Friday, March 24, 2017

Stirrings of Galanthophilism

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing robin, sing:
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
~Christina Rossetti

a patch of snowdrops in snow
I must admit, for a long time I just didn't get the whole love of snowdrops.  Snowdrops are so ardently beloved that gardeners are known to become obsessed with them.  These passionate snowdrop collectors even have their own name: Galanthophiles (Galanthus being the botanical name for the genus of snowdrops).  However, when I lived down south and could have the bolder and brighter crocuses and daffodils blooming by January or February, this little plant was just so easy to overlook.


However, after having snowdrops in my northern garden and seeing just what these tiny, early-blooming flowers can do, I can't help but be impressed.


In the time since they began blooming at the end of February, my patch of snowdrops has suffered through two snow storms and multiple days of below freezing temperatures.


One month later, they look a little worse for wear but are impressively still in bloom, opening their little battered wings during sunny warm spells in invitation to precocious pollinators.


Having leaves with specially hardened tips to break through freezing soil and containing special anti-freeze proteins to prevent ice crystals from forming and destroying the flowers, this surprising powerhouse of a plant is built to withstand that rocky transition from winter to spring.  The little blooms are even fragrant.


I might end up one of those enthusiastic, snowdrop-loving Galanthophiles yet.

27 comments:

  1. We've got our doubts about spring down here, too. I like the green tips on the Snowdrop flowers -- unexpected.

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    1. I've seen pictures of ones with yellow tips that are quite cute. Before you know it, I'll be collecting different varieties!

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  2. They certainly are amazing, aren't they? I'm impressed with the angle on your photos--you must have been flat on your stomach getting those shots. Nice! I have a couple of patches of Snowdrops that were covered with leaf mulch and I didn't even see them until I raked away the leaves. Nice to find those surprise blooms!

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    1. Ha, I'm not that dedicated when it comes to cold and snow! Thankfully with my phone camera and with my regular camera I can display the picture I am taking on the screen, so I just have to crouch and hold the camera down low. These plants are so little it doesn't take too much to cover them!

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  3. Nice to see them holding up so well. There is hope!
    Here we are still waiting for the earliest flowers to re-emerge from the snow. With the rain and higher temperatures it will hopefully happen over the next few days and we can get this spring back on track!

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    1. We were forecasted to get rain yesterday and today. I was looking forward to the rain to melt off the rest of the snow, but sadly yesterday's rain was snow instead! Hopefully later today!

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  4. They are lovely. Having always considered growing season to start at the end of May where I live, I am just starting to discover late winter/early spring blooms. Thank you for the information!

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    1. Oh, I just looked at your subheading and realize we are both in MA. I'm in zone 6b. Howdy neighbor!

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    2. So great to 'meet' another MA blogger! Once i moved up here from down south, I look for any plant I can find to extend our shorter flowering season!

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    3. Yes, Sweet Woodruff! I love it because it's so easy to grow and a great filler.

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  5. Be careful, it's a slippery slope! I started out with just one 'special snowdrop'. It was going to be one new one every year. This year it was two. You can see where this is going..

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  6. They are impressive aren't they? So delicately looking and yet so tough.

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    1. I'm impressed with just how tough such little flowers are!

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  7. Before we moved out of our last house Myra insisted that I pot up Snowdrops. Well, it was a further two months before getting into our new house. The Snowdrops had been left in a dark container all this time and were a pitiful sight of elongated yellow shoots. A couple of weeks outdoors and they recovered beautifully. Like yourself, I now see the humble Snowdrop in a different light.

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    1. Impressive! Tough little things!

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  8. Snowdrops are one of my favorites (but then I say this to all Northern spring flowers ;-) ) And there are so many varieties to get addicted to.

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    1. After the winter, we are just so glad to see some blooms! It's impossible not to love those early bloomers!

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  9. I appreciate Snowdrops, but I could never be a Snowdrop fanatic. They are lovely when they spread into great masses.

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    1. I think it could cost a good deal of money to be a huge fanatic. Some of those little flowers go for big bucks for special varieties!

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    2. Very true. Galanthaphiles get very excited about what look to me to be very minor Snowdrop variations. I'm happy with plain old Galanthus nivalis.

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  10. I like snowdrops too, but I have not yet developed the addiction!

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    1. It's probably safer to stay away :) There are so many flowers to get addicted to!

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  11. You've just added a new word to my vocabulary, Indie:) I'm not a big fan of snowdrops, but I do get excited every year when I see them blooming, a sure sign that winter won't last much longer.

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    1. I honestly prefer other spring bulbs and plants as well, but the dependable snowdrops are so early, it is very exciting when they bloom!

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  12. Snowdrops are pretty swell in northern gardeners. You'll be a crazed collector before you know it! Love the Rossetti poem!

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  13. Hello Indie!
    May you find the renewal of hope, health, love and the spirit of God. Happy Easter to you and your lovely family.

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