The Snowdrops are ringing.
When you listen very closely, you can hear the Snowdrops ringing (in Dutch a Snowdrop is called a Sneeuwklokje or “Snowclock”). Ridiculous right? It is just trapped in my memory. Annie M.G. Schmidt; Jip and Janneke. Infinite times we have read these stories to our children; “The Snowdrops are ringing”. Most stories they knew by heart, and still we had to keep reading them to them. No problem at all, fortunately Mrs. Schmidt was not a writer that used a lot of words that you can give a different meaning after thinking a lot about them for a long time. Actually, it is kind of funny to see people worry about something that is really about nothing at all. Luckily, there are much bigger problems: the Snowdrops are in full blossom, pure enjoyment.
I went to the Snowdrops market with my friend Arie for the first time this year (and yes, this is the same Arie that I called a spare-friend in an earlier newsletter, he has become a friend in the meantime). We drove all the way to Germany for it. My alarm was set for a quarter before half past five. At six I was at Arie’s, tapping on the window. Quickly we got into the car, and what do you think? The A2 (highway) was closed down. Catastrophic. Would it be so bad, coming an hour after opening time? Yes, and no, I will explain it to you. The last few years, there has been an enormous Snowdrops hype. More and more people start to get crazy about the Snowdrop. And not in the sense of “I think Snowdrops are pretty”, but no, they are truly crazy about them. They read books about Snowdrops, they start collecting Snowdrops, and they will talk passionately about them. When you get infected with this Snowdrop-virus you are in danger of turning slowly into a Galanthophile (the Latin name for the Snowdrop is Galanthus). Is that so bad? Well, no, a few weeks a year you just go crazy and visit Snowdrop conventions, you will spend way too much money on them, and will start bragging about the fact that you have about 40 different varieties of them in your garden. 40? Well, I have a 100! Or at least this could be the possible response from another, even bigger, Galanthophile. No really, we even spoke to a woman who had collected 350 different varieties.
But now the fun part, all those different varieties are not sold for the price of ten bulbs, or for a little less than ten euros. No, you can see it for yourself on this photo (which really is not photoshopped). Isn’t that nice; Ice Princess, 1 pot, € 590. This is precisely why we wanted to be there before opening hours, so we could be there at the same time as the true Galanthophiles. The people that are eager to find out which varieties are new to the collection this year and buy the best candy from the candy shop. Alas, the A2 was closed, and we had to go the long way. We were late.
If these numbers are shocking to you by the way, it could be even worse: In the past there have been times where single Snowdrops were bought for 1800 British Pounds per bulb on eBay. Unbelievable, but still true, I spoke with the lady who sold them, because with a story like this, you simply need to know if it is true or not.
Galanthus Brian Mathew
What makes me really happy however, is seeing how such a small and sweet flower can bring so much emotion for so many people. It really made my day. After our visit at this cozy convention we visited the garden of Peter Janke in Hilden. A garden that is enjoyable even in February. Beautiful trees, flowering bushes, Helleborus, and of course the many different varieties of Snowdrops. For the cherry on top, we stopped at the Bosschoeve in Wolfheze on our way back home. We read so much about it in the garden magazines but had never visited it, so let’s do some looking around. This garden, nursery, and tearoom of Dineke Logtenberg is a paradise for Snowdrop lovers. Infinite varieties of them are on display and for sale. If you have the urge to look around in Galanthophilia, start at De Boschhoeve: www.boschhoeve.nl and click on the sneeuwklokjeslijst 2023.
Galanthus Fly Fishing
The Boschhoeve is definitely worth a visit. An idyllic place, with a beautiful nostalgic farmhouse, with old stables that are transformed in a plant paradise for lovers of somewhat special plants and of course, the Snowdrops. When Arie and I were doubting whether we should buy the Galanthus Fly Fishing for € 22 a pot, Dineke came walking toward us. “Beautiful right?”, she started talking: “A Snowdrop with character, the perfect name, and look at how long the stem is, exactly like a fly fisher. But who are you? Can I ask you what your name is?” “Carlos.” “I was already thinking if it might be you. I always enjoy your newsletters so much I wish I could write like that. Take this pot with you, and you too Arie, take one as well. How nice of you to drop by. And that little Daffodil of you Carlos, Mary Poppins, she is fantastic, what a cutie” (Dineke can talk like the best, put a quarter in and you will get 2 euros). “I would like to have those Mary Poppins for next year. She does so well in a pot, they are already blossoming in my garden, you can have a look, a long side the house.” Ah dear readers, if I had to write everything Dineke said… what a kind and enthusiastic lady. Amazing, thank you for the warm welcome and of course for the pot of Fly Fishing.
Snowdrops at De Boschhoeve
And what do you think, as if we did not have enough amazing things happening today, I got a message on the way back from Peter Komen: Carlos, the three Snowdrops that you asked for years ago are finally here. You can put them on the Fluwel website. Why don’t you drop by so you can make some photos. They are from Patrick, and he can walk you to the field when you are there. After such a long day, you can imagine I was very enthusiastic about the Snowdrop, and this phone call made it all even better. Three new amazing varieties of the Snowdrop.
From left to right Beluga, Snow Fox, and Polar Bear.
Naturally, I went over to Patrick the next morning. The cold northerly wind, a dripping nose, walking in the field between the Snowdrops, all in all a beautiful morning. I bought some of them, you can find them on the Fluwel site. Soon they will be available for you: Snow Fox, Beluga, and Polar Bear. Next year you can have them in your own garden.
But it is time to call it to an end again, I will see you next week.
With kind regards,
Carlos van der Veek
Oh, and a small announcement: today is the last day you can order Amaryllis bulbs from our website. It has been enough, the storage cell will be shut down in a bit. The remaining bulbs will be planted into pots and sold at the shop of Land van Fluwel.