Hybrid Vigour

Having been forced by Mrs. Woo to take a week of holiday from what she usually refers to as “staying at home, doing nothing”, I found myself on the Snowdrop Trail tour in the garden at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sunnycroft. I was quite surprised to discover that the leaflet I was handed had photographs of 17 of the forty-odd different varieties of snowdrop in the garden. Later in the day I was talking to our guide’s long suffering wife who explained that there were over 400 varieties in his garden, of the approximately four and a half thousand types currently known to be in existence.

People with a passion often interest me. Quite why these smallish, mostly white flowers that I would previously have assumed were all the same had become the focus of this man’s life was not clear but his obvious fascination was infectious. It almost made me wish that I was a little less promiscuous in my obsessions. For our second snowdrop trip of the week, we visited https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park to see snowdrops at scale, lining the woodland floor. They all looked the same. I have much to learn.

My favourite Sunnycroft snowdrop fact was that when chasing the holy grail of a large ‘double’ snowdrop, gardeners had used the advantage of ‘hybrid vigour’ to mix and match the desirable characterisics of different species and create a giant amongst snowdrops. Take that, racial supremacists: you’re all snowflakes, by comparison!



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