So, for those cold climate gardeners who haven’t kept records, and for those who have, but are interested in comparing notes, here are the dates of first bloom in Purdyville:
1992 April 14 Dutch crocus
1993 April 8 Dutch crocus
1994 April 5 Dutch crocus
1995 March 15 species crocus (snowdrops on March 16th)
1996 March 25 snowdrops
1997 March 27 snowdrops
1998 March 26 snowdrops
1999 March 17 snowdrops
2000 March 16 snowdrops
2001 March 23 snowdrops
2002 February 25 snowdrops
2003 March 19 crocus
2004 waiting . . . waiting . . .
There are two places where snowdrops show up early around here. One place is right by what we think of as the front door, but is actually the side door. There is a concrete pad leading up to concrete steps, and on the western side of the pad I planted some ‘Sam Arnott’ snowdrops. Since that area faces south, it is melting fairly rapidly. Since it is an area where snow shovelled from the driveway gets piled, there is a lot of snow that needs melting. However, right where the concrete and the flower bed meet, right at the very edge, you can see soil. Frozen soil, I grant you, but soil nonetheless.
The other place where snowdrops bloom early is in the Secret Garden. Currently there is still eleven inches of snow over these snowdrops (yes, I went out with a yardstick and measured) but they have actually bloomed ahead of ‘Sam Arnott’ many years. I believe this is because there is a higher water table in the Secret Garden and groundwater percolates under these snowdrops, effectively thawing the soil even before all the snow melts off them. Often they are well up by the time the snow is gone, and the two patches of snowdrops are often neck-and-neck in the race for first bloom.
I have other snowdrops as well, but they are in places that never lose their snowcover as soon as these others I’ve mentioned. Just as in real estate, location-location-location is the crucial detail. If you don’t yet have snowdrops, look around your property as this winter wanes and see where the snow melts first. That’s where you want to plant your snowdrops.