Gardening Magazine

Is There a Sting in the Tail?

By Ozhene @papaver
I often say that whilst I love snowdrops I am not a galanthophile and nor will I ever be one.  Overwhelmingly the snowdrops in my garden are the common nivalis and they are good enough for me.  Over the years I had added the odd one or two with a name, a Mrs McNamara here, an Elwesii there, but nothing rare or precious.
Last year I fell prey to the charms of Galanthus Madeline,
Is there a sting in the tail? she is pretty and was more expensive than I have ever spent on a bulb previously and so has had to live in a pot.  Snowdrops in pots look good but are not really a long term option for keeping them happy.
Then it happened again, I saw what I would call an expensive snowdrop though I know to real collectors it was a mere spit in the wind: I fell for the delightful, the delicate 'Wasp'.
Is there a sting in the tail? What drew me to this snowdrop was the very narrow petals.
Is there a sting in the tail? It is immediately recognisable to me as not the usual snowdrop.  This matters to me as I am never going to spend time trying to decide if it has a blob of green more than its neighbour,  or some other tiny note of distinction.
Is there a sting in the tail? So I potted it up into a nice terracotta pot and decided to introduce it to Madeline.  Maybe they cross pollinate and create something special.....
The snowdrop garden visits continued and before I knew it a couple more lower end of the scale purchases have been made, from Thenford the rather delicate
Is there a sting in the tail? Modern Art and then from Colesbourne Park the slightly curvier....
Is there a sting in the tail? Alison Hilary.  She's rather lovely.
Suddenly though I feel a responsibility to these snowdrops.  I feel I have to take more care of them as, well, they cost me money I could have spent on something else.  I have been told they will not thrive in pots for many years so moving them on after a while is a good thing to do.  Snowdrops have spirits of the wild, they want to be free with their roots in the ground. A decision formed in my mind, in order to really make sure they survive they need planting out into the garden.  I also knew that if  I just planted them out willy-nilly (a technical term) I would forget who was who and they would become anonymous in the garden.  I spent too much to allow anonymity.
This is where I confess to buying plastic labels, yes they are plastic, I need them to last a long time.  I do not routinely use plastic labels, when sowing I use wooden lolly sticks, I bought 1000 a couple of years ago and I am still working my way through them.  So I only bought a few as I have no intention of spreading plastic around the garden.  I also bought some weather permanent marker pens.
Is there a sting in the tail? Properly labelled I planted them into an area of the Pond Border where I know I do not routinely replant with annuals so they should not be disturbed.  The label will also protect against this.
Is there a sting in the tail? I have still been a bit cautious as most of my precious, as Gollum and I now call them, had at least two bulbs in the pot.  So one has remained in the pot and the others have been planted out.......
Is there a sting in the tail? ..... except for Alison Hilary who is only one bulb and who I suspect is already being awkward.  I planted her out and whispered to her to grow well.  I am sure she nodded in agreement.
Will the sting in the tail be no Wasp and no other precious ones next year?  I hope not.  I do know that they have given me an earworm though....
Its always good to end on a song.

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