Monday 27 February 2012: Flore Pleno
I had an upset stomach this morning, so decided to have a fairly quiet day at home, which enabled me to do some more key-wording of my photographs and fill some holes in the kitchen walls. Ben and I finished off learning about the nervous system and then made rhubarb and custard cup-cakes. Alex had seen the recipe in a magazine and fancied trying them. They were quite delicious but very fiddly - I'm not sure I can be bothered to make them again!!
So this is another emergency blip, plucked from the garden just before 6pm, still sprinkled with raindrops. Normally I don't particularly like double flowers, but the common double snowdrop Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Flore Pleno' is one of the exceptions and has a certain cottage garden charm.
It has been known since at least 1703, when it was illustrated in The Duchess of Beaufort's Book. It spread (and was spread) rapidly through northern Europe (by vegetative means, as it sets no seed). With 3-5 outer segments and 12-21 inners, which are often misshapen, the flowers may be less attractive to the eye of the purist than single-flowered cultivars, but they are good value in the garden as the bulbs spread rapidly and the large flowers show up well. Its ballerina's tutu is best appreciated from below!
Our plants were purchased from Anglesey Abbey five years ago. This National Trust property has one of the best collections of snowdrops in the country (and some rather beautiful hellebores too). This year, thanks to the cold and snowy weather we've been experiencing, the flowers are expected to remain looking lovely for longer and their annual snowdrop festival has been extended until 4th March. Well worth a visit if you're within easy driving distance!