The snowdrop (Galanthus) is one of my favorite flowers.
They are so delicate and so pretty as they emerge in the cold and dark days of winter. They serve as a little reminder that the days are slowly getting longer again and that winters don’t last forever…..
Each flower has three teardrop-shaped outer petals and three smaller inner petals of the whitest white, often with a little green tip. Some varieties, such as Atkinsii, have a lovely delicate scent.
Galanthus comes in a huge amount of variants.
Double flowered varieties, green striped varieties or totally green snowdrops have all been culitvated by growers and enthusiasts and some species are incredibly rare; so rare that there seems to be a bit of a bulb mania going on at the moment!
Foue hundred years ago tulip bulbs were changing hands for outrageously inflated prices in what was the first speculative investment bubble in Europe. Now it seems to be happening again with individual bulbs of rare Galanthus varieties. £250 was paid for a single Galanthus bulb in 2008, £350 in 2011, £725 in 2012 and a whopping £1625 in 2014!
Nurseries are working hard to develop techniques for quickly propagating snowdrops in large quantities so prices should fall and the bulbmania bubble may burst again. But you never know, Thompson & Morgan paid £725 for one bulb of the Elizabeth Harrison variety. A very rare variety with white flowers and yellow markings. Two years later they still only have one bulb…….