Saturday, 12 February 2011


Common Snowdrop (Galanthus)
Copyright © It's all about ambivalence.

Recently I read that the UK cold winter, had delayed the snowdrops and that some have struggled to bloom. Nonetheless, for the past week or so, we have had warmer weather. Once again, our dainty little flowers are peeping in a cheeky way, to greet you, as you arrive or leave the house.

Our small collection of snowdrops, are a pleasing sight; a surprise when they return year after year at the front of our house. We may not be having spring-like weather just yet, but they are supposed to mark the start of spring. As they are the first flowers of the year to bloom, I believe, the arrival of snowdrops, signifies new beginnings and optimism for the forthcoming months.  After all, Christmas is over and done with, and we have all settled into 2011.

According to Snowdrops herald the arrival of the Celtic goddess, thus helping to reduce stress. She is considered to be the Goddess of Healing, fertility in nature, crops, livestock and protector as a mid-wife welcoming all new arrivals. I can see why, because you would have to be very hard-hearted not to stop and feel some connection to nature, when you see these flowers.  I love nature and the outdoors, but over the winter, those experiences are often lacking. These little flowers make me feel more connected with nature again.

I certainly believe in any ancient wisdom, or biblical references, that connect people and nature, or describe a spiritual experience, being at one with nature. Although we live in the middle of a large town, with cars or pedestrians rushing by, our snowdrops give a little bit of calm as you set off on your journey.  I may not have experienced true nature this morning, when taking my Snowdrops photo. All I had to do, was take a couple of steps out of the front door. Yet I had a little oasis, away from any Saturday morning comings and goings. 

The bulbs must have been planted 10 years ago, because the snowdrops were a surprise the first winter, we lived in our house. As you might expect, a lot of the garden was overgrown, with few nice plants or flowers.  Therefore it is nice to see that at least one thing, lives on, that the previous house-owner liked.

I am not alone, in feeling the optimism and hope, when spotting the iconic snowdrops. It’s no wonder the bulbs have become a cash crop and a visitor attraction.

As a child, I was taken to a lot of large public gardens in England. Then in my adult life, I preferred more open spaces in the hills or coast. Yet I am inspired to visit somewhere with a lot of snowdrops on show. Perhaps it would be a pleasing sight to see a bigger collection of snowdrops, which would also mark our first outing of the year, away from our town.
There are quite a few gardens in England, with a good display of Snowdrops. Some of which, must only be an hour or so, from where we live. Why not make a new tradition at the end of January or start of February?

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