Snowdrops and crocuses often grow in wooded areas and around old country houses. Both are naturalising bulbs that grow beautifully under deciduous trees and shrubs. They get less rain and light there in winter because of the fallen leaves. Flower bulbs like it this way during the cold season. This is why they flower abundantly and profusely in these spots. After flowering, the bulbs draw nutrition from the leaves to prepare for the next season. This is why the foliage needs time to die off properly. Once the trees and shrubs grow their leaves again, the foliage of the snowdrops and crocuses disappears and the bulbs go dormant. The leaves of the trees and shrubs then keep the bulbs nice and cool during the hot summer months.
Crocuses bring a real riot of colour to the garden in February and March. These early-flowering colour bombs symbolise spring and joy. If you take a closer look at them, you will discover there are some spectacular varieties. The colours vary from intensely deep to cheerful pastels. The most popular varieties are blue and purple, but they also come in white, yellow and lilac tones, or striped. Both the frivolous large-flowered and delicate small-flowered crocuses are like little gifts growing out of the soil. After the initial planting, an ever-increasing carpet of flowers develops each year thanks to naturalisation. Not many flowers will flower in February during the long cold winter, but crocuses are one of the first varieties to start flowering at that time. They are a wonderful source of nectar and pollen. This makes them a favourite among bumblebees, honeybees and some solitary bees. So while enjoying these flowers, you also help these important insects.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) arrive on the winter scene very early. Their official name is quite fancy: Galanthus. They put their bell-shaped white flowers on display in January and February, they even grow above the snow. The petals of snowdrops appear white, but are in fact colourless. When you squeeze a petal, it becomes transparent. This is because the air bubbles that reflect the light are then gone. Snowdrops are available in several varieties, including double flowers, with green or yellow dots or markings on the petals, and with small or large flowers. The ‘common’ snowdrop is called Galanthus nivalis. If you plant them in your garden, you will see them increase in number year on year. Did you know that snowdrops can produce heat, up to 10°C? As a result, the snow around these flowers melts. They also spread a delicious scent of honey. The scent comes from insects that collect pollen from the flowers.