Saturday, November 28, 2015

The other autumn snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii ssp. monostictus)

Closeup of Galanthus elwesii ssp. monostictus
 The bulb in question: photographed last Sunday at Montrose Gardens--Nancy and Craufurd Goodwin's exquisite estate in Hillsborough, North Carolina. There are several species of snowdrops that bloom in the fall--all of them rather rare in commerce. This species was little known until Nancy accidentally purchased twelve bulbs many decades ago. She and her staff have divided these faithfully ever few years, creating several enormous patches on the 69 acre Montrose property.

A view from slightly further away

A river of autumnal snowdrops!
 There are several more naturalistic patches, thousands of square feet in extent. I was charmed by this vast river of snowdrops that was planted on a terrace winding through the woods (this is just a short piece of that river, by the way)...

Nancy (on the left) and me on the right to state the obvious
 I was a faithful customer of Montrose Nursery in its heyday, many years ago. It--along with Holbrook Gardens--were among the leading mail order specialty nurseries when I began my professional career. I remember how disappointed I was when Nancy stopped shipping (about the time Tony Avent started up if I remember correctly! The Triangle City area has been leading the charge!).

And here we are on the path leading to the wonderful house
It would be hard to express my respect and love for Nancy and Craufurd in words: their home is filled with treasures (probably the largest treasure trove of art of the Bloomsbury circle, and much much more). Although the snowdrops often steal the limelight when it comes to the garden, believe me they are but a very small part of the grandest private garden in America: there are untold treasures in vast sunny borders and woodland gardens that I can't begin to capture--especially in late November! Suffice it to say, Nancy was a North American pioneer in the cultivation of Cyclamen, and has the finest spreads of these as well that I know in any American estate. She hosts several open days a year, including the first Sunday of December (the 6th: you may call 919-732-7787 for details). The snowdrops should look pretty good then--in fact, there will be a parade of snowdrops from now to March!

If you can't make that, join me on a field trip to Cherokee Ranch: Just click on the link and you can sign up right there! 

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