Thursday, March 22, 2007

Galanthus Nivalis

The second species of galanthus that we grow is Galanthus nivalis... often called the lesser snowdrop (as opposed to elwesii being the greater, or giant snowdrop); it is perhaps half as large as elwesii. It is also sometimes called the European snowdrop, from its natural range. Nivalis usually has a single heart-shaped green blotch on each of its three inner petals, as opposed to two blotches on elwesii, and it blooms later. Another distinction is that the leaves of nivalis are narrower, and they are applanate (opposing, like praying hands) whereas elwesii has much wider, grey-green leaves which are convolute (one wraps around the other). Galanthus nivalis also appreciates more moisture and shade than elwesii, and I think it is more appreciative of a cooler climate, so while British gardening books always talk about nivalis being a much more rapid spreader, in our continental climate the opposite is true; nivalis is harder to establish, and spreads more slowly. Spread it does, though, and it is a more refined, darling little snowdrop.
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The posts from your garden are inspirational. You are giving me ideals of different plants I can try. I can tell by your photos and descriptions you have a great attention to detail and know a lot about the plants you have. My garden and plants tends to more simple. I use the common name for the plants I grow and my garden is a random placement of different plants packed together. Thanks for the posts and for helping teach a simple gardener..
Mo... when I was your age, I'm not even sure I knew the common names of flowers; it was more like "that big blue flower". just keep plugging away; as soon as you get settled in a spot you think you're going to live at for a while, plant some magnolias... they'll be spectacular by the time you reach my age (of course they'll crowd everything else out, but what the heck!)
This is a dumb question, but I'm very new to gardening! I have a few snowdrops in my yard (previous owner can take credit). Do they spread or do I need to plant more if I want more? Thanks, rosemarie
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