One Yearly Spring Show You Won’t Want to Miss: Gravetye Giant Leucojum

Summer Snowflakes

Melissa Gouty
Garden Glory

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Closeup of Summer Snowflakes in the Gouty Gardens. Photo: Melissa Gouty

What to call them?

My brain gets a little mixed up sometimes, combining terms and mixing memories. In my head, I’ve been calling these flowers “snowdrops,” but in doing the research for this piece, I’ve found that they are actually Gravetye Giant Leucojum, commonly known as “Summer Snowflakes.”

As a word worker and language lover, I’m fascinated by descriptive terms, and the names of plants are no exception. I am not a Master Gardener and refer to plants by common names rather than their official classification names, but still I want to be right about their common names! I can easily start referring to these plants as “Summer Snowflakes” instead of calling them “snowdrops” as I previously misnamed them. But I’m befuddled by why they’re called “Summer Snowflakes” instead of “Spring Snowflakes” since they bloom in the spring and disappear before summer. (Go figure!)

My geeky mind also wanted to know what “Gravetye” meant. Maybe “Gravetye” meant “Graveside,” which would be a serendipitous term in our case since two masses of “summer snowflakes” guard the burial site of our beloved old dog, Willa Rose.

Such, alas, is not the case. “Gravetye Manor” is the name of the home of William…

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Melissa Gouty
Garden Glory

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Content for HVAC & Plumbing Businesses. Author of The Magic of Ordinary. LiteratureLust and GardenGlory.