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Author Topic: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.  (Read 1077 times)

Michelle Swann

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Hi,

I am preparing a new small area of the garden.  The soil has had some improvement in the past, it was a veg patch, but it is just too shady really.  Now I intend to use as woodland area.  I plan to grow some small Acers, Anemone, Trilliums, Galanthus etc.

I intend to improve the soil with compost and grit where the galanthus are going to be planted as the soil can be a little too damp in areas in parts. 

I have other treasured Galanthus in a raised bed, which are planted in grit, loam and peat based compost and they seem happy.  The area is sheltered by hedge on two sides and a summer house on the other, it will only get sun for a small portion of the day and some parts hardly any at all.

How would you improve garden soil to suit galanthus?

What sorts of galanthus would you avoid?

As we know some snowdrops are really expensive, I tend to stay below the £20 a bulb mark, but will go higher if they are very big flowers. Can you recommend any particular varieties please?

Any help would be very, very much appreciated.

Thanks

Michelle xx

Gail

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2021, 09:29:01 AM »
Sounds a nice project Michelle.

How would you improve garden soil to suit galanthus?
Actually if it was previously a veg patch you'll probably find most galanthus do okay and won't be worried about the damp. Wild plants often grow in seasonally wet areas, see http://citesbulbs.myspecies.info/category/galanthus-wild-species/galanthus-nivalis

What sorts of galanthus would you avoid?
Personally none of them! Try anything once (or actually up to three times) being a good mantra to live to...

Can you recommend any particular varieties please?

Pre-Christmas flowering
Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp. reginae-olgae ‘Tilebarn Jamie’ - a superb autumn-flowering snowdrop, usually in flower from late September through October here.

Galanthus elwesii ‘Peter Gatehouse’ – October to November

Main season
G. plicatus 'Percy Picton' - A very robust good garden plant. Taller cultivar with long hanging pedicels so the flowers dance in the breeze in the manner of ‘Magnet’.

G. ‘Trumps'- one of the ‘Trym-like’ snowdrops with clear green markings on the outer segments. It is very vigorous and builds up successfully.

G. 'Primrose Warburg' - flowers have clear yellow markings.  With me a better, more vigorous plant than ‘Wendy’s Gold’. (If you really want big and have money to spend then I’d say ‘Treasure Island’ is currently the best big yellow)

Late
G. elwesii 'David Shackleton' - A particularly good, late-flowering selection. Pale olive-green marking on the inner segments with the basal mark fainter than apical one. Pale coloured upright foliage and vigorous plants.

Gail Harland
Norfolk, England

Michelle Swann

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2021, 12:38:11 PM »
Hi Gail,

Thank you so much for your lovely response, it gave so much detail and stopped me worrying so much about having to dig in masses of grit into the soil for Galanthus.

I fell in love with Galanthus last year after looking at them on a Facebook site dedicated ot them.  I really love the big petalled variety, so I bought G.diggory and spent ages just admiring it.  I also bought G.trumps because of its little outward petal flick and the splashes of green.  I bought G.Merlin as one of my dogs is called Merlin and G. Percy Picton as it seemed like sturdy chap.  I love the Plicatus group (excuse spellling) as they seem like sturdy plants and like you say the flowers seem to float above the foliage.  I bought all the above from Edrom and along with
G.Starling that my husband bought for me, they all live in a raise bed near my bedroom window, so I can admire them when I am not very well.  The rest are random unnamed ones that I got in packs or just picked up - I don't have many though.  I was determined not to go Galanthus crazy, I always said I would admire them from afar, but they just creep up on you.

I will look out for all the ones you mentioned as I never thought of extending the season like you planned in your message. 

I also plan on growing Cypripedium and Trilliums.  I have planned where my stepping stones are going to go so I can reach everything and then I can improve the ground for the Cypripediums.  I got some from Hayloft, but they were really disappointing imatuer plants - this was not mentioned on their site and all I received yesterday was the tiniest of little shoots.  I am after my money back or preferably a flowering sized plant like they advertised on their pictures - all it said was a 9cm pot, so I presumed it would be one or two mature shoots, but apparently not.

