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in praise of snowdrops

March 18, 2011

While English blogs remind me that it is already daffodil season down south, here in our part of Scotland the snowdrops are at their height. Every year we have more of them to add to the drifts under the trees, as the gardener does a wonderful job of dividing up clumps and replanting them singly to encourage them to spread.

a patch of snowdrops near the roots of a cypress

I love to pick a few on walks and put them in a tiny vase to brighten the kitchen table. Neither the gardener nor I am particularly interested in classifying or collecting different varieties – we just enjoy the general effect – but we do seem to have several different kinds here. Whether they were carefully chosen by a previous gardener, or have hybridised in situ, I don’t know.

There are doubles:


And there are what I can only call triples, with random petals sprouting all over the place:

To my mind, however, there is nothing so beautiful as the simplicity and purity of the single snowdrop, known in Britain since Roman times at least. They were often planted in holy places: I don’t know why for sure, but the Middle Ages adored symbolism, and I would imagine that medieval monks and nuns would see Christian metaphors in the flower’s humility and white purity, and in the trinity of its three outer petals. Symbolism aside, it is just a lovely flower, perfect in itself. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the snowdrop.



[Anyone with galanthophile (snowdrop afficionado) tendencies  can find out a little more about them at a page called Snowdrops – what’s all the fuss? ]

There are more photos of snowdrops in the castle policies at Signs of spring, and for a snowdrop post from last year’s winter, see Unjustified flowers. Or, if you need a reminder of the more colourful offerings of late summer, do have a look at Friday flowers.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2011 12:15 pm

    I love snowdrops. I haven’t seen any yet this year. Mainly cos we don’t have any in our garden. Lovely photographs of them that I can enjoy though!

    By the way I’m having a giveaway on my blog to help raise money for Japan. Check it out to see if you want to help.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:12 pm

      What a creative and generous idea. I’ll do what I can to spread the word.

  2. March 18, 2011 12:23 pm

    lovely flower indeed. Worth a post! From the tiny thumbnail in my blog reader I first thought that cypres root on picture No1 was another kind of drop! Hihi.

  3. March 18, 2011 2:01 pm

    How lovely!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:13 pm

      happy to share!

  4. Margaret Lambert permalink
    March 18, 2011 5:21 pm

    Thank you for the not so faint and not undeserved praise of the snowdrop. They really are a most beautiful little flower.

  5. Margie permalink
    March 19, 2011 1:25 am

    I think the snowdrops were the most wonderful flowers we saw when we lived in the UK… except for the daffodils… and the roses… and all the other flowers I have trouble growing back here in Canada!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:14 pm

      We can grow lovely things in Scotland, but I must say that a good English garden is pretty hard to beat.

  6. March 19, 2011 5:24 pm

    For some reason snowdrops don’t do too well in my garden. Fortunately the dwarf iris type crocus and daffs do! So thanks for sharing your snowdrops with us!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:15 pm

      Ah well, we can’t grow crocuses as the blasted pheasants eat them all! I think they must taste like fresh salad after the long winter. So I’ll enjoy them in pictures of your garden, and you can enjoy our snowdrops!

  7. March 20, 2011 2:15 am

    Gorgeous pictures, thank you. We’re heading into autumn here in Melbourne & I’m contemplating where to plant some more snowdrops in the next few weeks.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:19 pm

      Well, I didn’t know that you could grow snowdrops in Australia – you learn something every day! 🙂

  8. March 20, 2011 8:40 pm

    They are very humble, aren’t they. I have never photographed them up close before and absolutely love these shots, especially the last one with the wee bowed head. Just lovely.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 21, 2011 10:14 am

      Thank you. It was an experiment which seems to have worked for a change!

  9. March 21, 2011 9:06 pm

    Ah, beautiful. I once heard that there is about two months between the first snowdrops flowering in the most southern part of the UK and the most northern – a friend suggested how lovely it would be to spend two months travelling the length of the UK following the snowdrops. I can but dream…

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 21, 2011 11:24 pm

      What a lovely idea. Last April we travelled by coach and car (thanks to the Icelandic volcano grounding all air travel) from the French Alps to Scotland. We were traveling away from spring, as it were: soft warmth in France gave way to fresh green shoots and daffodils in southern England and, by the time we were back home, we had the coming of spring to look forward to all over again.

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