Snowdrops & Banjos & Whiskers on Kittens

It’s clumps I’m lacking. Big lusty clumps like the ones my sister’s got. I’m verging into garden double-entendre here: that’s the effect snowdrops have. That first sign of life in the garden that makes you twitchy, crazed and happy.

Snowdrops really are a psychological necessity in Canada. Charles Schulz once said that when we are born we should all be issued a banjo: for the simple happiness they bring. You see, it’s never really been about warm puppies, it’s warm banjos. In lieu of banjos, which could get expensive, I propose that the government of Canada ought to start issuing bucketloads of snowdrops to its citizens every fall. We could have a national holiday in September: Snowdrop Planting Day. Everyone would get into the the act. People all over the country planting snowdrops anywhere and everywhere. Then in Spring: Wa La! We’re still wearing our parkas in April, but look! Snowdrops!

I do grumble about this every year, my snowdrop deficit. And I am looking for a way to grumble less next spring: Buying new bulbs right now is out, they don’t seem to be available anywhere. I keep waiting for the few plants I have to self seed, but they are not obliging me.

It seems you get better results by simply digging up the clumps and replanting the offsets. I’m going to try that this year.

Snowdrops don’t often multiply from seed in a garden, but they will multiply by offsets. Offsets are new bulbs that grow attached to the mother bulb. After a couple of years, the clump of bulbs can be quite dense. If you wait until the flowers fade but the leaves are still green and vigorous, you can easily increase your planting. Simply dig up the clump, separate the bulbs and immediately replant them in the new spaces that you already prepared.

Read more about the lovely snowdrop here. And think about that Snowdrop Planting Holiday. It could happen, couldn’t it?

Whiskers on kittens were not harmed (or mentioned) in this blog post, with the exception of the heading. Merely to make your world a little zanier and unpredictable. You’re welcome.

[Postscript from Helen: For a great explanation about why some snowdrops seed prolifically while others, like the cheese, stand alone — or disappear — read this post from Don of the An Iowa Garden blog. Who knew!]


  1. You know, I try and try to grow snowdrops and they never ever come up. In different gardens too, so it’s not the soil or conditions, but me. They hate me. Why?? On the other hand, I read that winter aconite is very delicate, very difficult, and I seem to grow that without any trouble. Weird.


  2. Very interesting indeed. I have no idea what type I bought – whatever Vesey’s had. Next year I will contemplate my options with somewhat more care.

    Or, perhaps it’s true that snowdrops just hate me.

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