Snowdrops: alias ‘early birds’


Snowdrops are the first to flower in the garden. Even while the garden is covered in snow, their first shoots start emerging from the ground in January, followed by their snowy white flowers. What people often don’t know – but what they feel – is that snowdrops are symbolic of hope, awakening and the expectation of spring. They let us know that spring is really on the way.

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Snowdrops could also be called ‘early birds’, but the scientific name for their genus is a lot more sophisticated: Galanthus. This name was derived from the Greek words gala, that means ‘milk’ and anthos, that means ‘flower’. There are more than 75 species but the two most important ones are Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus elwesii.

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How about you? Would you like to be enjoying the first flowers to bloom in the garden? If so, plant these little beauties there now. Small flower bulbs should be planted three times as deep as they are tall. They’ll also grow very well in grass. So why not brighten up your lawn until you mow it for the first time? If you would like to know more about snowdrops, you could watch this video.

Interesting facts

  • The flower of a snowdrop looks white, but it’s actually colourless. When you squeeze a petal, it turns transparent. This is because the tiny air bubbles that reflect the light have disappeared.
  • Did you know that snowdrops smell like honey? This scent comes from insects that collect pollen from the flowers.
  • Snowdrops can generate their own heat: up to 10 °C. This ensures that any snow around the flower will melt. Isn’t that smart?
  • The Snowdrop is a good flower bulb for naturalising. It produces more bulbs every year, so the result is more flowers.