Barely mid-November and the sight of a snowdrop in bloom in St Nicholas’ churchyard, two days ago, caused us to pause and look again. A little research later and we came to discover that this is not a sign of climate change, but a variety that does, indeed, flower in autumn.
The specialist growing of snowdrops really got going in the Victorian era, and new varieties were being discovered across Europe and elsewhere, that were quickly imported to British gardens. I wonder if anyone knows when these particular snowdrops were planted (they are under a yew tree at the west end of St Nicholas’, just above the path)?
According to Kilpatrick and Harmer’s The Galanthophiles - 100 Years of Snowdrop Devotees (p. 32) autumn flowering snowdrops were brought to Britain by collectors in Albania, Corfu and Greece in the 1870s. They are a quite large-flowered variety compared with our native snowdrop, and do bloom this side of Christmas. I am assuming I am on the right track here, but if they are a modern planting and if someone knows of it, I would be glad to know more.