Star of the bulbs

Credit: Netherlands Flower Bulbs

Brilliant sprays of blue, star-shaped flowers that explode into the monochromatic landscape of February and March have earned this petite bulb the name glory-of-the-snow.

Chionodoxa forbesii reaches a height of 15 cm (6 in.), with four to 12 flowers per stem. The flowers of C. forbesii are usually blue with a white centre, but cultivars include ‘Alba’ (white) and ‘Pink Giant’ (pale lavender).

Chionodoxa prefers full sun but can handle dappled shade. Hardy to zone 3, it requires well-drained, gritty soil – making it a perfect candidate for rock gardens. Unlike many other plants, it will naturalize beautifully when planted beneath a walnut tree, as it is not affected by the compound produced by the walnut.

Chionodoxa is also resistant to disease, deer and rodents. In the autumn, plant bulbs 7.5 cm (3 in.) apart and 10 cm (4 in.) deep.