It may be snowing but spring is on its way...
And the snowdrops are already fighting through.
What a winter we’ve had so far. Kew has been looking utterly magical this past fortnight with all the snow that has fallen. I love heading out for a walk at lunchtimes, crunching through the untainted snow and perhaps taking a trip to the Davies Alpine House where beautiful gem-like alpines are putting on a show despite the weather. Their sheer resilience always cheers me up!
The snowdrops are always worth looking forward to on the Rock Garden as well, and should all start flowering soon. Despite this recent cold snap, studies at Kew on the flowering times of plants have shown that they are bursting bud earlier as the years pass. Some spring-flowering plants are around two weeks earlier than they were a couple of decades ago.
Snowdrops are those hardy harbingers of spring that are a delight to behold. I was amazed to hear just how many snowdrops are actually farmed and harvested in Europe for the horticultural trade – Georgia harvests 15 million bulbs of Galanthus woronowii every year. Richard Wilford, manager of the hardy collections at Kew (which includes the Rock Garden) recently travelled to Georgia to help with surveys of the populations of this species in the wild, and on farms, in order to help advise on the official trade of this beautiful, delicate-looking alpine. Richard recounts his travels in the winter issue of Kew magazine, which is on sale until 3 March.
You’ll be able to see Galanthus woronowii on the Rock Garden in several locations come February, as well as many other snowdrop species. At Kew's sister garden, Wakehurst, there is a beautiful mass planting of G.nivalis near the visitor centre that is definitely worth visiting. I’ve added a picture here of G. elwesii in the snow that I took on 13 January.
- You can read more about Galanthus elwesii on our Kew Today page by clicking here.
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- Christina -