Dew Drops

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January 8, 2017

Snowdrop Festival: Ode to the Galanthus

Snowdrop Festival: Ode to Galanthus

No flower is as popular but also as royal as “our” lovely snowdrop (Galanthus). In Great Britain, the land of etiquette and monarchy, they know this all too well. Snowdrops are a real hype. I never knew snowdrops were so popular. Why this is so – you’ll notice when you visit a snowdrops festival.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) in a porcelain pot.

Visit a snowdrops festival and the ‘snowdrops virus’ happens to you. A layman would get all the snowdrops mixed up, but if you look at them on eye level and compare them, there is still a vast biodiversity to discover that enforces greater appreciation for our oh so common snowdrop. Snowdrops suddenly appear all so different: in flower shape, number of petals (single-flowered and double-flowered), flower drawing (green or, rarely, yellow or orange), flower size, flower fragrance, flower stand (nodding or looking up) bloom height, flowering time, leaf shape, etc.

Prior to the exhibition hundreds of different species and varieties of snowdrops are grown. It can be called a top performance to get everything to bloom at the same time for an exhibition. Snowdrops are therefore pampered piece by piece with a lot of knowledge, care and attention.

The exhibition itself is a mecca for the snowdrops lover (in the making). A lot of creativity is used to bring out the beauty of the snowdrops as much as possible. A snowdrops exhibition is therefore a true spectacle: snowdrops in special pots (with holes for the flowers), snowdrops arranged in vases, snowdrops in flower arrangements and even snowdrops processed into living paintings. With small spots on the flowers and a black background are the pure white flowers an exclusive look.


Flower of the Galanthus (Snowdrop).

A visit to the exhibition snowdrops reminds me of the tulip mania to us in the 17th century; who must have had a specific, magical appearance. Some snowdrops cost anno now € 300, – per piece; nevertheless gives a generous amount for a scoop which is less than 2 cm in diameter, gets two leaves and one (maximum two) flowers per year. As Brittish people would say, “Natural beauty does not always come cheap!”
The snowdrop looks very frail and flimsy; the swaying flowers seem to fall of at any moment. But appearances are deceiving, because the plant thrives in the Benelux climate very well. And the flowers that look like this fragile, are perfectly weather resistant: they do not get stained by rain and do not suffer from sunburn, such as white roses. Striking is that the snowdrop in the Netherlands, where the plant naturally thrives so well, is over looked so easily.
In garden centers you’ll only find the species “Galanthus nivalis”, without any marking. This  a meager display however, when you realize that there are over 1500 different cultivars exist. Perhaps another reason to plant a particular variety in your garden.

An old lawn is sometimes filled with snowdrops; so many that it is inevitable to walk them like weeds underfoot. Present the snowdrops half a meter high and you can see it is suddenly look very differently, with much more honor and admiration. Were the flowers of snowdrops previously all “plain white”, shows that, on closer inspection still has more nuanced
Finally, a tip: If you want to replant snowdrops in your lawn, plant them always irregular spacing: that looks the most natural. A natural effect is most easily reached by the balls by hand to scatter, and put them in the ground at the spot where they drop.

A mirror for human beings

The snowdrop is a nice mirror for the monarchy in the Netherlands: On the one hand so popular and ordinary, but on the other a flower with a royal touch. Therefore a royal flower, within reach for every ordinary Dutch citizen. Just like our king Willem Alexander. “Our Willem”

The Snowdrop is a nice mirror for the monarchy in the Netherlands: Dutch so many, so many snowdrops. On the one hand, and ordinary people, but on the other hand, a flower with a rich royal touch. A royal flower therefore, accessible to the ordinary Dutchman. Like King Willem Alexander, “our William.

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