Snowdrops are one of the hardiest groups of flowering bulbs - or any other plants. As soon as the weather warms up half a degree, they cannot wait to make an appearance in the garden or woodland.
Galanthus nivalis is the 'common' snowdrop, but there are many other varieties that are sought after by the enthusiasts. Such is their appeal, that there are societies for snowdrop lovers and many enthusiasts who cannot wait until the last few days of winter herald the emergence of their main interest - the Snowdrop.
Galanthus - Snowdrop
Mystique and ritual seems to be the norm when planting snowdrops! Universally, writers and pundits seem to advocate planting 'snowdrops in the green'. This simply means that they should be planted whilst they are in leaf - bought from a garden centre in the spring - around 5 or 10 to a pot - as flowering plants. Why pay for a 'grower' to put a few bulbs in a pot, overwinter them, then sell them to a garden centre, who are then happy to sell them as flowering plants at prices that bear little resemblance to the true value of the bulb?
Economically, it would be better to buy a hundred bulbs and scatter plant them in your garden in autumn - lose a few to squirrels and other rodents - and have a moan about being left with only twenty or so plants! Still much cheaper than buying twenty potted bulbs from your local garden centre. The ones that do survive, will soon settle in and start the process of 'naturalisation' a year before your potted bulbs - at least!
There is also a more methodical way of doing it - which will ensure about 90% success rate.
Buy your bulbs from reputable supplier in the autumn - the pre-packs are ok. Just check them for firmness before buying. Plant each bulb in a mini-pot. The peat pots are ideal. Then set them in a seed tray to over-winter. Don't to force them - either on purpose or accidentally. Keep them out in the winter elements.
Somehow, you will have to safeguard from hungry rodents. The best way is to make a frame - a cold-frame is ok (With the glass top removed), and secure with fine mesh wire netting. Do take care to ensure no gaps - or entry points from below ground for burrowing mice and the like. Keep them moist, and water as necessary. Do NOT let them dry out.
Once they start flowering in the late winter - note the optimism - bring them out and enjoy them. When they have finished flowering - and when planting conditions allow, then plant the snowdrops in their permanent positions. Make sure that you remove the bulbs from the pot carefully to keep as many roots as possible. Peat pots or the little swelling jobs will be best.
Snowdrops usually start to bulk up into groups after the first couple of years. You can then transplant them if required - right after flowering.
Iris ensata 'Sansation'
Leucojum vernum - the Snowpake