from gardens around the world.

This entry was posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, early spring, Gardening, Gardens, herbaceous perennials, seasonal tasks, Six on Saturday, snowdrops, Winter, winter interest. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Six on Saturday: When is a Snowdrop Not a Snowdrop?

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    I must go and check my Pulmonaria as the Badger has taken to tromping through the flower bed just where the poor plant sits.

  2. Heyjude says:

    My pulmonaria has suffered this year, but there are signs of it recovering. Your hellebores are well ahead of mine. I’m glad to say that there are signs of new shoots on my biggest clump which is usually well on the way by now. A few hours in the garden this afternoon has proved beneficial though a proper revamp will have to wait until all the bulbs finish flowering.

    • Cathy says:

      Good to know you had some useful time in the garden, Jude. My pulmonaria clumps never look particularly pretty but strangely seem to have retained many of their leaves this year. This one seems to be the only one that seeds around though – it appears in different places in the garden and I have had to dig it out of paving cracks. A bit thuggish I suppose, but I don’t mind! ๐Ÿ˜‰ the hellebores are a real mix – some are in bloom yet others are still just pushing their buds above ground

  3. Your Pulmonaria blooms are lovely. It is way too early for ours, but Hellebore โ€˜Shooting Starโ€™ is in full bloom now. There are signs of crocus and hyacinth popping up too!

    • Cathy says:

      It is early for the pulmonaria here too and given the variable weather over the last year a real surprise – but it seems to be just the very ordinary type that is flowering so as a near-native of the UK it will be used to variable weather conditions!

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Snowflake is all I know as snowdrop here. I have never grown real snowdrop.

  5. Noelle says:

    Isn’t it perverse that if a plant flowers ‘too much’ the likes of you and I feel it is too much and prefer fewer. For myself if a plant does ‘too well’ it is the same as well.

    • Cathy says:

      Haha, yes! Although it oerhaps deoends how the flowers are held on the plant – with these they really are just a jumble of flowerheads… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Pauline says:

    Here my Leucojum are the other way round, L. aestivum always flowers before L. vernum, but from their common names they should be the other way round, goodness knows why mine have to be awkward!

  7. I’m mulling over getting some of the collectors snowdrops as they do well here. ‘Trumps’ looks like a good one.

  8. Cathy says:

    How lovely to see a Pulmonaria so early Cathy. Looks like you will have plenty of things in flower for the opening day. ๐Ÿ‘

    • Cathy says:

      I am thrilled to see it, Cathy, and must renember to check and update my list of ”Things that might be flowering on your visit’ list’ – which has an astonishing number of things on it but of course some will be earlier or later than ‘usual’

  9. I’ve never heard of a flower called snowflake, or Leucojum. How interesting!

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