greentapestry : Portrait Of A Snowdrop - 'John Gray'

Saturday 26 January 2013

Portrait Of A Snowdrop - 'John Gray'

My small collection of named special snowdrops has enjoyed relatively balmy conditions during this cold snap.  Not only have I moved all the pots undercover in anticipation of the rumoured coldest winter for hundred years, himself also treated me to a heater for the greenhouse. This means fingers crossed that there should be no danger of any plants freezing in the greenhouse during the colder months.

There is much discussion about the whys and wherefores of growing snowdrops in pots. I have grown them this way for several years and have found that there are advantages. It allows you to enjoy the flowers at close quarters, to breath in their scent and also to take photos of them without having to squat or lie down, which I can no longer do so easily. Pot culture also thwarts the squirrels and other creatures who might fancy a tasty nibble, although having said that I don't think that snowdrops feature high up on their favourite bulb snacks. On the minus side though is what long periods of sustained below freezing temperatures can do to bulbs grown in pots and I think that this was a factor behind some of my losses a couple of years ago or so. I wrote about that sad state of affairs here but am pleased to say that since then I've been able to replace some of my losses. I originally thought that that I had lost 'John Gray' so purchased a replacement. Maybe the shock of replacing him spurred him back into growth the following year as I now have two pots which are clumping up nicely. It is one of my favourite snowdrops flowering in January. The long term plan now for him and any other duplicate snowdrops is to split them between pots and the ground. I think that I make a start on this when the bulbs are dormant later on in the year.

As to this year I was anticipating some losses after months and months of rain but I've been pleasantly surprised. The first bulbs opened before Christmas and there are others now either open, about to open or to follow soon in February. In the last couple of days I've been making use of the extra light - a combination of sunshine (today) and the reflection of snow, to take a few photos. I have been experimenting by using black card which has been placed behind the snowdrops. It proved hard to prop up between the slats in the staging - my request for help was turned down by himself in favour of watching an FA Cup fixture on the television. Couldn't quite understand why but there you go. I'm still not satisfied with the results but intend to practise further over the coming month as more of the flowers open. More to come on snowdrops soon.


  1. I saw John Gray today at Ashwood Nurseries and took a photo, it was one of the few in flower but my photo isnt as elegant as yours.
    I would really recommend you go to one of the garden lectures at Ashwoods on hellebores or snowdrops, you would love it. John Massey is a fabulous speaker and then in the afternoon we had a personal tour of his garden - all for £12.50
    I learnt so much and not just about hellebores

  2. I remember you posting about your snowdrop losses, how lovely that some have re-appeared. I like the black card, I think it is really effective - look forward to seeing more. As to the FA cup, I am in a major sulk after our humiliating exit today.

  3. Some snowdrops have such subtle differences that you'd miss them if you couldn't see at close quarters, so another reason to grow in pots. Glad to hear that your losses weren't quite as bad as you thought at first, and also that you're managing to replace some of those which you did lose.

  4. Snowdrops are my favourite flower. Your John Grey is beautiful. I look forward to seeing more photos of them.

  5. Love the photo. FA Cup match *tuts*. I haven't got any snowdrops in pots but I am trying a few small bulbs this year in pots. I never really like crocus in the garden because the first heavy rain shower or hail and they are decimated so I thought I'd give them a go in pots and once the flower buds are appearing I'm going to bring them from the greenhouse into the house. I agree about being able to get up close to them and appreciate them. I might give snowdrops in pots a try now.


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