Visit Snowdrop Heaven: The Temple Nursery

– Posted in: Events, Snowdrops
Snowdrops line the path to the Secret Garden

My main snowdrop “patch” exactly a year ago. They are not so far along this year. Click the photo for a close-up

With all my blathering on about snowdrops, I almost forgot to mention that Hitch Lyman’s garden will be the Garden Conservancy’s first New York state event for their 2008 Open Garden Days on April 5, 2008. If you are able to visit his garden, you will think you have died and gone to snowdrop heaven, because Hitch is the proprietor of Temple Nursery, selling the widest selection of snowdrops in the U.S. (growing over 400 different kinds, not all for sale) and the only one shipping them in the green. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Don’s Galanthus ‘Bitton’ and G. woronowii both originally came from Hitch Lyman’s land, even if they’ve made an intermediate stop since then.

Last year Hitch Lyman’s garden was also part of the Open Days program, but in May. Look at these photos from an old notice about the June 2006 event. All this lusciousness is only about an hour and a half away from me, and yet I’ve never been. And this year I’ll be in Austin for the Garden Bloggers’ Spring Fling, and will miss it yet again. If you are considering going, there is at least one bed and breakfast nearby, the earliest blooms of Cornell Plantations to tempt you, and–who knows?–you might run into local garden blogger Ellis Hollow.

Fortunately for me, it looks like I will be able to hear him speak at the Ithaca chapter meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society, on April 19th. I attended my first Adirondack chapter meeting last October, when I heard Janis Ruksans (and met Craig in person for the first time). Mr. Lyman and I wound up walking back to our parked cars together, and we exchanged pleasantries as we strolled. Of course, I later kicked myself for not asking for a chance to visit and write about his garden at snowdrop time. And now I will be elsewhere when his garden is open. The ironies of life. I hope to have another chance.
Image of patch of blooming snowdrops

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Pat April 16, 2009, 10:22 pm

I’d love to see a photo of the Blewberry tart snowdrop on you blog site.

Kathy Purdy April 16, 2009, 10:26 pm

Pat, as I mentioned above, I haven’t yet been to Temple Nursery myself. It’s Craig Cramer who went and took pictures last year, and I don’t think he kept track of the names of the ones he photographed.

heirloomgardener April 11, 2008, 9:15 pm

Thank you for the recommendation on Temple Nursery.

Curtis March 30, 2008, 11:56 am

I never knew there were so many snowdrops variety.

I like your blog colors. Brownish green. Very neat.

Don March 27, 2008, 9:53 pm

Bitton yup; woronowii nope (see Trotter’s Merlin tomoroow… yup).

I’d love to see his garden… snowdrops and lilacs.

Annie in Austin March 27, 2008, 8:14 pm

I can’t even imagine 40 different Snowdrops – let alone 400… and discerning the varieties of such a tiny flower seems mind boggling. Do you need a microscope and caliper to see the differences?

Sorry Austin is responsible for you missing this event, Kathy! I sure hope Craig can get there in your absence.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

kate March 27, 2008, 6:02 pm

There’s always next year ! I can’t quite get my head around the thoughts of so many Snowdrops! I’d jump at the chance to go visit. Instead I’ll check out Craig’s photos.

plantsforprofit March 27, 2008, 4:04 pm

We’re having a very unseasonal cold snap – normally now the weather would be warming up, but we got wind, snow flurries, rain …. yuck. We’ve got to start selling plants again – but couldn’t keep them on the sidewalk because of the wind. Hopefully next week will see an improvement.

One of my mom’s regrets is that she didn’t bring some of the snowdrops from home when she moved near us. There used to be masses of them in the woods around the house. She kept threatening to send me to “acquire” some …. I sidestepped – but since she passed, I kind of regret it.

I’d love to see somewhere with 400 kinds of snowdrops.

jodi March 27, 2008, 1:08 pm

You’re right about it not being over til it’s over. The first clump of snowdrops are up in my garden, an inch tall and opening their fat little heads (double flowers) though many parts of the garden are like yours, still buried in snow.
I can only dream of seeing that many different types of snowdrops. I’ll be there in spirit, though.

Kathy Purdy March 27, 2008, 12:17 pm

Dear Mr. Wiseacre, the photos are from last year. Most of the snow is gone except for the big piles, HOWEVER, we are supposed to get 2 to 4 inches tonight. It ain’t over till it’s over.

wiseacre March 27, 2008, 12:03 pm

I’m glad the snow is long gone there. The snowdrops are so much more cheerful than the snow remaining here.

Enjoy yourself at the Garden Bloggers’ Spring Fling. Soak up some sun amoung good company. And don’t forget to write 🙂

Nancy Bond March 27, 2008, 9:34 am

Those beautiful white blooms seem heaven sent. 🙂

kerri March 27, 2008, 9:22 am

I can’t even imagine 400 kinds of snowdrops! Yours are looking bright and cheery in spite of the continuing frigid winds. Mine finally opened yesterday. Yah!
We were at The Cornell Plantations this time last year and saw beautiful Hellebores and a lovely Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry) among other things.
It’s too bad you’ll miss Temple Gardens again, but I know you’ll be enjoying your spring fling! 🙂

Kathy Purdy March 27, 2008, 8:39 am

Craig, all of garden blogdom will be in your debt if you can capture 400 varieties of snowdrops in digital imagery. Maybe you can interest Hitch in scanning some of them.

Our friend Ben, I just want to make clear that while the Garden Conservancy copy says Hitch grows over 400 kinds of snowdrops, the one year I got the catalog, the Temple Nursery was only offering one tenth of that for sale. A little under 40 different kinds, not 400. I’m sure he grows many that he doesn’t have sufficient quantity to offer commercially.

our friend Ben March 27, 2008, 7:30 am

Wow, Kathy–400 varieties! Thanks for telling us about “Mr. Snowdrop” and his nursery. Talk about a must-see!

Ellis Hollow March 27, 2008, 6:09 am

I will do my best to get there in your absence, Kathy. And get some pictures.