Name a new snowdrop for Myddelton House Gardens

PUBLISHED: 17:44 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:27 06 January 2017

New 4x4 snowdrop - to be named in competition

New 4x4 snowdrop - to be named in competition


Galanthophiles have the chance to name a new snowdrop for Myddelton House Gardens in a competition for snowdrop enthusiasts and keen gardeners.

Snowdrops bearing white flowers at Myddelton House GardensSnowdrops bearing white flowers at Myddelton House Gardens

Name a new snowdrop and go down in the horticulture hall of fame along with famous green-fingered plantsman Edward Augustus Bowles and current ‘Snowdrop King’ Joe Sharman.

Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield is calling on members of the public, whether they are snowdrop enthusiasts, keen gardeners or just have an interest in plants, to enter its competition to name a newly discovered snowdrop found in the gardens.

The lucky winner, and his or her chosen name, will then be announced at Myddelton House Gardens’ Annual Ultimate Snowdrop Sale on Saturday, January 28, where the new snowdrop will make its debut, with a limited number available for sale for £80 each.

Snowdrop Galanthus plicatus  Golden Fleece priced at £1,000Snowdrop Galanthus plicatus  Golden Fleece priced at £1,000

The new snowdrop is different from many well-known varieties, with petals that are quite distinctive.

“Most snowdrops’ flowers are made up of six segments arranged in two whorls of outer larger petals and inner shorter petals,” explained James Hall, head gardener at Myddelton House Gardens.

“These are not actually petals and are botanically known as inner and outer perianth segments.

About Snowdrops

• Known in the gardening community by its botanical name Galanthus, snowdrops only flower between the months of January and March and are said to be one of the first signs in British gardens of the arrival of spring after the long, dark winter.

• The best time to purchase the classic hardy plant is just after its flowering phase, while its leaves are still green, with experts advising planting soon after its foliage starts to brown.

• Available in many varieties, snowdrops can vary in height, flower size, shape, colouring and even petal markings, which help to distinguish species, with the rarest variants often fetching thousands of pounds at auction.

• Galanthophile is the term for a snowdrop enthusiast.

• It is thought to have been invented by botanist E. A. Bowles in a letter to his friend Oliver Wyatt, another keen collector of bulbs, whom he addressed as “Dear Galanthophil”.

• Myddelton House Gardens were created by the famous self-taught gardener and botanist Edward August Bowles and the eight acres have been lovingly restored in the ethos of Mr Bowles.

“This new snowdrop find is very exciting, especially as it is different from many other varieties of the plant.

“This discovery is large and pretty vigorous as well as being what is known as a 4x4, meaning it has eight segments, which are arranged in two whorls of four, unlike the six segments of most snowdrops, so although it is not unique, this makes it much more unusual.

“We are really lucky to have found it at Myddelton House Gardens where the legacy of E A Bowles, who propagated dozens of snowdrops himself, lives on with this new discovery.”

About Myddelton House Gardens

• Myddelton House Gardens are situated at Bulls Cross, Enfield, EN2 9HG and are open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Entry to the gardens is free (parking charges apply).

• The gardens were awarded a two year Heritage Lottery Funding in 2009 to restore sections of the gardens to their former glory, including the Kitchen Garden, Victorian Potting Shed, Peach House and Bowles’ original Cold Frames, together with the creation of a visitor centre, museum and tea room.

• They offer an all-year attraction and a seasonal events programme, including guided walks and talks, jazz and classical music evenings.

• Myddelton House was built by Henry Carrington Bowles in 1818 and was named after Sir Hugh Myddelton, an engineering genius who created the New River – a section of which had bisected the garden from 1613 until 1968.

• His descendant, Edward Augustus Bowles (1865-1954) created the gardens and is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest self-taught gardeners, artists, writers and botanists.

• Brigadier Parker Bowles is the great nephew of E A Bowles. He has played a prominent role in the restoration of Myddelton House Gardens as President of the E A Bowles of Myddelton House Society.

• Myddelton House Gardens are owned and managed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

Entries for the naming of the new snowdrop will be judged by a panel of gardening experts, and the winner will have a chance to own a specimen of the plant.

This month’s hugely-popular sale attracts snowdrop enthusiasts from far and wide who are keen to snap up a bargain, where snowdrops can be priced from as little as £5 to sums of £1,000 per plant.

Snowdrops at the gardens were made famous by the celebrated horticulturalist E A Bowles, the creator of the beautiful Myddelton House Gardens.

The gardens are home to tens of thousands of bulbs and a broad range of species and cultivars, including hundreds of snowdrops.

There are more than 1,500 named snowdrops in existence and the new name will be added to the official list of cultivated plants, to stand alongside the recently found snowdrop Galanthus plicatus ‘E A Bowles’, which was discovered in 2004 by plantsman Mike Myers.

The new plant, which is the latest snowdrop discovery in the Gardens, was found there on February 19, 2008.

Well-known ‘Snowdrop King’ Joe Sharman, of Monksilver Nursery in Cambridgeshire, has been gradually propagating it over the last few years.

It is now ready for commercial sale for the first time at the Gardens’ January sale.

Joe helps to organise the sale and invites specialist nurseries to attend, as well as bringing snowdrops from Monksilver Nursery.

He said: “It has been a great privilege to be able to cultivate this new snowdrop and make it available for public sale, and we are really looking forward to seeing what names people will come up with in the snowdrop naming competition

“As a Galanthophile, or snowdrop enthusiast myself, with over 1,700 different snowdrops in my collection, it is wonderful to welcome new varieties appearing from time to time.”

A select range of nurseries will be selling a wide variety of snowdrops at the sale.

Early bird enthusiasts can enjoy hot refreshments and a light breakfast from 8am on the day from the venue’s Bowles Tea Room, in preparation for the prestigious horticultural event which starts at 10.30am until noon.

• The Snowdrop Naming Competition is open to all and the closing date is Tuesday, January 24.

All entries will need to be received by 3pm on that date.

Go to and to enter and for competition guidelines.

Competition entrants will also need to adhere to guidelines laid down by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants.

There are specific rules about naming plants, which include guidelines such as not being able to include the word ‘snowdrop’ or ‘Galanthus’ or any name that already exists for another snowdrop.

The new name should not be in a Latin form and should not duplicate pre-existing names.

Guidelines can be found at

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