Picture of Snowdrops (Galanthophiles)

Eleanor Clarke


Be Inspired by Snowdrops

Snowdrop fans have their very own name: they’re galanthophiles, from the Latin for snowdrop, Galanthus. Some people are seriously obsessed and pay crazy sums to get hold of rare species. The current record is £1,850, paid on eBay for just one bulb of Galanthus plicatus ‘Golden Tears’. 


We get it: they’re so cheerful when everything else is dreary – the first bulbs of the year to pop up, whatever the weather, all elegant in pure white and cool, fresh green. The whole galanthophilia thing started in the late 19th century, when Victorian eccentrics would track down snowdrops with the tiniest variation in pattern and colour for their collections. Soon the lovely little snowdrop had cult status.


If you want to plant some at home, they’re best bought ‘in the green’, rather than as dry, foliage-free bulbs. If you have the space, get plenty (most snowdrops are much less pricey than ‘Golden Tears’) and plant them in lush drifts around deciduous trees (they’re woodland natives so happiest in dappled shade). They’ll come back year after year. Or try naturalising snowdrops in a lawn: choose a spot where the grass isn’t too dense and they should thrive. They’ll be just fine in a pot too, teamed with some variegated ivy to echo the green and white, or cheery winter heathers for a colourful vibe. Wherever you plant them, give them a good watering to settle them in. 


Weekend Wanderings

There’s an epic Snowdrop Walk at Kew Gardens in Richmond, or head over the river to Chelsea Physic Garden to see their impressive collection. A bit further afield, near Sevenoaks in Kent, the trails around the grounds of Ightham Mote are perfect for a spot of galanthophilia.

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