Snowdrops promise better times

A cluster of snowdrops
A cluster of snowdrops

I am always aware there may be Country Corner readers who don’t get out and about as much as they would like to, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

I would hate anyone to go through a spring without seeing the annual display of snowdrops.

It may surprise some of you to be told this very common and widespread plant is not native to the British Isles.

Said to have been first introduced by 15th century monks for use in the herbal gardens of monasteries, the humble snowdrop has had plenty of time to colonise the nation.

Later, the Victorians helped in its spread by their practice of planting snowdrops on graves. Maybe they thought the drooping habit of the flower made it appear to be grieving?

In fact snowdrops droop to keep their pollen dry in the faint hope of an early bee coming along. Maybe this association with graves is why it’s thought unlucky to bring the plant indoors. To do so was to risk your hens going off the lay or risk your butter becoming discoloured!

Nowadays the humble snowdrop has given its name to its own particular season, “Snowdrop Time”.

Much as we admire the plant for brightening an otherwise drab season, perhaps most folk welcome the snowdrop for its promise of better times ahead?

In the woods the first wild primroses of spring are already flowering. Soon those pristine white snowdrop petals will take on faint brown edges before returning to nothing more than green leaves. All too soon Snowdrop Time will be gone for another year.