What a welcome sight – during a brisk walk through the arboretum with Ollie on Sunday morning, I spotted an emerging drift of pearly white snowdrops robustly standing up to the prevailing cold wind. None are flowering as yet in the garden at home, so these were a lovely reminder of the pleasure now just around the corner.

Snowdrops in our garden are restricted to the common galanthus nivalis, I’d like to add more varieties in both Walsall and Wales. Ashwood Nurseries in Kingswinford have a wide range – there are two broader petal varieties that I really like the look of: ‘Melanie Broughton’ and ‘Flore Pleno’; hopefully back in stock to buy in the green in March/April. However, they can be expensive! ‘Melanie Broughton’ as a potted bulb will cost £18, ‘Flora Pleno’ a more palatable £3.50. I prefer varieties that are predominantly white, not too much green and definitely no yellow, but I’m sure there are many snowdrop fans who would disagree. BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine recently posted a timely article, with their opinion on the 12 best snowdrops to grow – with useful detail on characteristics – ‘Melanie Broughton’ included!

Planting recommendations are predominantly to use ‘in the green’ plants, i.e just after flowering when the leaves are still green as moisture absorbed by the leaves helps stop the bulb drying out after planting. RHS advice warns of the risk associated with bulbs – they dry out easily and subsequently fail, so if you do choose to use them, they should be planted as soon as they are purchased. My research indicates that snowdrops should be planted in humus rich, moist, well drained soil in partial shade, with leaf mould or compost added, so I will have to be careful in Wales where water logging can be a problem in parts of the garden.

We’ll be out and about during February, so I’ve also been doing a bit of research to find the best places to enjoy a snowdrop walk. Close to home, Attingham Park, Sugnall Hall and Dudmaston Hall all appear in recommended lists. Southeast ward bound, Winkworth Arboretum, Little Court in Winchester and Chawton House are on our route. In South West Wales, Colby Woodland Garden in Narberth, the National Botanic Garden and Aberglasney Gardens reputedly have snowdrop walks.

Sarah Raven talks about the ‘Bannerman’ way of planting snowdrops to great effect at Hanham Court in South Gloucester – with companions which include cyclamen coum, aconites and daffodils. This garden is open on 11th February under the National Garden Scheme, if we’re not southeastward bound, then I may persuade Chris to make the trip.

There’s plenty to look forward to in the February garden – we’re spoiled for choice, both for new planting and also for garden walks, so here’s to happy snowdropping, enjoy!

ppjjSnowdrops in our garden are restricted to just one variety, the common snowdrop, galanthus nivalis. I’d like to cultivate other varieties, both in Walsall and the garden in Wales. I’m particularly struck by ‘Dionysus’