Just as we’re getting impatient with winter gloom, the snowdrops come through in all their bright white purity.

“What variety are they?” asked a friend the other day. I wanted to reply “I couldn’t care less. We are so grateful to have them spreading further each year” but meekly admitted I didn’t know. “I’m not a galanthophile,” I said, but that was unkind. He wasn’t necessarily to know that’s a snowdrop enthusiast – someone who can’t enjoy the flowers until he or she knows what their full name is. But that’s not fair. Thank goodness for those who take the trouble to research, discover and share so much valuable information about our plants.

Even so, the truth is, I would love snowdrops (Galanthus), whatever their species or cultivar as they come through at such a bleak time.

Mine nestle among the shiny, red-bronze foliage of yet-to-bloom Bergenia ‘Morgenröte’, one of the more vividly magenta elephant’s ears which should come through very soon.