Snowdrops

An early start for flowering plants.

Since the dreaded lockdown when life for so many changed forever, I have been largely based in the UK and during winter months working part-time in the grounds of, what used to be a stately home. There, I am lucky to able to observe the emergence of some of the year’s first flowers of the year. In particular, the Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). Snowdrops alongside some other early flowers and plants, are a sight for sore eyes after the cold and barren month of December. They lift the mood with the anticipation of much more to come.

This year I saw my first snowdrop flower on the 21st of January and I suppose it’s always about that time each year give to take a week or two. A question that always ‘springs’ to mind is: If Spring starts on the 20th of March (2023), then why is the white flowered snowdrop often described as one of the first signs of Spring? Let me know below if you have the answer.

Snowdrops favor damp soil. Their habitats are usually woodlands but they can be found in grasslands, parks and gardens too. In Berkhamsted, I usually see our snowdrops on the Common or nearby to woodlands. At my work place it sits under the mixed woodland beside Three-Cornered Leak (Allium triquetrum) which provide a garlicy flavour to my stir-fries at this time of year. Incidentally snowdrops are bot edible, in fact they are poisonous and are likely to make you sick if consumed so don’t get them confused.   

Snowdrops grow from a tiny bulb erect to 15cm in height and then lean over to produce their bell shaped flower. The first signs are the green shoots that emerge from the ground, these are a waxy green colour and narrow. 

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