There is a woman who lives somewhere in Northamptonshire who collects snowdrops. I believe she has many different varieties in her garden. Each year she arrives at the nursery with a selection of snowdrops ‘in the green’ for me. At this time of year I am keen to see all the clumps coming through but some of the characteristics of the named varieties are lost on me. The details of the markings is subtle. Some are clearly different from others but, I’m ashamed to say that my labelling has been a bit unreliable. Some labels faded, (this lady used a felt marker pen, I think a pencil is better) and others simply got lost. Sometimes there is a good label but no snowdrops anywhere near it. Last year, when another 8 or 9 pots full of bulbs were delivered to me, I was also given a photo of each one for help with identification. I carefully noted where the bulbs were planted on the photocopied sheet and felt pleased with myself for being so organised. When the bulbs began to emerge earlier this year I went to find the photos and notes so I could say that that clump was G. Augustus and that one over there was G. Warwickshire Gem. The photos were not where I thought they should be which resulted in a frantic search over the next few days in filing cabinets and piles of paper. When something is ‘lost’ it plays on your mind so I kept shuffling through piles of papers that I had already looked through. A few days later I was looking at a ring-binder and surprise, surprise, they were in it. I had no memory of being so organised. Now, if a knowledgeable galanthophile visits the nursery, I can confidently point to different clumps and say their names.
In general though, I just can’t wait for these to spread around to give a carpet of white all round the garden. I would never pay vast sums of money to have a rare variety but good luck to those who are collectors. And if my local collector has too many each year it would be churlish to refuse them, wouldn’t it?