Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Monday, 11 February 2013

Against the Odds: Snowdrops


Today's new blog series Against the Odds was inspired by the reaction to my recent Wordless Wednesday post Tenacity Required. Jane Powers remarked she loves seeing 'all those roof and wall opportunists' and I realised I've been subconsciously collecting (and sometimes blogging) pictures of them for quite a while.

Today's picture is from Painswick Rococo garden which Helen*, Victoria and I visited last week. The snowdrops there are on top form at the moment, so it's well worth a visit if you're in the area. We were all intrigued how the pictured snowdrops had managed to self seed themselves (I'm assuming this is the case) into a wall several feet below their more conventionally growing cousins.

There's also been some very good news involving snowdrops reported recently. Research shows galanthine extracted from two snowdrops species (G. caucasicus and G. woronowii) can help to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Now that's one snowdrop story I'm sure everyone is happy to see at any time of the year :)

* = You can read Helen's post about our visit here, as well as my post about a previous visit to Painswick in the snow. In contrast to today's tiny snapshot on this post, both give a grand tour of the garden, its history and gazillions of snowdrops

Update: Esther has written a delightful post with a wonderful picture of her Scruffiest Snowdrop :)

25 comments:

  1. Arh your photo came out OK then - it is very cute

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  2. Thanks Helen - I find snowdrops quite hard to photograph especially when they're not fully open like these were. It's trying to get some detail into the white - I'm sure you'll appreciate that from painting them. This is the slightly underexposed version of the 2 photos I took.

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  3. It's amazing where some plants will grow. We tend to cosset and mollycoddle plants, yet they can manage to grow in the most unlikeliest of places without our intervention.

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  4. Hi Jo - yes and I see it happening in my garden on a regular basis. The cosseted plant dies and the self seeded or neglected one thrives!

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  5. I'd have never imagined snowdrops would grow in such a situation.

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    1. Hi Sue - we were rather surprised too! I'm wondering if they had a helping hand e.g. squirrels...

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  6. Never seen one growing like this, so many flowers too!Jill

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  7. Lovely photo, VP - the snowdrops stand out against the brick wall rather well! Perhaps it grew from seeds dropped down and carried into the crevice in the wall by ants? (They move cyclamen seeds in the spring so perhaps not such a stretch to imagine that they might move snowdrop seeds.) Just goes to show how determined plants can be!

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  8. Wonderful - and great idea for a series too.

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  9. Amazing!!! You all must have been overjoyed to see such a lovely plant growing like that! Thanks for sharing : ) it's really lovely!

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  10. Like VP I was wondering if Squirrels could be the culprit - if so they did a good job :-)

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  11. Doh - I meant to say you not VP!!

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  12. Lovely photo, I guess the seeds somehow managed to lodge themselves between the stones. I also find it difficult to photograph snowdrops, and any other pure white flowers, I also find I lose a lot of the details unless I underexpose.

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  13. Jill - I think there might be several bulbs crowded in there. Some snowdrops can be multi-flowered but I think there's too many for that this time.

    Caro - I hadn't thought about ants... I suppose if they were the really tiny bulbs, that would work?

    Janet - thank you. All my series are occasional ones, but I have some great ideas lined up :)

    Anna - it just shows how little a plant needs to thrive.

    EG - I knew what you meant ;) I'm still thinking it's squirrels, but Caro's comment's got me thinking...

    Helene - I know exactly what you mean. I think I could have probably gone down another stop, but it's too late!

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  14. I think there's something very beautiful about plants set against stone and the snowdrops in your beautiful photo are no exception.

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  15. That's a lovely picture - I wonder just how successful it would be if we tried for this effect! - best left to nature I think :)

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  16. Liz - they do look good :)

    Angie - with my track record it'd be a non-starter ;) You're right - best left to nature :)

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  17. Love the picture and fascinating info about Alzheimer's disease.

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  18. Hi Donna - yes, it's a story which particularly resonates with us because my MIL has dementia and my grandmother had Alzheimer's.

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  19. Oh what a perfect nestling place VP - must have made your hear sing. I have seen snowdrops doing similar in dry-stone walls in the Lake District. I think that galanthus voronwii should read woronwii but whatever it's marvellous that these beautiful flowers have a medicinal use, which I found out about when my Dad was ill. I think that galanthamine can also be extracted from daffodils.Thanks for your encouraging comments about my snowdrop photos - I'm going to look into cards :)

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    1. Hi Anna - it did :) I'd love to see them in the Lake District!

      Thanks for the correct name - duly amended. Plant Heritage got the name wrong in their press release!

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  20. Brilliant photo, snowdrops are tough cookies at the best of times, flowering in the depth of winter, but that one is amazing.

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  21. Snowdrops don't like my garden. Doesn't matter whether I plant them in the green, brown or purple, they don't come up a second year. Having said which - you know I dug half the garden up to create a lawn then stopped because of the weather? A snowdrop has come up there - right in the designer mud. One snowdrop does not create a display, I know that - and it's a pretty feeble snowdrop - but a snowdrop!

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  22. This post has inspired this - http://tinyurl.com/ba8cmee - The Scruffiest Snowdrop.

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  23. Annie_H - welcome! This is an especially tough cookie :)

    Esther - that's one of the things I love about plants - they don't obey the gardener ;)

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