The Avon Bulbs Snowdrop List

There are few other businesses that offer such a range of Snowdrops for sale. It is the culmination of many years of collecting, maintaining, cosseting, twin scaling and nurturing that Alan Street, the head nurseryman at Avon Bulbs, has put into the collection. The number of snowdrops offered has grown year on year. It might be said that snowdrops are all the same with white petals and green foliage but the keen eye can spot the differences between habit, size, markings and time of flowering. 

Planting Dormant Snowdrops

Do not delay the planting of dormant snowdrop bulbs, the sooner they are planted the better. If planting them directly into the ground consider their position as outlined below. We recommend using the smallest size of aquatic mesh pots so containment and identification will be made easier, this being filled with an improved soil based potting medium and a little extra sharp sand around each bulb. Label carefully and water very sparingly until the autumn. If planting in pots these should be plunged to keep the roots safe from extremes of heat and cold. If growing under glass (which can only be recommended for a very limited time) give plenty of ventilation at all times and preferably move the pots outside to a shady spot after flowering to prolong the growing season.

Planting Snowdrops "in the green"

All snowdrops (Galanthus species and cultivars) prefer cool, moist conditions in the spring and a surprisingly dry summer dormancy in the shade. Aim to provide a spot for them in good angled Spring sunshine where the rain can reach them when you plant them but also somewhere that will be more shaded in summer and where the soil will be drier due to the umbrella effect of the leaves above shedding the rain away and the roots of the trees and shrubs drawing away most of the remaining moisture. Dig a deep but narrow planting hole probably 4-6" deep (10-15cm)  (an asparagus trowel is a great implement for the job) loosening the soil at depth and introduce your snowdrop into this at a depth slightly greater than it was previously planted (where the stem turns green!) Firm in and water the soil remembering to label the spot. If planting more than one of the same variety, plant the next about 4" (10cm) away ideally. They will clump up in time.

A Glossary of Snowdrop Terms

Flowers -

Apex - The part of the flower closest to the ovary.

Base - The part of the flower furthest from the ovary.

Claw - The narrowing or restriction close to the ovary, particularly to the outer segment.

Scape - The (leafless) flower stem.

Spathe - The extension to the flower stem above the point that the pedicel emerges (modified leaves).

Inner Segments - The inner ring of 'petals' closest to the centre of the flower.

Outer Segments - The outer ring of 'petals'.

Ovary - Where the seeds eventually form, the swollen organ between the pedicel and the flower.

Pedicel - the connection between the ovary and the scape on which the flower is held.

Poculiform - indicating that all the petals are of the same dimensions.

Inverse Poculiform - where the outer segments appear to be missing and have been replaced by segments of equal length that look much more like large inner segments, as in Trym and the Trym- like varieties (also known by some as pterugiform - like a Roman legionaries' skirt).

Leaves -

Applenate - (as in G. nivalis) the leaves emerge from the ground flat to one another.

Plicate (or Explicative) - (as in G. plicatus) the leaves are described as emerging from the soil in an applenate arrangement but with the edges folded back on themselves.

Convolute (or supervolute) - (as in G. elwesii) the emerging leaves are rolled, one within the other as they emerge through the soil.

Glaucescent - with a thicker layer of wax over the surface leading to a greyness in colour.

Glaucous - the wax layer even more thick than glaucescent and as a result the leaf colour often increasingly grey.

Hybrid - parentage of more than one species (as indicated by the leaf arrangement).