Saturday, 18 February 2012

Snowdrops

Driving back from Malmesbury yesterday it was lovely to see copses and woods carpeted in snowdrops. I think they are lovely but because of supersitions they are not always liked. When you see them in woods they can be a sign of an old dwelling ,mainly because they are not native and are thought to have been brought over by Italian monks in the 15th century. This could be why they are often in churchyards and why snowdrops are thought to be unlucky if cut and brought into the house. Although at the same time some people believe they purify the home.

Back at my home I only have a few in my garden, I'm sure I had a lot more but I may have disturbed them last year. Hopefully because my garden gets the cold winds most of them have decided it's not warm enough !Their roots stay alive all year so they can be damaged so It's advisable to move them when they are still in the green. Last year a rare bulb was sold on Ebay for £37 !
One story associated with them is that an angel wanting to give Adam and Eve hope after being sent out of the garden of Eden, turned snowflakes into snowdrops ,a sign that Spring will come.
Their latin name Galanthus means 'milk flower' but they are also known as dewdrops, death flower, drooping bells, Mary's tapers, Candlemass bells , Eves tears, snow piercers and my favourite 'the fair maid of February.'
Linking with Candlemass and my middle name, is the 2nd February St Brigid;s day, the gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smithcrafts,.The lighting of candles representing the coming of the sun. In the southern hemisphere modern pagans celebrate it on the 1st August,my Birthday.The following link tells you how to make St Brigids cross. http://www.irelandseye.com/irish/people/saints/brigid_cross.shtm
Sudeley Castle
Wisley is the home of more than 350 species and cultivars-The National collection of Galanthus.(milk Flower ) . Locally as well as in the wild they can be seen at Painswick Rococco gardens and Colesbourne. At the moment there is a video on the Painswick site but it is very wobbly and might make you feel a bit odd ! If you'd like to buy snowdrops in the green, here are a few links for you...I haven't bought any from these sites but I'm sure they will be fine.
http://www.naturescape.co.uk/acatalog/Spring_Bulbs.html?gclid=CMzFlJHBp64CFQQKfAodFB_Y_A#a472

http://lockerz.com/s/187325193 Photo by Quinny

http://www.judyssnowdrops.co.uk/

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