A sure sign that the year has turned and early indicator that spring is on the way, is the blooming of the snowdrop (Galanthus). It is commonly thought of as a native wildflower of the British Isles, but it is widespread across the temperate parts of Europe and indeed is thought to have been introduced to Britain in the sixteenth century.
Galanthus nivalis) and the Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus) the bulbs of which were brought back by soldiers so taken with the flower during the Crimean war. Both varieties flower from mid January until around mid March.
This year has turned and early Spring snowdrops abound. They are very easy to grow and are readily available here in Britain from garden centres or online. Snowdrops are prone to drying out and the bulbs withering so don't wait to long to plant your bulbs when they arrive. It should also be noted that they don't do so well in countries or regions which have dry warm climates. The best time to buy and plant your bulbs is in the Autumn. If you want to split and divide any existing clumps you have, then the best time to do this is in the Spring. Lift the bulbs when the flowers are over and the leaves are just beginning to yellow.
Plant them in a shaded, well drained location to a depth of 8-10cm (approx. 4in) and about the same distance apart. Make sure you don't put them in to deep as they will rot. Over time snowdrops will clump and naturalise by offset. That is to say the mother bulb produces more bulbs attached to it which gradually spread out. Over a number of years these clumps will become dense so you can lift and split the bunches to aid spreading or put them in other parts of your garden.
Winter here in the UK has decided not to leave without one more icy blast and we have had heavy snow. But you can be sure the little snowdrops are hiding under the white blanket ready to make a cheerful appearance as the ice melts. To find places in Britain that have snowdrop gardens open to the public follow this link:See Snowdrops around Britain
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