In The Green

No, I did not win the lottery, although the above title usually does refer to money. But in this case I am referring to snowdrops.

I was reading an English garden blog the other day and drooling over her pictures of the snowdrops in her border. Dear Reader, she had thousands. OMG! how could I possibly achieve this look in my lifetime, (ok, forget the lifetime, I want to achieve it in the next two years).  She wrote that she had planted 2000 bulbs and was thinking of purchasing more “in the green”.  And then Sylvia (who all Blotanists know and love) wrote a letter on Tulips In The Woods blog about her snowdrops.  Now I am even more greedy!

Now, every UK gardener knows what this is, but it is not common at all for North Americans. In fact, I do not even know if you can purchase them this way at all. But, you can buy snowdrops, (as well as bluebells, aconite and some crocus) “in the green” or growing. They are dug up and shipped in the spring, when they have roots and leaves. Snowdrops settle into your garden so much easier at this stage, they hate being dried out.

When I was moaning to Julie about the lack of North American (at least Canadian) doing this, she was appalled.   To quote, “how are you ever going to get them to grow”. But then Julie had a brilliant idea, she suggested advertising for gardeners who might be able to spare some.

So if you, or you know of anyway one who would be interested in selling some snowdrops, please let me know.  Obviously, they would have to be in Canada, such a headache importing from the US or overseas. I am so hoping to have (one day) the kind of show that you can see in the Rococo Garden Painswick.

68 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, Of one thing I am certain, you will, with your determination and rescourcefulness, succeed in having a snowdrop glade which, in no time at all, will be the envy of Canada.

    You are absolutely right in what you say about dividing them in ‘the green’. In my experience, do not be frightened of planting the divisions singly – they really do form clumps within a year or two. As to where you obtain them in Canada, of course I have no idea. I very much hope that you have lots of offers as to where to find them.

    • 2

      THank you Edith, I am hoping so as well. I spoke to Sylvia, and she said they are sent by overnight mail in the UK and they transplant very well. I do have some snowdrops already, but abviously not enough to have the show that I would like to achieve one day.

  2. 3

    Joy said,

    Deborah .. OMG ! I saw Rocco picture and my jaw dropped about a foot ? LOL .. I don’t have that kind of setting to plant in but you DO girl ! and if I had any .. I would share but for some reason I didn’t order any .. I think I became fascinated by those monster Allium bulbs ? LOL
    I’m sure there are some fellow Canadian bloggers that will have some for you .. it would be amazing to see that in the Spring : )

    • 4

      Isn’t it gorgeous Joy, why do Canadian not plant in these quanities. Maybe they do in BC, but I have not seen or heard of anything on this side of the country. I do love those alliums as well, very expensive!

  3. 5

    fairegarden said,

    I do hope you find a source, Deborah! We are not able to find any for sale at the bulb houses in the green either, but want them as badly as you. They have even shown slicing the bulbs into smaller pieces, each with a bit of the base, that might help you achieve your dream sooner. If only you get a willing seller. My best thoughts of success are with you.

    • 6

      Thanks Frances. I saw your comment on Sylvias post, and realized that they do not sell them this way in the States as well. Why not? This could be a business opportunity for someone. I did see (somewhere) a post about slicing the bulbs. I am have to try it.

  4. 7

    gardeningasylum said,

    Hi Deborah, “In the green” must be the way to go – I planted 50 bulbs of galanthus nivalis a few years ago, and they just kind of sit there. Maybe I should should just pull them up and divide when they emerge to see what happens.

    • 8

      Cyndy, everything that I have read indicates that they increase fastest, when they are divided every two to three years. Are they in your woodland?

      • 9

        gardeningasylum said,

        No actually, they are in the lawn out front – where I thought they would be a cheery welcome. I’m thinking I ought to divide, as you say, and try a location out back – as it is they’re not happy, nor am I!

      • 10

        Maybe they do not like competing with the grass.

  5. 11

    All I can say is that I look forward to that beautiful photo of your garden carpeted in snowdrops in a couple of years!

  6. 13

    Sylvia (England) said,

    Thank you for the link Deborah. I do hope you find someone selling snowdrops. Perhaps you will start a ‘fashion’ and then they will be easily available!

    Good luck Sylvia

  7. 15

    Liisa said,

    That photo at Rococo Garden is breathtaking. This is the best snowdrop resource I have found, though it is in the U.S. Not sure if it helps, but here it is:
    Hitch Lyman, a snowdrop grower in Trumansburg, N.Y., is the steward of large collections of snowdrop varieties developed in Britain and grown by enthusiasts in the United States between 1890 and 1970, “which is a good, long period and full of interest,” he said.
    For a catalogue from Hitch Lyman, mail a check for $3 to the Temple Nursery, P.O. Box 591, Trumansburg, N.Y. 14886. His prices range from $2 to $50 per bulb, and he digs and ships in early April. No Internet or telephone sales.

