A Galanthus Gala and (some more) Winter Denial

This Saturday Downington Pa became the horticultural ground zero for Mid Atlantic snowdrop lovers.  For those who never get out of the house, David Culp is author of ‘The Layered Garden’ and breeder of the Brandywine strain of hellebores (as well as many other accomplishments… which a better blogger would probably research and list…) and this weekend he and several friends hosted a snowdrop party with talks and vendors and an (almost complete) list of who’s who of snowdrop lovers for the area.  Again a better blogger would have photos and lists of all the snowdrops and other goodies for sale on this special day, but I was too distracted, and I’d suggest a visit to facebook and a quick search for snowdrop gala or David Culp and you should be able to get a good feel for it.  My attention was held by the plants and people, and if you’re interested here’s what passed through the vetting process and came home with me 🙂

hellebore pennys pink

Gifts, trades, and purchases.  Of course there were four new snowdrops mixed in there… apologies for that cold, ugly white background…

I’m a little concerned by how many people I knew and just how friendly they all were.  This must be how people are convinced to join cults and by the looks of it I’m already drinking the punch!  Treasures were exchanged and I even pried open the wallet for a few more treats.  To my credit I resisted the hellebore rush, and as David Culp’s Brandywine hybrids flew off the sales table I limited myself to a single ‘Penny’s Pink’, one which I’ve been eyeing for at least a couple years.

hellebore pennys pink

Hopefully ‘Penny’s Pink’ will prove hardy for me.  The flowers are nice enough but it’s this foliage which won me over.

I’m already planning on attending next year’s gala.  Four hours flew by almost as fast as plants were flying out of the building, and before I wanted it to happen I was back in the car trying to beat the weather on my drive home.  Hopefully next year there won’t be a snow dump in the week prior and hopefully we can fit in a gala garden visit or two as well!

primula silver dollar

Back home, indoors is where you have to be in order to find anything not buried by snow.  Here’s my favorite primrose so far, a red from the Silver Dollar strain of Barnhaven seeds, and I love the large velvety flowers and their subtle color shading. 

I may have to clear a little room under the lights while my new goodies wait for the last foot or two of snow to melt.  Right now the light table is packed with semi-hardy things waiting to go outside, seedlings starting to take up more room, and other odds and ends which just needed a home.

growing under lights

A few more primula (pretty enough but maybe just a bit boring), plus some generic forced bulbs… all of which are priceless when there’s nothing outside but white. 

The amaryllis are starting to come to life as well.  The first one, hippeastrum ‘Lemon Sorbet’ has a nice pale yellow which leans more towards lime.  The plant is considered a mini which means smaller flowers and a ridiculously small bulb, but still a full blooming height.  I’m pretty sure a shorter plant would be more convenient, but I guess cut flowers are more valuable than a short dining table amaryllis.

amaryllis lemon sorbet

Amaryllis ‘lemon sorbet’ and one last flower on the tulips.  I’m still in shock that these have been allowed onto the new table, but they do look nice there.

So tomorrow is Monday and the kids head off to school again for the first time in six days.  Snow is still in the process of melting but I don’t think much of it will be gone in the two days left until official spring arrives.  We’ll see what happens.  You can feel the strength in the sunshine and it’s just a matter of time now before the tide turns!


7 comments on “A Galanthus Gala and (some more) Winter Denial

  1. Pauline says:

    There’s nothing quite like a bit of retail therapy, especially while there is snow on the ground, I do hope it goes soon for you. Your indoor garden is looking very good under their lights, the flowers give you a welcome splash of colour while everywhere outside is white.

  2. Christina says:

    You were very restrained, I love the Hellebore leaves, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any so marbled.

  3. Linda B. says:

    Lucky you! I have thought about getting H. Penny’s Pink for the same reason. Most of my Hellebores really fade into the background with their foliage once they are done blooming. I heard David Culp speak about the winter garden years ago at a Horticulture Magazine Symposium. One of the best winter talks I’ve ever heard. He will be in Madison next month for a garden symposium and I am really looking forward to it. But I would love to do a Galanthus visit. Too much fun!

  4. You’ve almost talked me into going next year. The plants you traded must have come from the indoor garden.

  5. Harold J Cross says:

    Frank; Well written and a nice photo display. This OLE farmer would just have said that a lot of people showed up to buy some nice unusual plants. See you next time. Thanks for the gift…. Harold

  6. Tim Calkins says:

    Glad to have meet you! Looking forward to hearing about and seeing your gardening year — and how you use that variegated comfrey.

  7. Cathy says:

    I think I would have fallen for that hellebore foliage too, as well as the pretty flower. It’s unusual to see such a bright yellow Hippeastrum – I like it! My last red Hippeastrum bud is trying to open today. Hope your snow melts a bit quicker so you can get some of your treasures planted safely. 🙂

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