If you’re already sick of snowdrops, read no further. But if you’re even just a little bit interested and enjoyed hearing about the ‘Gloucester Old Spot’ then read on to find out about another unusual one, Galanthus ‘Wasp’. I liked it as soon as I saw it at Chelsea Physic Garden and now I’ve had it the garden for a couple of years it hasn’t disappointed. Even from a distance you can see it is different from most other snowdrops. It was found in 1995 by Veronica Cross during a visit to the former Backhouse garden at Sutton Court, Herefordshire.
In Snowdrops by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis and John Grimshaw, they write that, each season, news of any new discoveries spreads fast along the galanthophile grapevine. In about 1998, the snowdrop they kept hearing about was called ‘Wasp’ and they wondered what on earth could have justified such a strange name. They say, “that if ever there were an aptly named snowdrop this is certainly it.” The shape of the flowers suggests a winged insect but look closer and the markings on the inner segments could resemble the stripes on a wasp’s thorax. And when you see a large clump it really does look like a swarm.
Now I find that there’s another larger insect on its way. Also from Veronica Cross, Galanthus ‘Dragonfly’ is bigger and much more substantial with very long outer segments and dark-green-marked inners. The flowers dangle on long pedicels so they sway with every breeze imitating their namesake, I imagine.
I’m looking forward to seeing any more insects that join the swarm. I’m sure I heard some bumble bees buzzing about!