The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snowdrops from the Temple Nursery

I finally got a cell phone last month. I have been dragging my feet for several years now and my lack on personal communication devices has been a family joke for a least a decade. The final straw for me came at an optometry conference at the Javits Center in Manhattan last year. I went to the lower level to the hallway with dozens of pay phones and found it was empty; not a phone in sight. Everywhere you look these days, phone booths are disappearing. Talk abound endangered species. So I broke down and got a brand new iPhone 4s. It has so many bells and whistles it will take a me years to figure out what the thing can do.

With my arrested developemnt on the communication technology front, it is not surprising that I still like to write an old fashioned letter, but even more, I love receiving them. So you can imagine how excited I became when my first Temple Nursery catalogue arrived in the mail last year. The owner, Hitch Lyman, addresses each catalogue personally in a very elegant longhand script. This is the 16th listing of Galanthus from the Temple Nursery which specializes in solely in snowdrops. The five-page booklet, with a lovely detail of a painting of Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart' by Gerald Simcoe on its cover, lists about 30 different cultivars of snowdrops priced from 5 G. nivalis for $15 to a single G. nivalis cultivar called 'Walrus' for $50. Mr. Lyman describes 'Walrus' as follows: "I am able to offer again 'one of the great eccentrics of the snowdrop world.' Three long, thin outer segments like tusks; inners regular and splayed. A short plant, with the whole flower washed green. Oliver Wyatt's find."

It is probably too late to order snowdrops for this season because Mr. Lyman divides his clumps after they are done flowering and sends them Priority Mail to your door in early April. You'll recognize his handwriting when they arrive. Each plant is labeled and wrapped in a moist paper towel with instructions to plant them immediately.

If you are a snowdrop connoisseur of if you long for the days of small nurseries owned by passionate plantsmen send $4 to Temple Nursery, Box 591, Trumansburg, NY 14886 for the 2013 listing of Galanthus.


  1. Welcome to the 21st century. You and my wife would get along. She was given a cell phone that included 11,000 free minutes, and she still doesn't use it.

  2. Hi Les,
    Give me her address, we can become pen pals. I tried texting which is a great (maybe only) way to communicate with my two sons in their early 20's, but I will always love a hand written letter.

  3. It's rare to find such expertise today, Michael.

  4. Hi Michael, I too love a handwritten letter, my Mother was famous for them.... but also enjoy my iPhone, great for visits to gardens, and looking up plants. There are some wonderful apps for gardeners (Dirr in your pocket). Enjoy it, just don't succumb to it.

  5. I agree, Faisaal. I'd love to visit the nursery, one day.

    Thanks for the apps tip. I'm right on it!

  6. I'm with you on loving writing and receiving letters. I love my iPhone, but it will never replace letters. Hitch Lyman sounds like someone out of a storybook. Wonderful. Snowdrops are among my most favorite so I will be ordering this catalog. So glad to know of this. Thank you.I fear this could be an expensive addiction! I love that they are wrapped in paper towel!

  7. Maude,
    I suppose of all the possible addictions, snowdrops is one of the least harmful!

  8. Financially, I am guessing John will not agree with you. But as far as I'm concerned you are right as long as I don't buy too many of those bulbs at $50 each! Why is it always the little things that cost so much.

  9. Maude,
    Don't worry, the really rare and expensive ones probably sell out first!

  10. My ophthalmologist showed me how to use the swipe keyboard option on my Android phone. It's great for the finger challenged. I assume the iPhone offers that option?

  11. James,
    The iPhone is very easy to use so that shouldn't be a problem. I am going to Haiti next week and am glad to have a cell phone. It will be much better than a hand written letter!



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