Galanthus 'Green Tear'

Galanthus 'Green Tear' became something of a sensation in recent years for its high price, a theme that has overshadowed a wonderful addition to the snowdrop world. It has perfectly greened outer petals and stunning dark green inner segments. In terms of price it was however "bettered"  by the yellow 'Elizabeth Harrison' (and there are some prohibitively expensive varieties starting the rounds as I write.) I featured the Scottish beauty two years ago and it is a nice snowdrop though not quite so startling in the company of other yellow snowdrops in the garden. By contrast, 'Green Tear' stands out in comparison with any of the similar green tinged varieties, for example with 'Rosemary Burnham'. Were I to have to choose one of the two, I'd not shed a tear. Perhaps surprisingly it has been around for 18 years, discovered by Gert-Jan Van der Kolk near Zutphen in The Netherlands. Here it is in a little sunshine, braving the wind and cold this morning. It's a genuine eye-catcher.

Paradise Garden 1: Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire, Friday June 2nd 2017

The BBC presenter, Monty Don, presented two programmes last week in which he explored different world gardens inspired by the Qur'an. It inspires me to visit gardens in Morocco, Spain and, who knows, Iran. The use of water was particularly enticing. Taking a secular view of "paradise gardens" I considered where mine might be and alighted, first in a short series, on our visit in late spring to that old favourite of ours, the RHS gardens of Harlow Carr. The photographs feature the small pool and the long and exquisitely planted Streamside, perhaps the nearest thing to perfection one could ever imagine in a garden.

 The Harlow Car hybrid primulas (they spell it like that!) are a showy hybridisation of Primula bulleyana, P. beesiana, P. japonica and P. pulverulenta that occurred naturally in the boggy soil some years ago.

 The wisteria, hostas, Matteuccia and maple catch the eye plus the perfect blue of assorted Meconopsis. The gardens hosted the national trials of the latter some years ago and one is in in poppy heaven either side of the stream. There are colours here other than blues.

Four distinctive and inexpensive snowdrops: 'Ivy Cottage Green Tip', 'Augustus', ‘Viridapice’, & 'Natalie Garton'

 The snowdrops are bursting into bloom, the recent milder weather bringing them on nicely. I tend to write about individual varieties but the massed blooms are what brighten up the garden at this stage in winter.

An explosion of snowdrops in the lawn

The pricing of new snowdrop varieties can be deceptive. Galanthus 'Ivy Cottage Green Tip' is a relatively recent variety available at a very reasonable price from several sources, including an excellent UK seller on eBay, and an outlet for one of the big mail order companies. My own bulb is two years old and I now have two flowers so my modest outlay has doubled in value ..... I wish. One can lash out big bucks for snowdrops that are no more spectacular than the little gem adorning our patio table.

Galanthus 'Ivy Cottage Green Tip'

On the subject of inexpensive snowdrops with something special about them here are three others. Galanthus 'Augustus' has a puckered texture to the outer petals and has clumped up slowly and surely over the years. The combination of its very distinctive broad, striped leaves and the rounded, globular petals stands out from the crowd.

Galanthus 'Augustus'

A further green tipped variety just coming into flower in the garden is nivalis ‘Viridapice’, an old variety that has slowly increased all over the garden, intermingled with other varieties. It is a pretty flower.

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’

Galanthus Elwesii 'Natalie Garton' is a semi-double variety flowering earlier in our garden than its description as a late flowering variety suggests. In a border where there are more traditional double varieties 'Natalie Garton' does stand out.

Galanthus Elwesii 'Natalie Garton'

Central Park, New York: The Conservatory Garden, September 2017

New York was a huge surprise. We were charmed and excited by a city full of colour and vitality. I couldn't live there, I doubt, given the pace of the place but there again there were areas of relative tranquility and inviting accommodation. The Conservatory Garden in Central Park was one of the biggest surprises, a slice of  English/French/Italian gardens in the heart of one of the world's great cities. Originally opened in 1937 and based on a design by Gilmore Clarke, the garden was restored in the mid 1980s. The park itself was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

View from Rockefeller Center

Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott

I had to get a skyscraper in

Burnett Fountain by Bessie Potter Vonnoh

Not one of the dancing maidens

Galanthus 'Galatea' & 'Glenchantress'

Galanthus 'Galatea' and 'Glenchantress' are in different price brackets. From one major supplier, the latter is eight times as expensive. 'Galatea' looks for all the world like 'Magnet', though there are differences too small to mention other than the honey scent of 'Magnet' that, as I have often remarked on, is not a reason to buy a snowdrop given opportunities to sniff the air are not so great in January particularly when, as in our case, the Daphne is streaming perfume from heaven. Still, 'Galatea' is a strong grower and a large flower that, were one to plant amongst "ordinary" snowdrops, would stand out from the crowd.

