The Courteenhall Estate is on the hunt for a very special variety of snowdrop called ‘Courteenhall’ that was identified many years ago in the grounds by Oliver Wyatt, former headmaster of Maidwell school and a great and much respected galanthophile, (otherwise known as a snowdrop expert!).
Unaware of the variety of snowdrop and its history, it wasn’t until a photograph of Abney, one of the estate’s Jack Russell dogs was posted on social media exploring the carpet of snowdrops one glorious morning, that a follower messaged to ask if the snowdrops pictured were the ‘Courteenhall’ variety.
The snowdrop in question is compact, clump-forming, bulbous perennial with narrow, strap-shaped, grey-green leaves and, in winter, fragrant, nodding flowers with three large, green-tipped, white outer petals and green inner petals, white at the petal margins.
Estate director Dr Johnny Wake commented ‘After discovering that we have our very own variety of snowdrop, I instantly wanted to try and find out more about its history and whereabouts. I spoke to my grandmother who told me of Oliver Wyatt’s connection, plus his collection of Snowdrops. When lunching one day with her and the late Sir Hereward Wake at Courteenhall, he noticed these particular Snowdrops. He told them he had never seen this variation before. Having taken a bulb or two ,( with permission!) to propagate ,he subsequently asked permission to name it ‘ Courteenhall’.
The search is now on to rediscover the Courteenhall snowdrop whilst they are emerging in all their glory across the estate.
Anyone who has a connection to the history of the Courteenhall snowdrop or can direct to a garden nursery / breeder who may have the variety should get in contact by emailing email@example.com
In the meantime, the grounds staff at Courteenhall will be keeping a close eye out for the elusive variety that may emerge this spring.
(Pictured is Groundskeeper Darron Wilks searching for the Courteenhall Snowdrop)