    • 16

      Liisa, this is the one snowdrop grower I know of. A friend in the States, actually smuggled me back a couple of his bulbs, he doesn’t ship to Canada. When I went to England, my friend Janus, who is now Pipers mummy, put them in her garden. We are trying to bulk them up, some of those expensive bulbs are very slow to increase, (maybe that is why they are so expensive, lol). Thank you so much for the info tho.

  8. 17

    Tatyana said,

    I bought some snowdrops “in the green” at the NWFGShow in Seattle this year. You reminded me, I need to water them! Thank you!

  9. 19

    Wow, what an incredible photo of the snowdrop glade. I’m sure it won’t be long before you accomplish something similar, do you have a location picked out? I have not heard of ‘in the green’ before, but will now see what I can find out about it. I have seen bulbs sprout in the displays, but that probably isn’t the same thing.

    I am really looking forward to seeing what happens with my little naturalized patch, I would love a lawn of little spring bulbs.

    • 20

      You and me both Rebecca, I have planted a few things in my lawn, scilla, fritallaria melagris, a couple of crocus. Right now I want to bulk them up in the Lime Walk, but I am planning a Woodland Walk(one day) and I would like them in there.

  10. 21

    Best of luck on your quest. I posted on snowdrops a few weeks back – so excited that I’d seen something blooming in the neighborhood. I got a response from my friend in Birmingham England that they bloom all winter for her and what was I talking about sign of spring?? (urg….no fair no fair!). But I say, let’s bring them to North America in droves!

    • 22

      Do you not find them very common either? I do not know if it was because my mum was Scottish, but I grew up with them, and I assumed that everyone grew them. I think we need to set a fashion Kelly.

  11. 23

    What a wonderful idea…a snowdrop exchange! I’ve been drooling over everyone else’s snowdrops too for the past few weeks, and would so love to plant some. It seems everyone has snowdrops but me! I hope you find some 🙂

    • 24

      Oh a snowdrop exchange would be wonderful, darn crossborder restrictions, do birds not fly back and forth, I bet they are carrying seed from one country to the next. I do not see why plants cannot go back and forth.

  12. 25

    Rosie said,

    In the green is the most successful way of growing snowdrops – I’m really surprised they don’t offer this in Canada. Hope you get to achieve your dream Deborah.

    Rosie ♥

  13. 27

    You seem to have the makings of a true “galanthophile” (new word~thanks for that). Isn’t it wonderful how gardeners are so willing to jump on your bandwagon with words of encouragement and support?

  14. 29

    Deborah, that photo is exquisite! I have never heard of buying them “in the green” but it makes sense. I wish you the very best in finding lots of these adorable little plants 🙂

  15. 31

    Grace said,

    Hi Deborah~~ I sure hope you find a suitable resource. I’ve had difficulty also trying to get the dried bulbs to grow. Finally I’ve got a happy little clump but it’s taken years. They’re finished blooming already. I’d like to try Leucojum at some point in time.

  16. 33

    Ceara said,

    Snowdrops in Canada? Wow, that would be quite a sight! They are lovely little flowers.

    • 34

      Are they not hardy for you Ceara? I never thought of checking for the zone. I sometimes wonder if they are not popular because they are white, after seeing snow all winter, people might want something brighter.

  17. 35

    sequoiagardens said,

    Hi after a long absense, Deborah! I’ve never seen snowdrops, as we don’t have them in South Africa and I’ve never been in the UK at the right time. But snowflakes (Leucojum) look rather similar and grow very well for us. I know that ‘them as knows’ find them horribly coarse in comparison, but I suspect that is part of the snob appeal that goes with snowdrops! But perhaps they could be a worthwhile compromise for you.

  18. 37

    Anna said,

    Hope that a fellow Canadian blogger will come up trumps Deborah 🙂 Email on its way to you over the weekend.

  19. 39

    They are lovely little plants. I was fortunate that mine came with my house. I just recently saw a double variety that I MUST have. Good luck creating your snow field – it will look amazing (just like the one pictured in Rococo Garden Painswick).


  20. 41

    Ahh!! The Rococo snowdrop glade is gorgeous … now that is something to aspire to! They will look lovely under your Hornbeams… and into your wooded area Deborah. I wish I could offer some help but know of no source that sell in the green. I will ask about it however. ;>)

  21. 43

    Liisa said,

    Bummer that Hitch Lyman does not ship to Canada! Hmmm… how far are you from Montreal? I go there occasionally. If some snowdrop bulbs got lost in my car somewhere, and somehow landed in your garden… I surely wouldn’t tell. 🙂

  22. 47

    I took patches of snowdrops with me when I moved from my city garden to my country garden. We divided them, and spread them through several beds on the property. Each year they get a little bigger, but they are nowhere near as luscious as those wonderful spreads you see in English magazines and blogs. I have found that they do take time to increase. I wish you success in your search.

    • 48

      Yvonne, I do have a few, and I have been dividing them. But, I am impatient, I want the big drifts and I would like to see them in my lifetime. I will just have to keep looking.
      Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and making a comment, it is very much appreciated.

  23. 49

    Wendy said,

    I have a neighbor down the street who has a little plot jam packed with snowdrops. They’re never home and I always think about just stopping by at night with a little trowel and bringing some home “in the green”.

