Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Why would someone pay hundreds of pounds for one snowdrop bulb? I think I know

What makes snowdrop mania particularly strange is that, unlike gorgeous, colourful tulip flowers, the variations between snowdrops are almost too tiny to spot

I think I’m coming down with galanthomania. It’s a rare affliction, but one that’s hard to shake, and it’s affecting more people every year. Galanthus are snowdrops, and galanthomania is a 21st-century version of that 17th-century craze for tulips which began in the Dutch golden age. At the height of the tulip mania some bulbs were selling at 3,000 or 4,000 florins, almost ten times a craftsman’s annual wage.

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Isabel Hardman
Written by
Isabel Hardman
Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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