snowdrops thick amongst the woods

woodland snowdrops

on the banks of the last British stronghold – I’m trespassing here (only it was twenty five years ago, so peace, all gamekeepers and property owners) to see them on a February Sunday afternoon, hoping the gamekeeper is snoozing in front of his tv after roast pork or pheasant and yorkshire pudding.


we duck under the wire, cross the plough, and climb the steep sides, delicately treading in between the flowers – they cover one section of the massive ramparts of Stanwick fort, thrown up as the Romans advanced, which run for at least four miles around this tiny hamlet, lumps and bumps everywhere – goodness knows who planted snowdrops here, they are as much incomers as the Romans, but have stayed and become as British as the robin.

stanwick church

nearby they line the banks of the Tees at Whorlton, where it flows under the old suspension bridge


and past the lido; when it floods there are loose bulbs everywhere and I admit to taking a few for a friend’s garden.

my snowdrops last year

a delicate honey scent when you bring them indoors

my snowdrps this year

I think of monks (but here I think my imagination runs away with me) planting them “in the green” and my own garden edged with nodding white drops this month, perhaps the best they’ve ever been, under the trees I put in fifteen years ago – hard work squatting or kneeling in wet grass, clumping them up – they like best to be in company – though when the clumps get big you should split them up.

mine again

woodland flowers needing shade and rich leaf compost.


further information on snowdrops – they are not native, and were probably introduced in the early fifteen hundreds – making it just possible that monks would have planted some   –

from Wikipedia …..

The genus Galanthus is native to Europe and the Middle East, from Spain, France and Germany in the west through to Iran in the east. It has become naturalized in other parts of Europe (Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands) as well as in eastern Canada and the United States.

Galanthus nivalis is the best-known and most widespread representative of the genus Galanthus. It is native to a large area of Europe, stretching from the Pyrenees in the west, through France and Germany to Poland in the north, Italy, Northern Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and European Turkey. It has been introduced and is widely naturalised elsewhere. Although it is often thought of as a British native wild flower, or to have been brought to the British Isles by the Romans, it was probably introduced around the early sixteenth century and is currently not a protected species in the UK.

Most other Galanthus species are from the eastern Mediterranean, but several are found in southern Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Galanthus fosteri comes from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and maybe Israel.

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