Galanthophila, an obsession with snowdrops of the genus Galanthus, is spreading almost as fast as COVID did through both Europe and North America. While we love and value galanthus for their flowering in the winter garden, we’ve yet to take the plunge into full-fledged galanthophilia, which results in people sacrificing meals to have the latest new name in snowdrops for their garden. For serious galanthophiles, it’s not unusual to pay from $100 to $10,000 to have the latest, greatest selections. Although there isn’t a cure, the 12-step program seems to be able to help some gardeners keep this addiction in remission.
Here are a couple of specimens that are looking quite nice in the garden this week. Galanthus ‘Viridapice’ has been around since the 1920s, while Galanthus ‘Beth Chatto’ dates from the 1960s. Despite their advanced age, these gems have stood the test of time. All galanthus will go dormant in late spring.
Just in time for the Galanthus Gala next weekend in Philly:
I certainly have caught Galanthophilia but in my own garden. Having grown up in Saxon Transsylvania and Austria where they are native, I look forward to their opening every year. Some years they start as early as November but in masses in January and February. What fascinates me is the great variety of dark and pale green, even yellow, markings. Some named varieties like S. Arnott are very slow to multiply. Would I spend $100 or more on a single bulb? Probably not because of the great variation that shows up from plantings of the common elwesii and nivalis. Even the doubles, which last so much longer, are increasing nicely. Special favorite is G. nivalis ‘flore-pleno’. This spring I will be moving some in the tightest clumps and replant them “in the green”.