You’ve heard it before, perhaps.
I love snowdrops.
Snowdrops (galanthus) bloom well before the spring equinox, often within six weeks after the first day of winter. As the years have gone by, I have found their first blooms as early as a few days after Christmas, and as late as the second week of January. I watch in anticipation through the late fall, as the leaf tips first emerge from the soil, and then gradually move higher, and extend their still-sheathed buds.
As the days start to be a little longer, the buds leave their wrappers, they hang from their stems, white drops, waiting for that perfect, still day, sunny, in the forties, maybe even a little warmer, when they can dare to open their flowers.
This year, 2013, the first snowdrop blooms came on the sixth of January.
Cold weather and snow don’t kill them. The blossoms close up, the plants wait for the next good day.
And by the end of February or early March, those first few flowers are joined by hundreds of others. In a few weeks more there will be thousands of blossoms. The air will be full of their scent, it’s a sweet perfume, which, if you’ve got enough snowdrops, will fill the air in your yard. If it’s a warm enough day, wakening insects will find the flowers, and your yard becomes not just aromatic, but abuzz with bees.
Let’s look more closely.
The clumps of white, accented by green, have individual flowers, suspended on gracefully curved stems.
The massed flowers meld together. In a way looking at snowdrops is like looking at a herd of zebras, because at first it’s difficult to pick out particular blossoms. With looking, individuals appear.
Notice that the downfacing trumpets have inverted green “V” markings. The warmer and sunnier the weather, the more outspread are the outer three petals.
Here is Beauty, in green and white.
Let’s get closer to the earth, and look up into the flower.
The inside of the trumpet has even more detail.
And there’s another color, yellow, which is impossible to see if you just look down on the plants.
Soon the bees will come.