It had to come along sooner or later . . .
#006 : Galanthus nivalis
The mild weather has meant a relatively early flowering for the Snowdrops in our garden. I wanted to write this post in January, but last week was very busy, I realise now that the perfect day for a blogpost about Snowdrops or Candlemas Bells was yesterday, the 2nd February, Candlemas Day.
nivalis : means 'of the snow'
. . . milk-white flowers that appear in the snow
For some the allure of this diminutive white flower, that appears in the coldest time of the year for a few weeks, is irresistible; it is the tiniest of variations of petal markings that sends them into raptures of delight. If you happen to spot a group of people squatting down, peering at the ground in a shady wooded garden, they may be Galanthophiles. There are specialist nurseries such as this one that I regularly drive past on the edge of the Fens, selling named varieties and some people will pay high sums to obtain the rarest of Snowdrops.
I don't consider myself to be a Galanthophile, but I can appreciate the beauty of the flowers and their subtle perfume. I actually prefer the single blooms, we have a few different ones in our garden but I've lost their labels. There are far more of the double ones (Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Flora Pleno'), I suppose that because they have been in the garden for longer they have self-seeded and spread. Taking close-up photos of the flowers is very tricky, they like to grow in shady spots and the slightest breeze makes them quiver. I picked two Snowdrops to photograph indoors, both were doubles . . .
These are flowers from two different clumps of Snowdrops, you can see a slight difference between them . . . that's what Galanthophiles get shivers of excitement about . . . tiny variations in the little green mark on the inner petals and the size and shape of the ovary behind the flower.
Because the flower hangs downward you have to turn them over to appreciate the pretty rosette of white and green petals and the yellow anthers tucked inbetween.
TO A SNOWDROP by William Wordsworth
Written in 1819
Lone Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
Maybe that's the attraction for a Galanthophile . . . a once a year fix! Miss your chance and you'll have a wait a whole year to see your precious blooms again.
PS: Follow the 100 Flowers on Pinterest