North Wales Diary Discussion: January 2015 - a very dull winter!
Started by: /diaries/NorthWales/Go to latest contribution by John Good, 07 February 2015, 08:45. Go to bottom of this page.
John, it is certainly true that a couple of thousand snowdrop varieties is pretty ridiculous! (but there are plenty more narcissi and roses and dahlias and....). We probably have about a hundred but the essence of Galanthophilia is that freedom that individual gardeners have in picking out plants and naming them! I'm not sure that even Joint Rock is in a much better position to judge and delineate because it is really time that tells, and time has had nowhere near long enough to sort the recent proliferation of snowdrops! (compared against the old tried and tested varieties). I personally am drawn to a number of plants which are fertile and seed around (and potentially just add to the problem of names!), but because these allow snowdrops to adapt to different gardens and weather the depredations of pests and diseases. I don't know whether the snowdrop genie can really be put back into the bottle?! On the other hand it is interesting to grow a range of species and compare and contrast them, and there is obviously considerable variation in natural populations which gets people excited too! The big difference in viewing them, I think, is between the aesthetic of individual plants, which will always appeal, and garden worthiness which is often quite fickle and varies greatly from place to place. Only a couple of named varieties have AGMs but five of the species do, which is sensible viewed in the round but rather boring for the keen gardener.
Yes, but the very best are mind-blowing!. I was quite swept away by your 'Jacquenetta', John. Perhaps we should all be more choosy! I also loved the Rh. dauricum. I am fairly certain this would not do for me, and in any case would be bound to be frosted (we have now had frost for 12 nights in a row!).
If somebody were sufficiently willing and knowledgeable I think it would be very useful to have a descriptive, illustrated list of the 'Top 100 Snowdrops'. I hasten to say that I have insufficient knowledge! If nothing else this could act as a (probably very active) useful stimulus to discussion about the merits of particular species, hybrids and cultivars so that information on local favourites, best 'dooers' in particular soils and situations could be accumulated in one place. I suspect we could all name 30 or so that would go into the top 100, but the other 70 could create all sorts of fun!!
'There was an attempt to do this on the SRGC Forum but the only way I could see it working would be to collate an overall list from, say, the best ten or twenty from a sufficient number of different gardeners, trying to use a reasonably objective assessment of garden value over time (effectively what the AGM does but in the narrower sphere of this one genus). I expect there would be pretty good agreement over the first thirty or so, and then a kind of expansion out into the more recent and distinctive cultivars which could be really interesting and useful.
So to start, if anyone wants to join in, I would nominate the following from our garden (in no special order):
These are plants that have all done well over time and are quite distinct from each other. But then I could easily add another group that might not be such good doers, or we haven't grown for long, but stand out in some way, such as 'Kite' and 'Lapwing' and 'Wasp' and 'Percy Picton' and 'Rev. Hailstone' - and these would be more likely to change from year to year. This would be a good exercise if enough different gardeners participated. (How would this same process apply to a different group of plants such as saxifrages I wonder, or perhaps a genus such as Fritillaria when applied to the garden rather than alpine house? Lots of people would have views I'm sure, but there would be a big difference between the garden and more controlled growing conditions).
Right, we're off!! Going along with Tim's suggestion my first ten are:
Of vourse, it was touch and go deciding what to include, and there are a number of others that could have made the list, but all these grow well here in N. Wales, increase freely, and are distinct.