Caption: Dalefoot on the left, John Innes on the right
Caption: Pauline, Simon, Margaret and David
Winter is truly upon us at Dalefoot, and with frosty mornings and the first sign of snow this weekend there is little else for gardeners to see other than blossoming snowdrops.
In 2017 we visited Margaret and David MacLennan - Plant Heritage National Collection Holders for Galanthus (snowdrops). Their collection has “scientific” status in recognition of the special contribution that it makes to the conservation of the Galanthus genus. They have more than 1700 different varieties of 21 species of snowdrops, growing in frames in their garden at their home in Carlisle. This is an endlessly fascinating display of varying patterns, markings, shapes and sizes.
After meeting us at RHS Hampton Court they started a trial planting some of their prestigious snowdrops in our compost (a mix of Lakeland Gold, Wool Compost and grit) to compare with their conventional growing medium of John Innes mix. Half the bulbs were potted in Dalefoot and half in John Innes then sunk side by side in a sand frame.
Little difference was observed in the first year, though just possibly the plants grown in the Dalefoot composts were slightly ahead in size perhaps reflecting the higher nutritional content of the mixture. Two years on however and the difference is clear. “We have seen earlier shoots, stronger and bigger growth and more plants per pot." said Mr & Mrs MacLennon. The collection is watered via rainfall and only John Innes pots have additional food added – not required for Dalefoot pots. Margaret and David also expect to find better quality bulbs when they dig them up for re-potting this summer.
Most gardeners will have a place for snowdrops and there must be a snowdrop for everyone!
The best time to plant snowdrops is when they are freshly-dug, either when the foliage is dying back in late spring on ‘in the green’ just after flowering.
Aim for a moist, well-drained planting pit
Incorporate a mix of Wool Compost and Lakeland Gold
Await your first sign that spring is on the way
Here's what happened 2 years ago...