Plant of the Season – Spring

“Snowdrops”

Galanthus ‘Gerard Parker’

I’m often asked, “Which are the ten snowdrop cultivars one cannot do without!”  My choices have remained pretty static over a number of years, however, I do occasionally have to make some alterations/additions. More recently I have added the magnificent form of Galanthus plicatus, ‘Gerard Parker’. I have not yet managed to track down the exact origin of the name but have read that Gerard Parker was an artist and good friend of E.A. Bowles in his later years. What, for me makes this such an outstanding cultivar is that it stands out as being immense in stature, with attractive plicate foliage and the fulsome flowers hanging in a quite stately manner like ornamental lanterns. On closer inspection one can appreciate the veining on the outer segments. This is certainly “one” for the top ten.

Galanthus ‘Sybil Roberta’

This is one of my favourite double snowdrops and ranks with the very best proving to be early-flowering each year. Some growers feel that it is indistinct from the popular Greatorex double G.’Dionysus’. I am not sufficiently experienced with the latter clone to comment, but my choice refers to a tried and tested plant of the highest quality. It is tall and graceful with the scape rising clear of the foliage. The beautifully formed, double flowers contain neatly packed inner petals demanding closer inspection. I have grown this snowdrop since it was given to me by Dr Evelyn Stevens (who named it after her late mother) in 1996. When I exhibited it at one of the early RHS Spring Shows it immediately caught the attention of the Galanthophiles and experts and will continue to do so. Galanthus ‘Sybil Roberta’ is  a very good doer and should be lifted and divided regularly to maintain health and vigour.

Galanthus ‘Edwin’

I have been growing this snowdrop for a number of years now and it too stands out in a crowd. It is striking for its compact nature and its vigour. It arose at The Linns and will prove to be one of Dr Steven’s best raisings. I would guess that this is a natural Galanthus nivalis hybrid, possibly crossing with some of Evelyn’s fine forms of G.plicatus. Certainly one to look out for.

Availability: Harveys Garden Plants, www.harveysgardenplants.co.uk

Macplants, www.macplants.co.uk

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