So many flowers, only 12 months of the year. This is the first of a monthly muse of either the favourite, the most abundant or the flower that should be better known or appreciated more. Of course, the Snowdrop is probably one of the most appreciated flowers as it comes at a time when there is little else, at the point we are feeling the effects of a long winter but seeing it makes us believe that, yes, spring may be on its way.
It is also one of those plants that suddenly comes into flower. One week you haven’t noticed it, then suddenly the next, they are everywhere. As they open they seem to continue to lengthen and keep going for weeks and if you are lucky you then have swathes of them flowering their (white cotton) socks off. This photo was sent to me by a reader. This is her lawn as it erupts in the spring, only a quarter of it captured here she tells me. What a sight – and if you pick them and bring them indoors they have a lovely fragrance.
Snowdrops often grow in profusion at monastic sites, perhaps helping form the theory that they were brought to Britain from Italy by monks who used them for healing wounds. Snowdrops are also linked with ancient church traditions such as in the Feast of Purification when images of the Virgin Mary were replaced by snowdrops. But be careful – apparently young girls who picked snowdrops before Valentine’s Day would not marry that year. Look up the Scottish snowdrop festival to find places where snowdrops are growing in abundance and get out and feel that spring is really round the corner.
Snowdrops are also known as Mary’s Taper, snow piercer, and not very attractive, dingle-dangle!