A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Monday 25 February 2013

Monday Mourning ~ Snowdrops

The Snowdrops ~ Galanthus Nivalis ~ are at their best right now and in abundance in the Churchyard of St. Mary's in the village of Burwell in Cambridgeshire.

Love Flower, hemmed in with snows,
And white as they But hardier for, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest...
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring
And pensive monitor of fleeting years.

Snowdrops are symbolic of consolation as this Legend of their origins tell : 
Eve sat weeping after being expelled from the Garden of Eden because no flowers had bloomed since the Autumn and snow had fallen ceaselessly. An angel came and comforted her and as the angel spoke, he caught a snowflake in his hand and he breathed upon it, it then fell to earth as the first snowdrop. As the flower bloomed, Hope was born.

A German legend tells a different snowdrop story : 
When God made all things on the Earth, He asked the 'Snow' to go to the flowers and get a little color from them. One by one the flowers refused saddened by the other flowers refusals, it asked a snowdrop to give it a little of it's colour and the snowdrop agreed. As a reward, the 'Snow' allows the little flower to bloom first whenever spring shows.

Monks brought snowdrop bulbs from Rome to England and were the first to plant them around old monasteries. 
Because of this snowdrops became known as the church flower. Traditionally on Candlemas ~ 2nd February the image of the Virgin Mary was taken down and a handful of snowdrop blooms were scattered in its place. 

However a single flower indicates impending death and it should never be brought into the house.

Interestingly in October 2010, the UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence ~ NICE ~ authorised the use of a number of drugs believed to slow the progress of early onset Alzheimer's disease. One of these is Galantamine which was first used, in eastern Europe in the 1950s, to deal with memory impairment. 
NICE said that recent research had shown a cost effective benefit from the drugs.
Galantamine can be extracted from a number of genera, including Galanthus, though Snowdrops are not one of the plants used commercially.

St. Mary's, Burwell.

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