As I mentioned earlier in the week, I visited Hitch Lyman’s collection of snowdrops courtesy the Garden Conservancy’s Open Gardens program. Hitch owns the Temple Nursery, the premier snowdrop nursery in the United States, with over 400 different varieties on site, though only a fraction of them are offered for sale each year. Four hundred different kinds? I hear you ask. How different can they be?
How Different Can They Be?
First of all, there are several different species. Galanthus elwesii and G. nivalis are the two most common, but there are also G. gracilis, G. ikariae, G. plicatus, G. woronowii and more. I could see with my own eyes that G. elwesii had wider leaves than G. nivalis. I will concede that I looked at certain clumps, saw that they had a different name, but couldn’t really see the difference. But some of those clumps were too far away from the path to examine closely, and the blossoms were often dancing on the brisk wind. There were plenty where I could see how they were different, especially when the docent turned a blossom so we could see inside.
The Temple Nursery Is A Garden
I had thought, since it was a nursery, that the snowdrops would be lined up in production rows. Nothing of the sort. They are planted as you or I would plant them, along the driveway, by a wall, near some shrubs, and along a path through the woods. All of them had garden variety plastic labels identifying them. Some had really huge labels, about the size of a paint stirring stick from the hardware store, labeled with easy to read letters, for the benefit of the visitors. The docent was pretty sure Hitch also had a map of the snowdrops’ locations. So the snowdrops that Hitch sells are the ones he feels he can spare from his private collection, and the offering changes every year.
Order Your Catalogue Now
I remarked to the docent that I had written for a catalog in January and was told they were all gone. I asked him the best time to request a catalog. The answer? NOW. So if you are interested in purchasing exquisite, rare snowdrops, send $3 toThe Temple Nursery P.O. Box 591 Trumansburg, NY 14886
A Sampling of Extraordinary Snowdrops
Below is a gallery of snowdrops from Hitch Lyman’s garden. These are the ones that I am sure are properly identified. In most cases you can read the tag for yourself. When you click on each thumbnail image, you will be taken to a larger image with additional description. Use your browser’s Back button to return to the gallery.
I consulted the following sites to be sure of species names, spellings, etc.