Louis Raymond experiments in his own gardens like

a mad scientist, searching out plants that most people have

never seen before & figuring out how to make them perform.- The Boston Globe

…Louis Raymond ensures that trees can grow in Brooklyn…

or just about any other place where concrete consumes

the dirt and skyscrapers shield the sunshine.- USA Today


NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


Plant Profiles

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Sam Arnott' Snowdrop

Snowdrops, finally. This year's tenacious Winter snow kept them at bay for a couple of weeks beyond their usual mid-March debut.


Galanthus S. Arnott w fingers 040115 640


This is 'Sam Arnott', whose flower stems can be tall in snowdrop terms: nearly a foot. The flowers are larger than those of the straight species, Galanthus nivalis. But still, those are my fingertips in the photo, and to position them beneath the flower, I needed to be on my knees and my elbows. 


Even a tall snowdrop is tiny when you're 6'3". At the end of a bitter Winter, kneeling in still-slushy ground is fine. I'm that grateful for Spring. Even so, taking photographs while on all fours and extending the fingers of one hand while handling the camera with just the fingers of the other is difficult enough to merit a yoga-pose name: Kow-tow to Spring? Dangling Delight? After getting into position, finding an acceptable combination of lighting and background, and not dropping the camera into a nearby wet patch—well, it's not the time to worry about orientation. If the camera is tilted twenty degrees or so because that's the only way to keep everything else in line for the few seconds I can hold Dangling Delight, that will have to be just fine.


Galanthus S. Arnott closer 040115 640


Flowers of Galanthus nivalis 'Sam Arnott' are not eccentric. Petals of other cultivars have more complex green markings or unusual shapes. Or—the holy grail, believe it or not—the little green cap from with the petals dangle (known as the ovary) is yellow. A recently discovered yellow form sold for many hundreds of dollars a bulb. It seems a bargain to be able to purchase bulbs of one of the classic yellows, 'Wendy's Gold', for just $70 to $80 per bulb. At that price, I'll buy one. A single bulb, just inches high, potted and in flower, for $70 to $80: Snowdrops induce disorientation that's financial, not just physical. 


In the picture below, the entirety of my colony of 'Sam Arnott' after two full years in the ground. It's bulking up more slowly than I'd prefer; this year I'll begin watering its location in Summer—yes, when the colony is fully dormant and entirely below ground. Snowdrops require decent drainage, but don't appreciate drought even when dormant.


Galanthus S. Arnott overall 040115 640


The pictures of clumps as wide as tea trays and as tall as couch pillows—and crowded with scores of flowers—are a taunt of near pornographic intensity. They are often in gardens in Scotland or Wales, where it's likely to rain every day and the temperatures rarely reach even the 80s F. Of course, their snowdrops never dry out in August.


As I say, an interest in snowdrops is highly disorienting: practicing Dangling Delight, spending a shocking amount of money, and watering bare ground July through September. Before I spring for 'Wendy's Gold', I'd better have my snowdrop regime solid. 'Sam Arnott' is just the galanthus to practice with.



Here's how to grow these hardy and oh-so-early bulbs, plus the pictorial profile of my Galanthus collection (three cultivars so far, with dozens more must-haves) in their first Spring.

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