Shhh, softly now….the new year has begun.

The first flowers of the season are always my beautiful snowdrops. I planted a hundred or so bulbs around the garden and in pots near the windows several years ago. In the depths of winter when only my visiting robin shows signs of life in the garden and I have forgotten all about gardening they begin to emerge quietly from the frozen soil and bloom like sparkling drop diamonds.

I am always struck by their quiet beauty when I gaze at them from the warmth of the house. It is then that I say to myself “Ahh, the year has begun, here is the reminder that the garden will soon wake from her slumber and the joyous work, seasons, beauty and harvests are to come.”

Galanthus Nivalis. The common single flowered snowdrop.

Galanthus Nivalis. The common single flowered snowdrop.

There are hundreds of different kinds of snowdrops with their green markings on the inner petals the distinguishing feature between the varieties. Some are singles, some doubles, though I prefer the simplicity of the single blooms like the common Galanthus Nivalis. Whilst almost all are green there are also yellow varieties like Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’. You can buy them as bulbs and plant them from September to October, however, the best way to plant them is ‘in the green’ after they have flowered but before the leaves have died down which ensures that the bulbs will absorb moisture when replanted. Specialist nurseries will sell them in this way and will also have a great variety of cultivars to choose from. If you’re looking for snowdrops try the RHS award winning Crocus as they always have great varieties and healthy plants.

As woodland flowers they are happiest in light shade beneath deciduous trees, in naturalised grass or along the front of a border. Try popping a few in a pot near the kitchen window to enjoy their beauty as you contemplate the year to come.

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