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Snowdrops (Galanthus ) and Snowflakes (Leucojums). 

Have you got any stories or photos of snowdrops to share with us?

Here are some photos taken at High Valleyfield in Fife which is taking part in the Scottish Snowdrop Festival. Plenty of parking. Some tarmac surfaces but muddy in others. Visit Fife has details of organised volunteer led walks. Dogs allowed but do clean up.

 









Spring snowflake - Leucojum aestivum 30-50cms high likes to grow in moist semishade. Many strap like leaves. White rarely pink flowers in April and May. Petals tipped with green

 

SNOWDROP fact or fiction ?

When Eve was expelled from Eden,flowers failed to bloom, and she sat there, crying. An Angel caught a tear and breathed on it. It fell to Earth, and became the first Snowdrop. From this, Hope was born.

When God asked the snow to get some colour from all the flowers, all refused, except for the snowdrop, who obliged, hence, this is the first flower of the year.

Monks from Rome originally brought snowdrop bulbs to England.

They were grown in the gardens of monasteries, and achieved the name of “church flowers”. In time, their presence in churchyards were seen as unlucky, and they were thrown over the walls, to colonise the countryside.

The Winter Witch fought a duel with Lady Spring, who received a cut to her finger. Where the blood fell, when the snow melted, a snowdrop grew, and so Spring has henceforth always beat Winter.

It is unlucky to bring/grow snowdrops indoors? In some cultures, even the sight of a snowdrop in the garden heralds disaster/death.

How carefully do you look at your snowdrops?
 

Last year I bought 3 small pots of Galanthus nivalis for my little grand daughter to plant near her ‘house’ in their garden in Somerset. I noticed another pot with a strange looking snowdrop in it. The green on the petals did not match those of the G. nivalis on the label. I brought it home and planted those in my garden. I have since aquired a second oddity. Before going out to record the four distinct snowdrops  I now have, I looked at http://www.judyssnowdrops.co.uk/.  I was directed there by a friend last year and look at it now and again. It is a very interesting site.

Snowdrops grow so near the ground that only the fairies at the bottom of the garden are ever likely to scrutinise the inside of the flower as they pass by. I took some photos to show the delights of looking more closely. I’m not certain of the ID of the new snowdrop or the others but it has added interest to my garden.

First I think is Galanthus nivalis. It has a short spathe – the covering hood over the flower head. It has an long oval ovary with quite a long stem from spathe to flower. The sinus – the divided bit in the inner petals is quite pronounced and when the flowers open a bit it makes the inner petals look frilly. There is a distinct green mark on the inner petals.

1.

The inside of each petal is beautiful with a green stripe marking which does not come to the edge of the petal.

2.

My second snowdrop is the Galanthus nivalis flore pleno. The spathe is very short giving an excellent view of the large flowers. The stem from spathe to flower is stout and wrinkled at the ovary end. The ovary is long and medium green. The mark at the end of the outside of the inner petal is shaped like a little dutch cap with pronounced dots at either end of the horseshoe shape. It is pale green, as are the stripe marks on the inner side of the inner petals.

3.

These marks follow the petal shape and cover only about 2/3rds of the width of each petal but go the full length of the petal

4. 

And what of the stranger? A short spathe allows us to see the flower well. There is quite a short stem from spathe to flower and the ovary is round and a pale-ish green. There is a green blob at the ovary end of the inner petals with two smaller blobs, one either side of the sinus which gives the impression of a blushing face. The inside of the inner petals only have a horse shoe shaped green mark around the sinus. The twisting leaves of this snowdrop are quite different to my ‘common’ varieties. They are blue grey in colour and twice the normal width. Looking at them they remind me of tulip leaves

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What about this second little stranger. I could not resist it either.

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My latest snowdrop flowering on 16.11.13 This is Galanthus Reginae Olgae. It was discovered in Greece and named for the Queen of Greece who was Prince Philip's grandmother. It has a very pronounced green mark like an inverted V on the inner petals. It is one of the few autumn flowering snowdrops. sorry the image is not very clear but as it is the only one I have I was reluctant to pick it and bring it in out of the wind.  



Where are the snowdrops?

“Where are the snowdrops?” said the sun.

“Dead” said the frost, “Buried and lost, every one.”

“A foolish answer,” said the sun

“They did not die, asleep they lie, every one.
And I will awake them, I the sun,

Into the light, all clad in white, every one.”

“It’s rather dark in the earth today”

said one little bulb to its brother.

“But I thought that I felt a sunbeam’s ray.

We must strive and grow ‘til we find our way”

and they nestled close to each other.

They struggled and strived by day and by night,

‘til two little snowdrops in green and white

rose out of the darkness and into the light;

and softly kissed one another.

By Annie Mattheson born March 1853 died 1924






Suntrap Gardening Club meet at 7.15pm in the Common Room at  

Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled 21 Ravelrig Gait Balerno Edinburgh EH14 7NH

Details on getting there are on http://www.ravelrig-rda.org.uk

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