It was Shakespeare, not Beatrix Potter, who forever linked the phrase "green-eyed monster" with jealousy via Othello, written in or around 1603. Arch-villian Iago dangles the metaphor in front of the title character. In my case, it applies not to fair Desdemona but to snowdrops.
What engenders this envy? Snowdrops, various species in the genus Galanthus, trump winter. For me they begin to bloom in January, and for Beatrix Potter she reported them in flower not long after Christmas. She loved them, "There are thousands in front of the windows and in the lane. That is why I have an untidy garden. I won't have the dear things dug up in summer, they are so much prettier growing in natural clams, instead of being dried off and planted singly." I concur, Miss Potter.
So imagine, if you will, when my friend of pen-and-trowel, Judy Glattstein, sent me this image on Halloween.
These, I learned, are Galanthus reginae-olgae, native to Southern Greece, specifically the Peloponnese (which always bring's Ralph Kramden's "string of poloponies"to mind -- I was a huge fan of The Honeymooners). However this is no laughing matter. Snowdrops on Halloween?!? I turned that particularly gardener's shade of green-with-envy.
Judy, who is doyenne of bulbs, told me that there is another in her garden, a cultivar named 'Potter's Prelude.' Blooming around Thanksgiving, ("hiss," goes the monster), it honors the fellow who found it, Jack Potter, rather than Beatrix. Still, a nice connection. For those of you who are fans of a more recent Potter named Harry, Severus Snape kept a glass jar of galanthus on his desk at Hogwarts, for potions no doubt.
Beatrix Potter was not above gardener's envy. She sniffed when her friend and neighbor Cecily's dahlias outlasted her's. It is a condition common to gardeners then and now, there and here. And thank you, Judy, for inspiring this post and next year's bulb order.
For more about Judy's amazing garden follow this link: Bellewood in Bloom, green-eyed monster guaranteed.