Monday, 12 January 2015

In praise of Snowdrops

Whilst I have been out and about recently, I've noticed the first stalwart Snowdrops peeping through the soil, braving the winter weather.  They bring such joy, and hope too, on the darkest of January days.  With them, golden showers of Catkins in the hedgerows - some just starting to grow, others in full tassel.

On our way back from Malvern recently, the large leaves of Butterbur were breaking through the soil and ahead of them are their flowers, which resemble - I have to say - a pink loo brush!  Medicinally it has been used down the centuries to treat lung complaints, fevers and spasms (it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic), and there is some indication that it may be useful in the control of migraines and allergic rhinitis.  The name of the plant derives from the fact that farmer's wives used its leaves to wrap butter in to take to market.

Many thanks to The Orkney Book of Wild Flowers blogspot, where I have found (and copied) this image.

There are many different types of Snowdrops, and when I'm walking along the lanes, I try and check out whether they are recent plantings or the older type, which are nearly always doubles, in cottage hedgerows in this area.  There are so many variants with different green markings on the flowers.  I am happy for them merely to be a touch of spring in winter.

I will have to walk up the valley in the next couple of weeks and see how the Snowdrops in these photos are faring.  It's a little early for them yet - I think these photos were taken in February.

There is another new post over on Dust on the Nettles (sidebar).


  1. Nothing beats the first snowdrops does it? I also look for the first of my purple striped crocus and then for the first marsh marigold on the beck side. Then I know Spring is not too far away.

  2. My habits are similar to yours Pat - those are my markers of spring too.

  3. Oh so lovely to see the snowdrops coming out.

  4. Lovely to hear of snowdrops appearing - not seen any flowers around here yet. Its interesting to read about Butterbur - have been fascinated by this plant since seeing it as a child in The Observers's Book of Wildflowers. I know of one location locally where it occurs but the last 2 years I have visited too late to see the flowers in all their glory - must try and time it better this year!

  5. Thanks Suzie and R. Robin - they are going to be a bit battered today I think, but they give a nod to the spring, and I have so many bulbs coming through too, so that is always cheering.