Sundrops:Milkflower of The Snow
Snowdrops represent purity and a clean beginning to the new year. Snowdrops planted en masse are an unforgettable winter-to-early spring sight.
The common snowdrop grows only to 6 inches, a “short” introduction to the upcoming bulb season. Its strappy, blue-green leaves cluster around a flower stalk that can produce a slightly scented winter wonder, lasting for weeks.
Snowdrops represent a genus of 19 or more small bulbs. Native to Europe and western Asia, their botanical genus name, Galanthus, comes from the Greek for ‘milkflower‘. Nivalis is Latin for ‘of the snow’.
The “milkflower of the snow” does indeed look like three large drops of milk hanging from a stem. Common names such as Candlemas, February fairmaids and dingle dangle are informative as well as entertaining.
Galanthus nivalis will naturalize in lightly shaded woods and lawns without becoming invasive. By the time the lawn requires mowing, its flowers have been long gone and their leaves withered away. For those who try to co-exist with deer, snowdrops are not on their main menu so a forest-like setting carpeted by snowdrops is ideal.
Plant them any time from mid-October until the ground freezes. They appreciate rich, moist, well-drained soil located in sun to partial shade.
Snowdrops like regular moisture during their growing season, especially if you’d like to increase your crop. You can spread their seeds or divide the bulb clumps after flowering.
They can be used as cut flowers. While they’re not as showy as poinsettias or Christmas cactus, they do provide an elegant statement. Take a sniff while you’re at it. Not all have a fragrance, so if that’s important to you, a little research will ensure satisfaction. You will find many choices available but if you want something a bit more exotic, you’ll pay a pretty penny for them.
If you want to extend your pleasure, consider planting a later, spring flowering genus, Leucojum aestivum (common name “Summer Snowflake”).
While the two types (Galanthus and Leucojum) are classified into two separate genera, they are very similar in appearance.
No wonder they called it “flower of hope“! It is something that blooms so sublimely in the coldest time of year.
Tagged with: Candlemas • christmas cactus • dingle dangle • February fairmaids • Flower • flower of hope • Galanthus • Galanthus nivalis • Leucojum • Leucojum aestivum • milkflower of the snow • poinsettias • pure white petals of Snowdrops • Snowdrops • Snowdrops flowers • Summer Snowflake • winter flower • winter gardening
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