8 Jan 2012

A Symphony of Snowdrops

The Snow-drop,
Winter's timid child
Awakes to life
Bedew'd with tears

Mary Robinson


The white purity of the snowdrop brings the promise of new light, and the waning of winter.


Galanthus - Milk Flower
Most flower before the vernal equinox (21st March) but certain species flower in early spring and late autumn.


Although it is often thought of as a British native wild flower, or to have been brought to the British Isles by the Romans, it was probably introduced around the early 16th century, from Europe, where it is native to a large area.


According to legend the snowdrop became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden.  When Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end, an angel appeared.  She transofrmed some of the snowflakes into snowdrops proving that winters do eventually turn into spring.


Snowdrops are also known as candlemas bells.  "The snowdrop, in purest white array, first rears her head on Candlemas Day" (2nd February) which is the Christian festival of lights.  This marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.


I began my story early, feeling as I fear, the weakness of a human love for days.  Disowned by memory, ere the birth of spring.  Planting my snowdrops among winter snows.
Wm. Wordsworth
Bank Hall, Bretherton, Lancs.
Celebrated as a sign of spring, snowdrops can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they have been naturalised.

The Snowdrop Fairy
The snowdrop,  said to resemble an angel on a snowflake, blooms in the bleak days of winter and gives assurance that the earth is still alive
Snowdrop Fairy Secret:  All white flowers have supernatural powers because they are inhabited by moon spirits that appear under a full moon.  Do not bring the snowdrop indoors lest you unleash the spirits in your home.
All pictures courtesy of Google