pixie perennials

gardening with perennials


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Snowdrops in the forecast?

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At 6:20am today I awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside our bedroom window. Delightful! My view of the sunrise from our bed was nothing less than spectacular: oranges, pinks, and grays. I rolled out of bed and grabbed my camera, wanting to capture this moment in time. Reaching the window, and raising the camera to my eye to frame the shot, I notice the driveway no longer shows any sign of the blacktop that had been there when I went to sleep. The entire yard is white with snow. Shaking my head, I take another look. The snow is still there. How could this be? Spring starts in two days. The weather channel never mentioned any chance of precipitation, let alone snow in their forecast last evening! However, snow is predicted for Friday, the first day of spring. Winter doesn’t want to retire.

Normally at this time of year, snowdrops greet me each time I walk in or out of the front door. Not this year. I am waiting, not so patiently at this point for the snowdrops to peek their heads out of the ground, or for any sign of my spring bulbs. Most are buried under the biggest snow piles in our yard.


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Bulbs

For an early show in your garden plant hyacinth, crocus, puschkinia and chionodoxa bulbs.


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Snowdrops grow at the base of our dinner bell in the kitchen courtyard. Walking by them, I never fail to smile; they signify spring is on the way. Notice the chartreuse edging detail on the three shorter inner tepals. Gorgeous!

The botanical name is Galanthus nivalis. There are several common names for the snowdrop: flower of hope, common snowdrop, candlemas lily, fair maids of February, little sister of the snows, and the purification flower.

The bulb is easy to grow in rich well-drained soil, in full sun or part shade. It prefers a cooler climate. Above zone 7 galanthus nivalis will be short lived. Plant the bulbs in the fall for spring bloom. I prefer to keep the leaves on the plant after the bloom has finished. The foliage will disappear by late spring as bulbs go dormant. (Less work too!)

For a spectacular showing, plant in drifts where they can naturalize, such as the edge of woodlands or in lawns under large deciduous trees. Try lining your walkway with this fragrant early bloomer, you won’t be disappointed.