Spring Snowflakes – Leucojum
Spring Snowflakes are the delight of my winter garden. Six petals curve downward together to form an enchanting bell-shaped flower. Each of the pure white petals is adorned with a green droplet at its tip. A chandelier of blooms cascade from each stem contrasting beautifully with their simple dark green blade-like leaves. Snowflakes are perennial bulbs that love woodland conditions similar to snowdrops. I have to confess that, until I sat down to research more about this fairy-like bulb, I thought it was a variety of snowdrop! Apparently it is a common mistake, however, this bulb is in fact unique. Unlike its distant cousin, the spring snowflake is not the first to emerge but bloom a bit later at the start of spring. In the rush of spring blossoms, this enchanting flower can be easily overlooked. Yet it has been a highlight in my mild late winter garden.
The spring snowflake is native to a vast area, extending from the western and southern parts of Europe all the way into the middle east in countries like Iran and Turkey! Europeans have been growing them ornamentally in their gardens since the 1500s. It was brought to the eastern united states by the first wave of European settlers, but it was especially prominent in the south. The bulbs became heirlooms being passed down from generation to generation.
These bulbs bloom in early spring or even in late winter in milder regions. Snowflakes are easy to grow as they are happy in most soils, and in full sun or partial shade. Plant them in autumn before the ground freezes. The bulbs bloom for two to three weeks and depending on the variety and can be anywhere from 10 -24 inches tall. They dislike being moved so there is no need to dig them up after they have finished blooming. They will multiply and bloom again next spring.
Snowflakes + Cyanotype
I chose to grow snowflakes for my Winter Garden Collection for a number of reasons. The main attraction was their enchanting shape and delicate petals. When I cyanotype I specifically choose flowers and foliage that will be more than just a white silhouette. I love how cyanotype captures the petals showing the green dots at the tips. Snowflakes are less prolific bloomers than the pansies and violas in my garden right now, so it was hard to cut them at the height of their beauty.
Using fresh flowers as the subjects of my cyanotypes means they can only be used once and are usually flattened and wilted after the process. This creates more challenges for me but makes each piece all the more lovely as no two flowers the same. Making each piece wholly unique. I am glad I got up the nerve to cut a few stems because they are some of my favorite pieces in this new collection!
The Winter Garden Collection release is March 17th at 10 am pst. As always, my email insiders will get 30 minutes early access to the collection. I can’t wait to share more about the collection and the beautiful flowers and foliage that make it so magical.