6 Things: Spring Snowdrops in Bloom


We’re celebrating the first day of spring with a tour through one of our favorite local gardens, Carolyn's Shade Gardens, to get a look at her beautiful snowdrops. Owner Carolyn Walker moved into her Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania estate in the winter of 1983 and was happily surprised to find multiple varieties of snowdrops blooming up through the cold, hard soil. Since then, Carolyn’s interest in these highly prized flowers has blossomed into a full-fledged passion, which she's turned into a thriving business. Now a self-proclaimed galanthophile (snowdrop collector), Carolyn says she appreciates snowdrops precisely because of their unusual bloom time. “They give me a reason to wander the garden in the winter—tending to my snowdrops is the best way to escape the doldrums!”

Most snowdrop varieties bloom from the beginning of October to the beginning of April, with a bulk of them blossoming in February, though this year they’ve made a late showing in March. Carolyn is one of many gardeners around the world with an enthusiasm for snowdrops. In fact, folks have been obsessing over them since the 1700s and interest in these sweet-smelling flowers has only continued to grow, with snowdrop collector conventions, festivals, and galas held every year around the world.

These dainty blooms invite a closer inspection than many flowers and Carolyn encourages everyone to take a moment to really examine each to “appreciate what makes each one beautiful.” Below, you’ll find Carolyn’s personal thoughts on six varieties from her garden we thought were particularly lovely during our visit.

1. ‘Viridapice’: “A readily available and vigorous snowdrop with lovely green tips on the outer petals.”

2. ‘Spindlestone Surprise’: “A desirable yellow snowdrop that multiplies fairly quickly.”

3. ‘Ballerina’: “An elegant and graceful double with tightly packed petals resembling a ballerina’s tutu.”

4. ‘Giant Snowdrop’: “A lovely species of snowdrop that many British soldiers brought back from the Crimean War with wide blue leaves and a variety of markings on the inner petals.”

5. ‘Blewbury Tart’: “Unusual and unruly outward-facing (almost all snowdrops face down) double with inner petals resembling a green tartlet.”

6. ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’: “An elegant, vigorous, and tightly double snowdrop with two tiny marks on the inner petals, so it appears to be completely white. One of my favorites!”

Carolyn's Shade Gardens' next open house is April 6th so be sure to stop by to see what’s blooming!

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