    • 50

      Ohhh, Wendy, take some photos, I want to see! A little trowel full will hardly be noticed, although I am never home, and I would certainly notice, I hope that it is not my house, LOL.

  24. 51

    Melissa said,

    Oh my, I am behind in checking in on your posts. To have a “spread” of Galanthus like that would be heaven. I had never heard of planting “in the green” so thanks for teaching me about that. I hope your plea is successful!

    • 52

      Wouldn’t it be gorgeous Melissa, they take up so little space and flower so early, I wonder why everyone doesn’t have them. I think that I read too many English gardening mags, I am always lusting after something that I can’t have.

  25. 53

    Good luck on getting your snow drops! They will be fabulous in your garden. Imagine planting 2000 of anything. That will make a statement!

    • 54

      Would it ever, that is the kind of statement that I would like to have. I am trying, and keep trying, to plant larger quantities of bulbs, and limited varities, instead of 5 of everything, but it is very hard.

  26. 55

    In you bio,in the column to the right, you compare Canadian Zone 5b to US Zone 4b. Where did you discover this information?

  27. 57

    Breck’s Bulbs in Canada sells Snowdrops for Fall delivery. Here is their link:

  28. 59

    Deirdre said,

    I’ve always heard that “in the green” was the best way to plant snowdrops. In the Seattle area, nurseries and even chain stores like Fred Meyer sell snowdrops in the bloom. I’ve done it in the past, but that is an expensive way to buy them. Last fall, I bought 100 snowdrop bulbs on line from Colorblends for $32 (the price has gone up to $37 this year). That’s about a third of what buying them in bloom costs. I figured if only half came up, I’d still be ahead. Well, Colorblends must treat them well because they ALL came up. I did soak them overnight before planting. I am determined to have sheets of the pretty things. I was happy with all the bulbs I ordered from them. I’ve never had any luck with winter aconites, which are also supposed to be planted in the green, but I now have a hundred of them blooming, too.

    Sorry if I sound like a spokesperson, but I’m just so pleased to finally have a good, inexpensive source.

    • 60

      Deirdre, lucky you to buy able to buy snowdrops in bloom. I think it is cheaper to buy them in the green in England, is they arrive after flowering, and are not sold for decorative purposes. Interesting to know about Colorblends, you are the second person to mention them to me. Such a shame they do not ship to Canada, I could get in some serious trouble.
      I’m with you on the sheets, and would love to have a few million aconites as well. Good advice about soaking the snowdrop bulbs, I think that I will try that this year. I would love to see some pictures of yours!

      • 61

        Deirdre said,

        A hundred snowdrops sounds like a lot, but spread out in the garden, it’s not. It’ll take a few years for them to bulk up, and look like something. They’re just about finished here. We had a very mild January and February.

      • 62

        I so agree Deirdre, I need a few thousand, ok, many hundred of thousands. A English garden blogger mentioned to me that she had 2,000 in her garden and was going to purchase another 1,000 in the green this year. These are the quanities I would like to plant. Where do you live?

      • 63

        Deirdre said,

        I live in Seattle, Washington. I think I will probably buy another hundred snowdrops next fall, too. I may put them in a flat so I don’t disturb the ones I put in last year. Then, plant them in the green from the flat. I’d love to order a thousand, but I think my husband would die. I bought 500 bulbs of various kinds last fall, and he was appalled.

      • 64

        I went on the ColorBlend website, so far I want 1000 snowdrops $340.00, 5,000 Tommies $400.00, and 1000 Eranthis, $210.00. that is only $950.00. I think that my husband would hit the roof. Even if I could sweet talk him, they do not ship to Canada, darn!
        Good idea about the flat, I am always digging into bulbs!

  29. 65

    Deirdre said,

    Thousands would make a show, but planting that many would be a lot of work. Autumn here is usually pretty wet.

    Last fall, I bought 100 snowdrops, 100 winter aconites, 100 tommie corcus, 100 glory of the snow, and 25 trout lilies from Colorblends. Plus miscellaneous lilies, tulips, and daffodils from Old House Garden bulbs. I’m thinking about maybe 75 hyacinths in blue, yellow, and white next fall in addition to another 100 snowdrops. That’s only a little over $100. I might pot up some of the hyacinths, and give them as Christmas presents.

    • 66

      It would be crazy, but once done, I would be happy, at least till the following year, lol. last year, i planted 150 chionodoxa, 100 scilla, 40 anamone blanda, 50 crocus, 80 daffs, 25 aconites and a few other misc. bulbs. If I could have ordered from a place like Colorblends, it would have been a few more, lol. I am looking for a place to buy the species tommies, can only find Ruby Giant and Barrs Purple. I wasn’t sure how the aconites would do, I wanted to test them before I committed to a larger order.

      • 67

        Deirdre said,

        Have you checked out Old House Garden bulbs? Again I don’t know if the ship to Canada.

      • 68

        I looked at their website, they do not, but I couldn’t afford them anyway, not in the quanities I want. Tommies are $11.00/100 at Colorblends, and $64.00/100 at Old House! Yikes!!!

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