My love and fascination of Snowdrops began when I was at college in 1992. We were taken on a trip to see this little church in the Cotswolds, where the graveyard was a sea of white, it was breathtaking. We then had to study a handful of common Snowdrops for a plant identification test.
I was looking through a book to check on growing conditions of these bulbs, and saw an image of Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group, the Yellow Common Snowdrop. I was even more captivated. Being a poor student at the time I never imagined that one day I’d have a garden of my own let alone start growing these bulbs.
However, 12 years later the dream was about to start becoming a reality. In 2004, we went on a trip at the beginning of the year to Devon. It was here that I stumbled across a pot of Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group at a Hellebore nursery. The gentleman that owned the nursery told me that they would be easy to grow especially if hellebores grew well in my soil. The other interesting thing he told me, was there had been an event held in Dorset, where yellow snowdrops had sold for £25 per bulb! This led to me doing some investigating, and to my surprise there was more than one yellow snowdrop.
It was also the opening of the Snowdrop universe as a whole to me. I had not realised how many species and cultivars there where, and that there where, green ones, albino ones, big ones, little ones, Autumn flowering, blue-leaved, green-leaved and an array of different doubles. My head was spinning!
We decided to start doing some more research and decided we needed to visit some established displays. The first garden we visited, also in Cheshire was Rode Hall. Some of their collection had been there since 1833. It looked beautiful, but it did make me wonder how long it would take me to find these beautiful named Snowdrops, and how long it was going to take for them to become an established display. As we were leaving Rode Hall we noticed a very small sales area, it was here that the beautiful Galanthus ‘White Swan’ was added to my fledgling collection.
The following February, I was treated to a ticket to East Lambrook Gardens Snowdrop day. It was an extremely informative day, inspiring me even more. It was also an opportunity to see the famous ditch in the garden filled with Margery Fish’s Snowdrops. On our way home we also stopped at Colesbourne Park, the home of the Elwes family. Snowdrops here are on a truly grand scale. Everywhere we turned there where huge swathes of white flowers. It was a truly fantastic sight. We have been back since to soak up this Snowdrop extravaganza.
Every year we have added to the collection so that we now have over 500 varieties. Some of our Galanthus varieties have done so well in such a short period that we now have enough to sell. They have all been grown free range out in our garden in a sandy acidic soil.
Due to the continued demand for our bulbs, we decided to look for a new location in order to expand our business. In December 2017 we purchsed a new home with land in Shropshire. The site had previously had a plant nursery on it and although now in a very sorry state, we could see the potential for our future expansion plans! With a lot of hard work we are planning to have the space to develop our own cultivars of Snowdrops and to expand our offering into other bulbs, especially Erythroniums.
– Jane Rowlinson