'Glenchantress' is a classy snowdrop with thick, glaucous leaves and a noticeable, if faint, green smudge to the outer leaves. It has good form and stands out well at eye level in a pot on our patio. Both snowdrops have arching pedicels and look good when the biting wind whips over our garden and I am enjoying a hot coffee lounging in my leather recliner in the lounge.

Galanthus "Mr Blobby", "South Hayes" & "Bertha"

Snowdrops are bursting out all over the garden. This morning's rather under-matured trio commences with "Mr Blobby", an appropriate name for a snowdrop devoid of shape and yet possessing its own charm. Last year, I featured the snowdrop more fully opened out but the image below shows how the blob has clumped from a single bulb, offering something distinctive even if only a blob.

"South Hayes" is becoming well known if still expensive. The green markings on the outer petals are a dark stripe extending fully down and very striking. Three bulbs have developed from the original one, each shooting up quite some distance from its siblings.

And finally "Bertha", a more recent cultivar with an altogether softer green spot although there is some similarity to the previous variety. It still has yet to fully open out but I thought it provided a nice perspective on "South Hayes". Its grower, Joe Sharman, terms this flower shape as pterugiform, which doesn't take one very far but do Google it. "Bertha" has an "H" shape on the inner petals so watch this space. Certainly vigorous, it too will be joined by siblings as the weeks pass.

Earliest green tipped snowdrop: Galanthus nivalis ‘Llo‘n’ Green’

Flowering four days earlier this year, and therefore remarkably consistent, is the delicate nivalis ‘Llo‘n’ Green’, discovered in France at Mount Louis in 1999 by Joe Sharman and Dr Alan Leslie. I read there is some variation in green blotches but a comparison with last year reveals that same consistency.

They look pretty adjacent to my eyes. Identical. The same number of flowers too although there is certainly more leaf and therefore promise for next year. It's a lovely thing, remarked on this very afternoon by friends with a discerning eye. They'd read the post about giving away snowdrops as presents. Addendum: I gave them some 'S. Arnott'.

Prolific Galanthus "Godfrey Owen" and a break in the winter gloom

How can something so lovely as this be so fertile? Galanthus "Godfrey Owen" is delectable and I have posted about it before. My original bulbs have increased so well they provide a lovely present. My brother in law keeps me posted on just how well his is doing. I'll convert him to the ranks of the galanthophiles yet.

 And it is difficult to miss the witch hazels. They are a fine sight from our front room and, as here, in close-up. Their scent may be faint in the cold air though no less precious for that.

Clematis "Winter Beauty" is clambering over the trees. I cut it down two years ago and it threw a sulk. It seems to have recovered its confidence.

 One of a number of snowdrops making their presence felt, "Haydn" is an early one and forming a little clump for next year.

 My aconites need sun and today was bright with the buds nearing readiness. I've seen some out in very sunny, warm areas. This darling is in the sink garden that fails to get much of a tan in winter.

But the cyclamens are showing even here.

 I am a very big fan of the star flowers. Ipheion uniflorum 'Charlotte Bishop' has been in flower since the autumn.

Then there's that excitement as some of last year's acquisitions promise snowdrop heaven. Galanthus 'Bertha' was obtained from Joe Sharman and named after his dog. I'll feature it as it unfurls.

Early Snowdrops: Galanthus 'Epiphany', Galanthus 'Fly Fishing' & Galanthus 'Magnet'

The trouble with a winter garden occurs when, despite the jab, one contracts flu. Today I ventured out. Galanthus 'Epiphany' was new last year and, as is the way, I now have three blooms and they have been in bloom for a couple of weeks, certainly in time to mark its name. A small neat flower, I'll put it in the open ground for next year.

Galanthus 'Fly Fishing' is another early bloomer. I now have several and with their long pedicels they exemplify the name rather better than some varieties. I'm told that it can develop a green tip on the outer petals, and there is just the suggestion of green flushing the outer petals albeit I noted it more clearly when looking at it in the flesh. Nothing to get excited about as I have some green varieties developing apace.  This however is a lovely early snowdrop.

Galanthus 'Magnet' is a genuinely handsome snowdrop. It has clumped up all over the garden, been in flower for weeks, and outperforms many of the newer breeds for considerably less money. The flower is held on long pedicels, storms through the bad weather, is reliable, increases well and has a decent large flower.

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'