Thank you once again, you have been so helpful and I appreciate all the time you spent in your response.

Michelle x
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 02:22:05 PM by Maggi Young »

Alan_b

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2021, 06:48:10 PM »
I grow and like all the snowdrops Gail mentioned except 'David Shackleton' (which I'm sure is just an oversight).  If you grow early season snowdrops be warned that they appear at a time when slugs and snails are liable to still be active and you may need to take preventative measures.

An iconic snowdrop that just about fits your budget is 'Diggory' with its seersucker petals and lamp-like flower shape.  It has taken me four attempts and and a house move to get it to not up and die on me but I am hopeful now and it does not have a reputation for being at all difficult (so it must be me). If you look through all the old topics in the Galanthus section here you will find one (or two?) specifically on snowdrops with large flowers.

There are very few snowdrops I would not wish to grow but I will avoid alpinus bortkewitschianus because I found it reluctant to flower (before it died on me).  There is also a bad (sparsely-flowering) form of lagodechianus in circulation (probably because no one wants to keep it).

In my old garden I had some small rectangular beds that I used to cover with a very fine mesh net in summer to protect the snowdrops from insect pests.  An old veg. patch might lend itself to similar measures, particularly if you get past the £20 level. 

Almost in Scotland.

Michelle Swann

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 09:03:55 AM »
Hi Alan,

Thanks for your reply.

I bought G.diggory last year and he is has been spoilt a little bit - he is in a raised be with my other 'prized' snowdrops, in other words those of between £15-£25.  I changed a lot of the top soil and added some more loam compost, grit and some sand to improve the drainage.  I can see them from my bedroom window.  My G.Diggory leaves are still dying back slowly, so I hope that is a good sign that the leaves are still ok.  I have treated with a dilute tomato food, but I am hoping all the extra goodies I put into the soil when I planted will have helped.  I am after G.Pricilla Bacon and G.Mr Blobby for Christmas this year, they have those really big petals that I love so much.  I am sure I will find many more before then to add to my hit list, I have added those that Gail mentioned to my want list. 

I hate winter, I really do, my joints hurt and I really hate the cold, so I was trying to think of a plant to brighten up my gloomy winter days and I thought of snowdrops as they are small and won't take up much room, so with my small garden I can have more plants to admire on our UK damp, dismal and gloomy days.  I can see G.Diggory from my bedroom window so it will be nice to open the curtains and see him each morning.

Thanks again.


Michelle xx

Tim Harberd

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2021, 02:23:45 PM »
Hi Michelle,
    I'm also a fan of 'big petals'.
    There was a thread called 'Big Drops' back in 2019 you might like to read.
    There was also a thread in 2017 which had some lists of big flowers it was called 'big large Enormous Huge Giant 2017'

    Apart from that, if I had to grow only one drop it would be Mrs Macnamara.

Tim DH
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 09:21:38 PM by Tim Harberd »

Michelle Swann

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Re: Galanthus soil and which plants to avoid in a garden situation.
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2021, 08:46:40 AM »
Hi Tim.

Thank you for your reply and your recommendation - what a lovely drop that is too.

Whilst looking for  Mrs Macnamara, I found another interesting drop that looks interesting G. Moortown Mighty, that looks like a small drop with big, big flowers, but it looks out of my price range.

There are so many to choose from.  I examined the ground where I was going to plant the snowdrops, but it is too wet so I have been hand trowling in bags of grit and compost to improve the drainage.  I know that drops like moisture, but this was to wet.

The more expensive drops I have seem to be very happy in the raised bed that I have, I had some garden centre drops in there and they were thriving, so I was pretty secure in the knowledge that the snowdrops liked it there.  We shall see, I will experiment with a couple of cheaper drops first to see how they get on before planting the more expensive chaps.

Thanks again, I have added it to my list.
Michelle xx

 


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