Eco Plant Whisperer March 2023

Published: February 27, 2023

There are about  20 species of the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis, but as a genus it is far more widespread, comprising approximately 1,500 cultivars ! Snowdrops were introduced into this country in the late 16 century from europe. Unfortunately the current  Conservation Status of Galanthus is near threatened !

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I think as gardeners we need to keep doing the best we can to keep threatened plants at bay, this is what I've always found interesting about the work and writing  with Plant Heritage, and returning to work and write for Plantlife !

At this time of year I reckon I must spend a few hours in public and private gardens studying the morphology of snowdrops, it's really fascinating comparing the single and double heads of the perianth. I certainly get carried away using my botanical magnifiers.  In  the blink of a gardening eye the few months pass when these little gems flower, and so it's seizing the moment !

Within the coming months there's a seasonal job to be getting on with, which is snowdrop division, and replanting. There has always been this theory of dividing snowdrops in the green after flowering, ( April )  but when the foliage is still looking good. Personally I always had doubts of the advantages in doing this. I'm sure many snowdrop enthusiasts still use this form of cultivation.

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I much prefer the method/ technique of letting the foliage die back considerably, but not to the extent it would be difficult to undertake the task, this would be around June, although periods could vary in different parts of the country. I think I'm correct in saying that many of the serious growers would undertake division at this time, the theory being that much of the goodness has returned to the bulbs, as with narcissi/ daffodils.

At this time of year a book that always comes off the shelf from my garden library is A Monograph Of Cultivated Galanthus – Matt Bishop,. Aaron Davis,  John Grimshaw  – 2001

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It's a magnificent in depth read on Galanthus for the dedicated Plantsperson !

Kevin Line

Posted by
Kevin Line

Kevin is the Head Gardener/Plantsperson at the Lakeside Hotel South  Cumbria, appointed to restore the garden back to National Garden Scheme standard.

Kevin also works as a free lance Garden Adviser for the Field Studies Council at Castle Head, Grange- Over-Sands.

In 2021 Kevin was listed in the Horticultural Industries top 100  British Head Gardeners / Curators. This was to coincide with 180 years of the industry magazine, and the opening of RHS Bridgewater.

Kevin has been a member of the National Trust since 1999. He is a member of Butterfly Conservation and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the Hardy Plant Society, Plant Heritage, the Wildflower Society, and the Botanical Society Of Britain & Ireland. He also writes for the RHS Plant Review (formerly RHS Plantsman), he is currently researching historic plant propagation/ taxonomy for the Gardens Trust ( formerly Garden History Society ).

Kevin had previously worked for three and a half years developing the garden of an Arts & Crafts period Country House Hotel to National Gardens Scheme standard. (South Lakes)

He has also previously worked as Head Gardener in the Cotswolds for over 10 years, prior to that, BBC Gardeners World, and the National Trust.

Yes, I thought that when I saw your blog. But how can we let the snowdrop season pass by and not write about them.

I did actually buy the book at Colesbourne Park and met John Grimshaw.

All best