The Ultimate Snowdrop Sale and Snowdrops Gardeners’ Coffee Morning were a huge success!
Snowdrop enthusiasts came from far and wide for the eighth Ultimate Snowdrop Sale at Myddelton House Gardens on Saturday 26 January.
After a final countdown, Head Gardener James Hall officially opened the sale at 10.30am, lowering the rope and ringing the bell. The 248 visitors, who had been queuing around the block, ran towards the stalls, all keen to get their hands on a new bulb for their garden or collection. Specialist nurseries exhibited both common and rare varieties of the much sought after bulb, with prices ranging from as little as £5 to sums of £1,000 per plant for the Dryad Gold variety of snowdrop, with its distinctive golden colour.
The Snowdrops Gardeners’ Coffee Morning was equally popular and sold out weeks before the event.
On Wednesday 6 February Head Gardener James Hall took a group of keen Galanthophiles* on a tour of the gardens focusing on our impressive collection of snowdrops. The group included competition winners from the Hertfordshire Bird Club raffle.
James started the tour with a quote from “My Garden in Spring” by E. A. Bowles and shared some interesting snowdrops facts. Did you know that there are only 20 species of snowdrop but there are now over 1,500 cultivars & hybrids? And, did you know that you can have snowdrops flowering in eight months of the year, if you really wanted to (Sept-April).
The group walked around the garden looking at some of the different species of snowdrops, including a bed outside the peach house where we have a relatively recent collection of snowdrops cultivars. It was inspired by a painting of Galanthus ‘Scharlockii’ painted by Bowles which James had seen at the Lindley Library. Under the painting it said ‘Outside the peach house’. The bulbs for the collection were donated by Margaret & David MacLennon, the National Collection Holders of Galanthus in Cumbria. They sent us over 30 different cultivars in 2017 and a further 20 in 2018. Further bulbs promised for 2019!
James also showed the group a pot of Galanthus ‘E A Bowles’ that is just starting to emerge. It was first spotted here in the garden in 2004. It is the only plicate type of snowdrop in cultivation that is poculiform (inner and outer perianth parts are of equal size and shape). This was met with much excitement amongst the galanthophiles!
The tour finished with tea and cakes back at the Bowles Tea Room.
*Galanthophile is the term for a snowdrop enthusiast. It is thought to have been invented by E. A. Bowles (1865 –1954) in a letter to his friend Oliver Wyatt, another keen collector of bulbs, whom he addressed as "Dear Galanthophil"