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Plants in the Garden: Snowdrop flowering times

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Started by: John Good

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 18 January 2016, 23:14. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from John Good 17 January 2016, 20:25top / bottom of page
They're not early here in N. Wales!

Some plants (rhododenbrons in particular) are somewheat ahead of themselves in this (so-far) mild winter, but most are not, including snowdrops. In fact, my snowdrops (I have about 50 varieties) are if anything late this year and only one (Mrs. Backhouse's Spectacles) is 'on-time'. and in full flower now. Last year at this time I was able to take 6 varieties to our local AGS meeting, this year just the aforementioned. Daffodils, on the other hand, are just about as normal, none in flower yet but several quite near (N. 'Cedric Morris' flowered before Christmas, as usual, and is now going over). 
I think the persistently high temperature throughout the autumn and early winter must be the cause of the late emergence of the snowdrops, perhaps a steadily declining soil temperature, or a resonably prolonged sequence of cold nights, is required to set them in motion. Any thoughts??

Contribution from Tim Ingram 18 January 2016, 23:14top / bottom of page

I haven't really observed snowdrop flowering closely enough over enough years but they don't seem especially different this year than previous ones taken overall, although some of the the earlier G. elwesii forms do seem to have flowered a good bit earlier (eg: Mrs McNamara). This made me make a quick search on the web for phenology records of flowering times and there is this fascinating site that records flowering of snowdrops (G. nivalis) year by year - along with many other plants - and enables years to be compared side by side (and marks the records on a map of the UK). Would be interesting to view this more closely and compare against temperature and climate records. (Kew also has a fairly long term record of snowdrop flowering, along with many other species):

It would be an interesting subject to research more closely - this paper concludes that 'spring' is advancing in recent years based on widespread phenological records:

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