My second “Planthusiast” is Matevž Likar who is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Botany and Plant Physiology at Biotechnical Faculty University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. First time we met was at practical courses for Plant Physiology when I was studying biology. At first I thought it was a joke that he will be teaching us, as he looked more as our peer than as our superior. He was in fact in charge of the course and it turned out to be one of best courses I ever went to. It had both, relaxed atmosphere while being challenging at the same time. I enjoyed the course a lot (well, I did go back to do my diploma at the Plant Physiology department, didn’t I?) and even more I enjoyed having him as a colleague and a friend when I joined the group as a PhD student. He is an easy-going person that can and does so very often help you solve statistics or computer or programme or chemistry problems. Outside of his work he is interested in so many things it is hard to keep up. He runs his own web-based gardening page (http://www.okrasnivrt.com/) that includes selling bulbous plants (http://www.svetcebulic.si/index.php) and writing e-journal Garden (Vrt; http://www.okrasnivrt.com/obdelujemo/spletna-revija-vrt-jesen-2015/). He is even capable of designing your garden! These activities are connected to his professional expertise only, but in his “free” time he is a filmophile (much common topics here!) and loves books, cycling and most recently, climbing.
OK, I should stop praising him and allow him to describe his favourite flower.
The excitement about the snowdrops (Galanthus) has recently grown into a formidable movement with ever growing circle of enthusiast. These “galanthophils” are prepared to pay extraordinary prices for a single special snowdrop bulb. In 2012 one of the collectors acquired a bulb of the cultivar ‘Green Tear’ for 425€, which was the highest price ever recorded. The ganthophil movement was of course spotted also by the garden industry and is depicted in the large number of cultivars. The monograph “Snowdrops: A monograph of cultivated Galanthus” from 2002 has a description of 500 cultivars, whereas the new publication will add additional 1500 cultivars that were “developed” since 2002.
Despite the fact that I am not prepared to pay these large sums of money for the bulbs, I still consider myself a fan. There is nothing more inspiring that the snowy white flowers that open on my window sill at the end of February and tell me that the winter is almost over. And if you want to create beautiful white carpets in the garden – the indigenous snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is the best bet. It loves shadowy locations with a lot of organic matter and if you take care of it, it will multiply every year. If you would want to try one of the cultivar, the same conditions will also be a good location for snowdrop ‘S. Arnott’. For a small departure from the natural form, you could also try cultivar ‘Flore Pleno’ with double flowers.
Even if the snowdrop is usually a messenger of spring, this is not always true. If you will plant species G. reginae-olgae, you will admire its flowers already in Autumn. It comes from South Greece and it is accustomed to a little different conditions. It is a great addition for every galanthophil, as you will not need to wait until the Spring to see the beautiful snowdrop flowers.