Snowdrops and icecrystals

Neither snowdrops or hellebores are frost sensitive, and they’re happy in climates colder than the coldest of ours in Australia.  But that’s not to say that they’re unaffected by frost.  

When frozen, both look like they’re wilting badly – so badly that you can’t imagine them recovering.  But they do recover, and apparently recover fully.  Having said that, you can’t help but think that there must be some sort of accumulated damage.  Check these pics out, taken this morning.

This is Galanthus ‘Lavinia’ in full ‘frost-wilt’ at 8:45am (above).  Below is the same clump three hours later. Growing in full shade as it is, it takes ages to thaw.  It would recover much faster if in full sun.

As for the hellebores, the frost-wilt doesn’t look as dramatic, though the sheer number of flowers provides some support.  When in bud, without this support, the flower stems can lie virtually flat on the ground.

This is the stunning hybrid known as Helleborus x ballardiae.  Below is the same clump, two hours later..

If nothing else, it just can’t be good for those snowdrop flowers to be lying around on those paving stones for hours every frosty morning.  There’s got to be some bruising or marking as a result, and if nothing else, it makes them much more likely to be trodden on.  Still, if they’re not worried about it, there’s not much point in my doing the worrying for them..


  1. Thanks for reminding me to plant some snowdrops in my winter garden for the light the white flowers bring. Are your planted among hellebores, or kept in separate areas?

    1. Theoretically, hellebores and snowdrops should be perfect companions. In practice it’s a little trickier. You’ll see in the pics above that the hellebores are planted with snowdrops, and that the hellebores are taking up so much more space that I thought they would, they’re nudging the snowdrops aside. That’s an obvious, and easy, problem to avoid.
      But the other issue that I’m genuinely surprised to find is that the stark, sparkling white of the snowdrops can make the creamier white of the hellebores look plain dirty. They’d be much better against pink or dark red hellebores, or better still, as a gardening friend of mine and I decided last week, against yellow hellebores.

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