The curtain-raiser for the gardening year – small white flowers hanging on 6 in. stems from January onwards. The flowering date depends on the locality and the weather – a time always welcomed as the sign that spring will soon be on its way. Although known to everyone, Snowdrops are sometimes confused with Snowflakes. In the Snowdrop flower there are three inner green-tipped petals surrounded by three longer outer ones which are all-white.

VARIETIES: The Common Snowdrop is G. nivalis. The 1 in. flowers are single – the best variety is the tall’S. Arnott’ (10 in.) which bears larger flowers than the species. There is a double form (’Flore Pleno’) with globular flowers. The Giant Snowdrop (G. elwesii) is no larger than G. nivalis ‘S. Arnott’.

PLANT DETAILS: Planting time September-October. Planting depth 4 in.

Spacing: 3 in. Height 5 in. (G. nivalis), 10 in. (G. elwesii).

Flowering period: January-March.

PROPAGATION: Divide mature clumps immediately after flowering – replant at once.

SITE& SOIL: Moist soil and light shade are required.

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