Tuesday, 7 February 2017

IMBOLC FLOWERS

Galanthus nivalis, commonly called snowdrop, is a bulbous perennial which is native to Italy and southwestern Asia. By the mid-19th century snowdrops were being introduced into other countries, some being brought back from the Crimean War (1853-56). Here in Ireland the Altamonte Gardens in Carlow have almost certainly grown snowdrops since the 1850s and today they have over a hundred different varieties, some of which flower twice a year.

Galanthus nivalis - the common Snowdrop

Our first clump of common snowdrop appeared on the third week of January, early this year because of the mildish winter. They sit at the edge of a large shrub in the front garden and are well protected from the winds.



Galanthus. S Arnott

I have been keeping a watchful eye on a handful of some rather special scented Galanthus bulbs which came into flower ironically on February 1st, the First Day of Spring here in Ireland. These particular ones, Galanthus. S Arnott, have only been recently developed. They were a gift, sent to us by Mister Edd who is a Botanical Artist and friend of Mrs H. I potted them up by his request and today noticed a sweet scent from the flowers. Unfortunately my sense of smell is not keen enough to differentiate between perfumes but I have been informed they are perfumed like sweet honeysuckle. 
Mrs H will go out tomorrow with her superior nostrils!

I must admit that since writing and researching for this blog post my knowledge of Snowdrops has dramatically increased, for I never ever suspected that were more than one sort.

http://www.rareplants.co.uk/?s=galanthus&post_type=product

https://wheresmybackpack.com/2016/02/27/snowdrop-festival/

23 comments:

  1. They are beautiful. I think it is snowdrops my neighbour has in her field. I was going to take a photo. Beautiful white spring flowers .....I do prefer to see them outside and not in a vase in the house. And the smell of course is toxicating

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    1. I have never seen them put into a vase LA and it would have to be very small because they are only about three inches high. As for the smell, well there isn't until you get your nose actually into the flower.
      Many thanks for the comment.

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    2. Hmmmmm these might not be snowdrops then. I will have to take a photo and Google. Thanks for the input

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    3. You are very welcome and good luck :-)

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  2. THere was one clump in the local cemetery that was out in late December

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  3. Hi Mel - they are lovely aren't they ... always loved snowdrops - wonderful to see the swathes up the banks and by the roadsides, or in the woods and yes in gardens - except I don't have one now - very sadly. Nature is amazing and gives us true wonders ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I agree with you Hilary. Nature in all of its glory is truly amazing from sunrise to sunrise and throughout the changing seasons it is there for us to admire. Thank you for the comment my friend.

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  4. Love them too Mel!!! so nice to see some bare earth.. we have a couple feet of snow to look at with another storm going through right now.

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    1. Hello Gwen !
      We are very fortunate over here on this island in that we do not get much snow and where we live hardly anything at all. Lots of cold rain interspersed with frosty mornings and strong winds at other times.
      The snowdrops are our first flowers and then the daffodils come in and they really do herald Spring.

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  5. Snowdrops are my sign the earth is waking up. I just love them! We've had quite a cold winter here, so they haven't appeared in my little garden yet. We have more freezing temperatures to come too, so it might be a while! I'll let you know!

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    1. I must admit that you are correct Val that the earth is waking up and these dainty flowers are a sign of that.
      This morning Mrs H spotted a yellow crocus that has flowered, also few of our daffodils have sprouted too but it will be awhile before they bloom. All to do with an increase in ground temperature rather than air temp I believe, because the last three mornings there has been a sharp frost followed by sunshine.

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  6. I used to look forward to seeing our snowdrops in Connecticut. But I don't miss them enough to move somewhere they can grow!

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    1. Good to hear from you Mitch!
      Agreed that they don't grow in your part of Spain however, I have an idea that they do grow in Northern Spain, the Pyrenees and eastwards.

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  7. I didn't know either, I knew nothing of their origin either but we have those and some more, now resting under a thick layer of snow. Did you actually crawl on your knees to get those lovely pictures and is it really spring on Ireland, that is nice!! Thank you, Melvyn, nice post and nice header! They have a fragrance?? Snowdrops? Hm. I was wondering about the header, that wooden sidewalk, reminds me of the ones they build on the moores further up north. It looks desolate and lovely!!

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    1. Thank you for the comment Solveig. I rarely go on my knees these days, all I do is stoop down for the photos that I need, the camera does the rest. The first day of Spring is February 1st, that does not mean that the fullness of Spring is here yet by any means....
      The board walks are laid to protect the plant life in areas of botanical and scientific interest to protect the plant life and make it easier for visitors who wish to enjoy the scenery.

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  8. They seem to spread themselves freely, although you are supposed to plant them in the green, but you find them in the fields as well. A dainty little flower against the crumpled remains of autumn leaves that still hold on.

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    1. Thank you for your interest Thelma. Last night I had a long conversation with an expert, a Galanthphile who told me that planting snowdrops in the green is a bit of a fable... and that they thrive/multiply very well in pots of Potting Compost and in under trees where there is plenty of leaf mould and light.

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  9. Spring flowers up. How wonderful. I didn't know snowdrops had a scent.
    I enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Ha'h yes they do indeed and the best time is when the petals have splayed outwards, of course it is not a very strong perfume and you do have get on your knees and put your nose very close to the flower.
    Thank you for commenting and showing an interest.

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    1. Sandra Here is another snowdrop you might like to know about : Galanthus Rosemary Burnham
      This is one of the loveliest snowdrops. Beautiful, fine jade-green lines cover the outer segments with the area in between the lines shaded in the same green, superbly complementing the strong, virtually solid green inner mark which covers the inner petals. The flowers are noticeably fragrant in warm still air.
      [see link to rareplants above]

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