Despite the Chilly weather recently, the first signs of Spring are showing through the cold earth.
Put your warm coat on, your hat, coat, gloves and warm walking boots and go for a walk to see if you can find tiny snowdrops poking their delicate heads through the soil.
These pretty, delicate flowers can be seen in woodlands, in ditches and under trees, their green leaves and white flowers signalling a burst of new life to start off the year.
Kedleston Hall a National Trust Property in Derbyshire, only about 35 minutes drive from us, has some 800 acres of Parkland where swathes of snowdrops can be seen . The 18th Century mansion is closed at present, but the grounds are open (you have to book), where you can walk with your dog or just enjoy the sweeping countryside and the snowdrops! Above all, it is the feel-good factor of the beautiful vistas dotted with white delicate blooms, that lift the spirits.
Some useful facts about snowdrops.
1. Snowdrops are from the same family as amaryllis. They were officially named Galanthus nivalis in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish Botanist. It means ‘with milk-white flowers’ The epithet nivalis means ‘snowy’.
2 There are over 19 wild species of snowdrop, they are all white.
3. Snowdrops were named after earrings not drops of snow. In the 15th,16th and 17th centuries, women often wore dangly white drop-shaped earrings known as ‘eardrops’.
4. Snowdrops contain Galantamine a naturally occurring substance which is used to treat Alzheimers.
5. In the language of flowers the small and fragile snowdrop flower is a symbol of rebirth and overcoming obstacles in life.
6.It is a symbol of sympathy and caring for someone. The snowdrop flowers are here to remind us to take care of people we love and never let them down in moments when they need us most.
7.It is a symbol of hope and fighting for your future. A reminder that there is light at the end of the tunnel. During these difficult days, we must hold on to that hope and know there will be an end to the difficulties that we are facing.
8. Did you know that snowdrops contain a natural antifreeze? they are proteins that prevent ice crystals forming in their cells and killing them. This protects the nectar. When the temperature rises, the plant comes back to life and when it rises above 10C the bumble bees come out to feed on the snowdrop nectar!
Why not have a winter bike ride along the Churnet Valley towards Alton, or Dimmingsdale? Where you can see snowdrops poking their little heads through the woodland. Have a takeaway coffee and cake at the Ramblers Retreat and cycle back!