Snow Drops at Rowallane Garden
When little else in the bulb world has woken up the snowdrop will defy the cold damp soil. Find out how Snow Drops are a symbol of the new season of life returning to the sunlight and warmth.
As the sleeping bulbs sense a warmer temperature in the air they begin to stir, and the green shoots have reinforced tips that help them pierce through snow and frost. Snowdrops have three larger outer petals and three inner petals characteristically marked with green; this inner ring provides a feed of nectar for early flying bees.
It’s the one plant which everyone knows from an early age, the botanical name Galanthus relates to its colour and means milk flower. Common names in the past also include Fair Maid’s of February, Candlemas Bells and Mary’s Tapers.
The snowdrop particularly symbolizes hope in the language of flowers, but look closer again into its natural history spirit. In pagan times the Imbolc festival (February 2nd) was held, where snowdrops were regarded as the symbol of the festival, this was superseded by Candlemas on the same date, when previous event days were adopted by the new religion to convert the pagan in to Christians.
The Christian religion has long associated itself with the snowdrop – Eve after being banished from the garden of Eden sat weeping, an angel comforted her, it was snowing and the angel caught a snowflake in his hand and blew on it, when it dropped to the earth it formed the first snowdrop and hope was born.
The snowdrop is one of the most beloved of flowers; they appear very delicate with simple pure white flowers like dainty bells, but appearances are deceptive as they are as tough as old boots and often remain flowering even when blanketed in snow, covered in a frost, or moving in a gale.
Today we see the snowdrop as a herald of spring in Britain where is has naturalized, but in its native lands in Europe some scientists have examined the healing benefits where they have discovered that the chemicals produced in the bulb Galanthamin has slowed down the effect of Alzheimer’s disease recently. Small wonder snowdrops stand for so many concepts, from purity, simplicity, and grace to hope and fortitude in the face of adversity.