Drops of Spring
- by Sarah Holton
Ok, so it is a very drab and wet day here and looking out of the Dragonfly and Blossom office window is it hard to believe it was so gloriously sunny yesterday but lighter evenings, slightly warmer temperatures and the first signs of flora and fauna are merging from the ground, all signs that spring has sprung and at last winter is officially on its way out.
Look at these beauties I gathered up from my garden. Bringing a little bit of 'Spring' in to the home.
Snowdrops are such a hopeful sight giving us the first indication spring is arriving and the 'Galanthus' (snowdrop; Greek gála "milk", ánthos "flower") have been known since the earliest times under various names but were named Galanthus in 1753. I wonder if they were as cherished back then?
People often don’t realise that there are quite a few species of snowdrop, up to approximately 20 types across the globe! In recent years, these plants have been experiencing a huge surge of interest with many more gardeners and their gardens being overcome by ‘Galanthomania’
Unbelievably the record for the most expensive snowdrop cost someone £1,390 (plus £4 postage)! which they purchased on eBay. Galanthus Plicatus ‘ Golden Fleece ’ is a tiny little snowdrop that took an individual called Joe Sharman 10 years to create. It does look rather pretty, with lime-green splashes on its outer petals.
Did you know ...
They have medicinal properties. Snowdrops and other plants from the Amaryllidaceae family have a naturally occurring substance in them called galantamine. This is sold as a medication for Alzheimer’s disease.
Snowdrops are a symbol of hope. The flower, perhaps unsurprisingly given its status as one of the first signs of new spring life, has come to symbolize hope and consolation as well as purity.
The plants and flowers are a natural thermometer. Since the 1950s Kew Gardens have been monitoring the growth of snowdrops. In the mid-part of the 20th century they would generally appear in February, since the 1990’s they have been arriving increasingly quickly. These days they are sometimes found as early in the year as January, an indication of the UK’s changing climate.
A little reminder for you ...we must all be mindful when admiring these beauties in their plenty - under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to dig up any wildflowers anywhere in the UK. You can still pick a flower or collect a few seeds or take a small cutting of common wildflowers, but only if there are plenty of plants there.
Whether we are admiring the delicate white drops on our spring time walks or bringing our own little flowers indoors, they will bring a little reminder every day that winter is nearly done and sunshine is on its way. And we say hooray to that :)