Snowdrops galore with an apple corer

editorial image
John Stainer's cliva

BRIAN KIDD: Your gardening letters and jobs for the week ahead

0
Have your say

Snowdrops traditionally are in flower every Sunday in February and what a joy they have been.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love them and over a number of years Pam and I have planted hundreds in our garden.

Sadly, because of the flooding at home last year we lost almost all of them in the centre of the garden because it was flooded for five weeks and the poor things drowned.

Would you like to grow some in your garden? Yes, you are thinking bulbs are normally planted in autumn, but these are tiny and I expect you have experienced disappointment because not many of them grew because they were dug out by squirrels, crows, cats or foxes.

This is a good time to buy ‘snowdrops in the green’. This is a good description given to seedlings which can be bought from snowdrop specialists and you will see their adverts in gardening magazines. They cost about £10 per hundred.

If you have a street market you will be able to buy little bunches of doubles and singles. The single-flowered ones are cheaper and they produce seeds as well as baby bulbs.

Double snowdrops don’t produce seeds but they do produce baby bulbs. But doubles don’t produce drifts of flowers. If you want a good display buy the singles.

If you decide to buy some in the green keep in mind they look wonderful in a drift.

Mark out the area where they are to be planted and plant single seedlings with an apple corer. Plant the outside line of the design first followed by the infill.

If you don’t have a street market you will be able to find snowdrops in little pots at garden centres. The flowers have finished, no one buys them and they are on special offer to get rid of them. This gives us another opportunity of introducing them into the garden. There will be several seedlings in the pots, don’t break up the roots, simply plant them in a drift.

Have a good look at the tops of each stem and choose ones with plump seed heads. The seeds will fall on to your garden and they will have flowers in a couple of years.

If you have a wonderful display in your garden and would like to move them, the best time to do this is as soon as they finish flowering but while the leaves are still green. When they are dug out, the length of the roots is always quite a surprise because they are often a foot long. Dig out a clump and use fingers and thumbs to separate the bulbs.

Every bulb, even the tiniest ones, will produce a flower next year. Plant the bulbs in a drift and ensure they are planted deeply so all the white bases and part of the green leaves are buried too so that the leaves won’t flop all over the ground.

Next year, there will be flowers on the snowdrops every Sunday in February.

TIP OF THE WEEK

This is the last chance to move shrubs and trees from one part of the garden to another. Make sure you choose a nice day. You would be surprised how many people leave this job until it is too late.

Back to the top of the page