Nurseryman Tom Mitchell is offering a Valentine’s Day gift of having a new snowdrop cultivar named after a loved one.
Former City banker Mitchell, whose nursery Evolution Plants is based near Bradford-on-Avon, has been growing new snowdrop cultivars, one which will be in flower for Valentine’s Day and is in need of a new formal name.
The snowdrop is a seedling of Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp. vernalis. Mitchell describes the new seedling as having dark green, almost emerald leaves, with a striking pale median stripe, making it the most distinctive selection of this species.
The flowers are sweetly scented and the tips of the outer sepals sport several green lines, though the strength of this mark varies from year-to-year. The dark green mark on the inner segments of the snowdrop looks like an inverted heart.
The opportunity to name this new cultivar will be carried out via an online auction on Ebay. The auction will begin on 31 January and will close at 8 pm on 13 February 2014, when the highest bidder will be sent one of the special bulbs and will be given the chance to formally name the new bulb after their Valentine.
Mitchell said: "A dozen long-stemmed red roses are, so the rose industry would have us believe, the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. But, let’s face it, cut roses are not seasonal and they are rather ephemeral and can wilt at the first sign of stress. Is that how you’d like your lover to perceive you?
"Snowdrops are a February bulb and one of the first to provide us with positive thoughts of the spring ahead. They are very resilient to all weathers and they will multiply year on year and can form large swathes of flowers in time. You and your Valentine’s grandchildren could be enjoying these snowdrops in the future. What could be more romantic than that?"
He added: "The money raised via the auction will be used to help fund our work to help save more of the world’s rare and endangered species, many of which are nearing extinction. Our aim is to grow these plants and introduce them to gardeners in the UK, Europe and around the world, where we can be the guardians to ensure we keep the species alive."