greentapestry : When Sir Cedric and Lady B Came Calling

Thursday 25 February 2010

When Sir Cedric and Lady B Came Calling

I have not had the bone china tea service out for them or fed them wafer thin cucumber, crusts cut off sandwiches. No there's no standing on ceremony here as Cedric and Lady B are both standing out in the garden tonight. During the last few days the postie has delivered two more named snowdrops to add to my small but growing collection. Both these 'drops are relatively easy to grow. I already have 'Lady B' but a few snowdrops in my collection are suffering from that dreadful disease of lost labellus. I am trying to get some order in the chaos and this time I will be more organised with my labelling, so I can be sure that it's definitely her rather than probably her.

Galanthus 'Cedric's Prolific' was given to Beth Chatto by her great friend and mentor Sir Cedric Morris. He was a Welsh artist and eminent plantsman, who from 1940 until his death in 1982, ran the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing from his house Benton End in Suffolk. His work as a horticulturalist resulted in a number of plants being names after him including dianthus 'Cedric's Oldest', the Benton series of irises, narcissus minor 'Cedric Morris', papaver orientale 'Cedric Morris' and rosa 'Sir Cedric Morris'. He gave Beth Chatto many plants. One form of galanthus elwesii in particular was distinct and vigorous enough to warrant her naming it as galanthus elwesii 'Cedric's Prolific'. It lives up to its name by increasing rapidly. My Cedrics have come directly from Beth Chatto's nursery.

'Lady Beatrix Stanley' is an early flowering double snowdrop from the garden of Lady Beatrix Stanley at Sibbertoft Manor near Market Harborough. As well as growing snowdrops she grew other bulbous plants. She is also remembered by iris histrioides 'Lady Beatrix Stanley' ~

Any tips on photographing snowdrops would be most welcome as most of my efforts result either in blurry blobs or the whiteness looks much too harsh.


  1. Most amusing lost labellus. I am in awe of your attention to detail keeping them all named, I find it hard enough with clematis and roses but don't even try with daintier plants. not that I have any names on my small number of snowdrops all bought from the market over the years.

  2. Lost labelus is a terrible affliction. I know it well.

    I envy you ordering direct from Beth Chatto's nursery.

    You'll have to head up to Cambo in Scotland, enormous snowdrop collection. One day, one day.....

  3. I like your lost labellus quote too! Anna up until this year I had never even thought of starting a collection of snowdrops - but now that I am taking macro photos I've become much more aware of all their differences in detail.

    Snow is shocking just a few miles from here - can't get any further north than here and and all the snowgates are closed.

  4. Anna:
    I just finished reading a wonderful essay on Sir Cedric by Beth herself in Hortus Revisited, and now I have the pleasure of meeting some of their offspring! LOL! Indeed, how envious I am that you can order from Beth's famed nursery! A wonderful further education on the splendid genus Galanthus. I simply must create a spot to try more.

  5. Anna, Thanks for the information. But it's the story that makes the information hopefully stick!

    Lost Labellus is a new term for me, but not a new condition, that's for sure!

    One idea for photographing is to somehow get "under it" or "on level with it" with a neutral background. A macro setting too would be good for such a small, precious subject.

  6. Envy abounds, and pride of your efforts to keep track of who is whom. As for photos, like was said before, get underneath and use the macro. You might just stick the camera under there and hope for the best, take a whole lot of shots. That is what I do. :-)

  7. So snowdrops will even come with double blooms?? What a sweet little plant!

    ps. I too suffer from the dread lost labellus in my garden... :)

  8. Interesting story on Cedric plants!

    Regarding photography, either try macro, or try manual focus to avoid blurry pics. Also tripod would help as sometimes is difficult not to move hands when taking a picture.
    Regarding "burned" white - you just need to play with different options on your camera, I usually change shutter speed or aperture size... the more you play with it, more you learn. Try to take a pic of snowdrops from a frog perspective…

  9. Dear Anna, I have so enjoyed reading this amusing yet informative posting. Clearly the snowdrops in your garden come from a very good provenance and stock. Galanthus 'Cedric's Prolific' sounds ideal - a 'must have', in fact, for any snowdrop collection as building up numbers does take time and patience.

  10. An interesting post, Anna. I have very few snowdrops in my garden, but must add to them, they look so fragile and dainty.

  11. Anna, I love your snowdrops and appreciate the difficulty of photographing them. I suffer from labellus if I don't lose them, the ink fades! Thank you for leaving a comment on my guest post about snowdrops at Tulips in the Wood. A flower we both love but grow in different ways.

    Best wishes Sylvia

  12. What a lovely collection of snowdrops you are putting together Anna, the names are delightful.
    It was very interesting reading about Sir Cedric, being Suffolk-based myself. Kudos for ordering direct from Beth Chatto - her garden is one of my absolute favourites.

    Jeanne x

  13. Anna, you are just toying with me now, how much more can I envy you for having such a wonderful collection.
    If I can't see it in real life, thank you, thank you for posting the pictures!!!!

  14. Some fantastic botanical names for plants - these are great - you're right about taking photos of them - it's really not easy at all! Have a fun weekend - Miranda

  15. Hi Anna - I've been catching up on your posts at long last. Did you get that buddleia chopped down? I've found that same fungus on one or two of my plants this year :(

    I also suffer badly from lost labellus! Made me chuckle that did! :)

  16. Hi Anna~~ The credit will be yours, of course but I must please borrow the Lost labellus lingo since it is a prolific pathogen in my experience, especially with the heuchera clan. After awhile they all start to look the same so even if the label is accounted for I don't know which plant is the owner of it. I'm dizzy.

    Thank you for an interesting [if not envious] post! I love reading about the origins of the plants we have. It's kind of like teaching our children that produce doesn't just come from the supermarket but from the ground. It's good to know where our plants' original haunts and how they landed in my little corner of the world.

    As for hints on taking photos of Galanthus, all I can say is that, in my opinion, the best ones are taken when you're on your belly.:)

  17. I don't have many ambitions . . . I just sort of bumble on . . . but I've just developed one which I think I really mind about - I'd like a snowdrop named after me! Can you imagine how proud one would feel?

    I have a little pot of snowdrops in the middle of our kitchen table. I don't know what they are, I bought them already in flower and they were just called 'Snowdrops'. They are lovely.


  18. I don't know if it helps with your camera but, with mine, I've discovered the detail on whites shows up better if you set the white balance to the setting you would use with a flash - then don't use the flash.


  19. Snowdrops are just the sweetest little things... I have to remember to move mine this year, after they bloom, to somewhere closer to the house so I can see them better. I think I'll also get a few more types. Truly a welcome sign of spring!

  20. I do enjoy reading the stories behine cultivars. Lovely snowdrops - I daren't start collecting them as I may start to become obsessive about them, and they're not cheap!

  21. Tips on photographing snowdrops?
    Experimenting with different combinations of diafragma and shutter-speed:
    A large diafragma (low number, like 4.5 or less) gives shallow depth of field and thus) a blurred background (allthough with a compact camera the DOF is never really shallow, as the CCD is smaller in such a camera than in a DSLR)

  22. Anna - I just do supermacro and I'm not sure if you saw my post yesterday - I got down on my tummy to get a bees eye view of the snowdrop - they are so pretty underneath.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.