I am not wavering nor is my immunity to this particular obsession wearing thin and I’m certainly not sitting on the fence. There are 20 or more species of Galanthus and I’m happy to grow a few more in addition to nivalis. Some of the cultivars are quite distinctive and attractive, but why are there so many which are virtually indistinguishable one from the other? Do we need over 1000 cultivars? I am so cynical that all I can smell is filthy lucre? With single bulbs being sold for £100s (or even a reported $2,500) we’ve not yet quite reached the lunacy of the Semper Augustus of the 17th century tulipomania. Obsession becomes dangerous when common sense leaves the room and greed move in.
There is nothing wrong in having a passion for a plant family or genus and growing a large number of species or varieties, the problem begins when they become commodities. As the desire to have more and to possess the rarities grows, there is always a danger that original motivation for growing a certain type of plant becomes diminished. I am not claiming the moral high ground, I am just saddened that something as delicate and simple as a snowdrop has become commercialised.
I have enjoyed reading all the recent posts about snowdrops and had great pleasure in looking at the photographs. There are some who admit to a weakness for snowdrops and who are building small collections, but this appears to be an enthusiastic susceptibility rather than full blown galanthomania. What has left me feeling uneasy are the accounts of high security and crowd management at some of the gardens known for their displays of snowdrops.
I adore snowdrops and it is the one flower I always look for in the garden in February. I definitely do not have the right conditions in my garden for growing snowdrops, although I persist in my attempts to try to establish something a little more extensive than a very small clump of G. nivalis. I am thinking about replacing some of the species which I grew in my last garden, although they will have to spend a little time undercover each year so that I can appreciate the flowers. The Head Gardener recently issued a challenge on the forum of the Scottish Rock Garden Club for the members to put together a list of 12 species/distinctive cultivars which we could grow here – albeit with some help from the greenhouse. So although I’ll never be a true galanthophile, I’d appreciate your suggestions for species/cultivars which we might grow.