Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pop Goes a Snowdrop; the First Flower of the Year Is Rearing Its Tiny Head, Reminding Us That Spring's on the Way

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pop Goes a Snowdrop; the First Flower of the Year Is Rearing Its Tiny Head, Reminding Us That Spring's on the Way

Article excerpt

ABIT of a cold snap this week gave hints that our unseasonably mild winter weather may be coming to an end. However, we do have some consolation as the tiniest of plant bulbs are bursting into life.

The early year colour from bulbs creates hope that spring can't be too far away and a new gardening year has begun.

So how delightful it was when I spotted an arc of yellow crocus and some snowdrops peeping through a lawn this week.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of the earliest plant bulbs to grace us with their presence during the winter time.

It's amazing that these wonderfully delicate flowers will last longer in much colder temperatures, some right up until March. The evolution of sharp, hardened leaf tips ensures that the plant can effectively break through frozen ground in winter.

For me, the sight of the silvery green strap leaves pushing their way out of the grass is something I never tire of, and they look even more romantic peeking out of a snowy scene.

The snowdrop is often thought of as native to the British Isles, but it is now accepted to be a species that was introduced from areas of Europe as well as Asia and Russia.

It has since naturalised throughout the UK, having been recorded in cultivation during the 16th century, and eventually being spotted growing wild in the late 18th century.

Since this time, the snowdrop has established itself throughout woodlands, gardens, churchyards, grasslands and parks. Having survived for over two centuries in such numbers makes it a truly naturalised species on our lands.

So how best to grow them in our gardens? Snowdrops thrive in light shade under deciduous trees or shrubs, making beautiful companions for cyclamen and hellebores, although they can be grown in containers if re-potted annually.

As with most bulbs, snowdrops require well-drained soil, but this shouldn't be allowed to dry out in summer. …

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