In search of snowdrops

7 Feb

Snowdrops.  Like fairy bells, all of white, suddenly sprung up ringing in the woods.  They signal spring, even when you find them in freezing temperatures on frozen-mud strolls.

I first noticed them in a graveyard in Northleach.  Not even realizing what they were, I thought it was remarkable to see dainty, elegant flowers decorating graves in the middle of winter.
IMG_3432elkstoneWe saw them again in Elkstone.

IMG_3487elkstoneI still didn’t realize their significance.  But look how they mound up like clouds and float over the carpet of green.

IMG_3565burford2012These were found last year in the Burford graveyard.

20130207_143437I visited them again, this year.  Has my eye for composition changed?  My pleasure in seeing these blooms has increased.

20130207_102850Finding snowdrops in a wild(ish) wood is not as easy at it sounds.  They hide under leaves and behind bracken.  And when you do see them, their first-person magic is hard to capture — at least with my poor skills.  It’s hard to describe how sharply white and green they appear, in contrast to the sear browns and grey of the woods.

20130207_143749I’m glad to have found snowdrops again this year — even gladder to know they mean spring is coming, and to value them appropriately.   They are only out for a few more weeks, so catch them while you may.


LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

~William Wordsworth, 1819

Pensive monitor of fleeting years, indeed. I’m promising myself I’ll visit that same grave in Burford again next year, and mark the end of my cotswold winters in snowdrop blossoms.


15 Responses to “In search of snowdrops”

  1. Zazamataz February 8, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    I imagine it’s hard to get the contrast – they’re small and you need to big picture to see the brown around them. BUT, I think your photos are lovely. I particularly like the last one. I have not seen the crocuses or daffodils sticking their heads up yet here. So I’m jealous! Also glad that it looks like it’ll be an early spring.

    • Monique February 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      I don’t know if these signal an early spring. Just … English spring? I wish I could do them justice in photographs. Next year! 😉

  2. aubreyepp February 8, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    The “modest grace” of the snowdrop makes it a difficult subject to photograph. But they are SO beautiful.

    I thought of you and your winter blues the moment I spied the first snowdrop of the season in our neighbor’s garden walking Ella to school a few weeks ago. Spring is on it’s way! Bring on those bright jonquils!!

    • Monique February 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      What a lovely comment. Your breach-of-fresh-air photos inspired this search. 🙂

  3. unncle Jack February 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    To our great delight the Winter Dafney and Honeysuckle are just begining to bloom in the mountains, a sure perlude to spring.


    • Monique February 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Oh, honeysuckle blooming in the mountains — sounds like the start of a poem. Enjoy your signs of spring.

  4. RMW February 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    I remember from my Englaish childhood the snow drops and then the crocuses heralding spring… it meant pretty soon we would be putting away the long grey woolly socks and being able to wear the short white cotton socks once again!

    • Monique February 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      Yes! I have a stack of white ankle socks for my girls, all ready to go! Can’t wait to shed our winter ‘skins’ of jeans or long tights.

  5. February 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Such beautiful pictures, showing the way the Man-made and Nature endure together, through the seasons, evolving, aging, weathering, surviving. Thank you. The pictures created very emotive moods for me.

    • Monique February 17, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      I’m glad! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Cynthia February 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Gorgeous!!! Thank you for showing us. I’d almost forgotten how green the grass is there, even in the winter.

    • Monique February 17, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      It *is* remarkable. Even when it’s cold and dark, it is still green.


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    […] Trust ‘s Lodge Park and Sherbourne Estate pinged the radar when we started looking for snowdrops.  The Lodge is a popular wedding venue and summertime […]

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    […] forest walk to find snowdrops was of mixed success.  Bluebells have suffered this year, as well, with England’s strange drawn-out winter and […]

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    […] now and through the next couple of weeks.  If you’re hunting for these (as I have been in previous years), check them […]

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