Friday, February 03, 2006

Elwes Snowdrop

Unseasonably warm weather has my Elwes snowdrops blooming in the garden already--one month ahead of last year's blooms. The Elwes snowdrop, otherwise known as giant snowdrop, is native to Greece and dates back to the late 1800s. It is larger than the common snowdrop and blooms earlier, but has the same wonderful fragrance reminiscent of lilac.

I love snowdrops. They are the first bulbs to bloom, oftentimes pushing through the snow. Not only do they offer the promise of spring, but also make wonderful cut flowers. The three petal flowers open to look like helicopters and reveal little white hoods with green markings and yellow stamen. I love to put a vase of these on a cake pedestal so I can look up at the flowers from my library table.

Plant snowdrops in the fall in groups of at least ten. Snowdrops can easily be tucked under shrubs, at the foot of deciduous trees, around evergreens and in between perennials. The key is to plant a lot of them: think 100s. My favorite place to buy bulbs in large quantities is Van Engelen Inc. They offer fall bulbs wholesale by catalog and on the web at A hundred bulbs will cost less than $30. Snowdrops will also increase and in a few years you will have nice clumps of them.

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