Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Flowers charming the plough
It's late Winter and the landscape is filled with pretty new flowers. The early wildflowers of the year at the end of winter are often very tough and commonly seen everywhere. Snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses.
Snowdrops are the first wildflowers to appear in late winter. These are bunched together with white cupped petals across a muddy, frosty cold ground. Snowdrops grow anywhere there is grass. They can be found growing in gardens, alongside footpaths, in graveyards, parks, woodlands and forests. These flowers produce galantamine, which can help heal against pain and Alzheimer's disease. Snowdrops got their name from an older word for "earring"! The Latin name for snowdrop is Galanthus that means "milk flower" in English. Snowdrops were considered unlucky to pick or use at weddings. Associated with the dead, and the freezing cold, snowdrops are regarded as "Candlemas Bells".
"The Snowdrop, in purest white array, First rears her head on Candlemas Day." (Traditional rhyme).
Candlemas is a Christianised version of ancient celebrations of the turning of the wheel. The Heathens call it a time of "Disting" or charming of the plough, when winter fades and the land becomes softer and ready to dig. It's also regarded as a time of "Imbolc", new beginnings and a season of light.
Crocus flowers appear just after snowdrops have bloomed. There are many types of crocus flowers, but the species, such as the Biflori, that grows this time of year have blade-shaped petals in a rainbows of blue, violet, yellow and cream colours. They belong to the iris family. Late winter and spring crocuses are said to be used as charms in cleansing spells and love spells. Other species of crocus, such as the flowers that grow later in the year, produces spicy saffron.
Daffodils grow next. They appear like a cheerful sunny bloom of golden flowers. These are larger and taller flowers with full petals. Some of the daffodil species are white with orange centres. Others are yellow, gold, orange, or a bi-coloured and tri-coloured because many have developed from hybrids. Often used in perfume these daffodils are quite poisonous and shouldn't be eaten. Symbolic of rebirth, daffodils are a sign of light and hope. A bunch of daffodils in the house can bring some fortune.
These are the earliest flowers after the extreme winter.