The first of the Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are blooming! This is a heartening development, as they are the first flowers of the season in our garden. They mark not so much the beginning of spring as the end of winter.


It interests me that the Snowdrops do not come all at once. Rather, small clumps emerge and bloom here and there. Gradually they combine and spread and reach critical mass. The variation in bloom time, I know, is caused by a mix of factors: the sun and soil of each patch of garden, genetic variation among the Snowdrops themselves, and who knows what else.


But I like to imagine the Snowdrops discussing among themselves who should emerge first. Perhaps the senior Snowdrop ask for volunteers, and only the bravest Snowdrops step forward. Or maybe they draw straws?


Snowdrops are not the only signs of a new season. Here and there the Daffodils are poking up out of the earth with the tips of their leaves, like people testing the wind with their fingers.


And I believe this is one of my new Martagon Lilies (Lilium martagon). Last year all the Martagon Lilies were eaten by rabbits after they got only a few inches high. After taking this picture, I barricaded the tiny stems with bricks. Next week the soil will be thawed and I’ll be able to put in a proper barrier.


The Forsythia buds are swelling.


As are these buds on Clematis ‘Multi Blue’, which I pruned back today.

I am eager for spring, but I’m OK with spring moving forward at a measured pace – that way we have a chance to keep up with it. But either way, I salute the very first Snowdrops and the glad tidings they bring.

38 Comments on “The Bravest Snowdrop”

  1. Do you remember the old television show ‘In Search Of . . . ‘? There was an episode about plants communicating with each other and listening to music and such. A cabbage was connected to an electroencephalograph while another cabbage was sliced and torn apart. The squealing noise of the electroencephalograph in response to the ‘violence’ sounded like the primary cabbage was screaming! I was just a kid when I saw it. It really creeped me out, and gave me another reason to not want to eat my vegetables.

  2. It is so exciting to see the first signs of new growth in the garden, once it starts I’m out there everyday looking to see what is new. We have had it warmer than usual so our snowdrops are almost finished now, but I think this week is going to be colder, so maybe it will all slow down a bit and the flowers last a bit longer otherwise spring will just be rushing by far too quickly.

  3. Hello Jason, I’ve just looked outside my window to see all ours have finished! I don’t know who decides to go first though. I like to think it’s done by turn, and that they also have use of a miniature periscope to see what’s going on, on the surface before they shoot up (like a submarine).

  4. You remind me~I must get out and put a cage around my emerging tulips. Darned rabbits. It is so nice to see these cheerful snowdrops coming up. I notice you have a lovely mulch of last year’s leaves. I do that too, and usually I feel I must remove it in the spring. Do you, or will the flowers push past it?

      • At my garden store they sometimes have green wire cage panels with rods you can insert into the corners. Admittedly a bit flimsy, they do the job for me and can be made into 3 or for sided cages. I’ve bought a few, so I can attach them together for large exclosures as needed. I go to Hawthorn Gardens. I had to persuade them to carry them again because there wasn’t much demand for them but I love them.

      • These particular tulips are the tallest I’ve ever seen~they are over 2′ tall! The cage is probably about 18″ tall. Tall enough for my purposes. I just want to protect the emerging leaves until there are enough other things for the damned rabbits to eat that they will leave the tulips alone.

  5. I have to admit it — I am green with envy. There are no snowdrops emerging at Glen Villa, but there is snow falling. And falling. And falling some more. Another month and I should be able to see non-white ground.

  6. Your snowdrops are lovely; we’ve had our first ones appear here also! I’ve never noticed that mine arrive in waves, but from now on I’ll just imagine their little conversations, lol.

  7. I’ve seen — and have a photo of — exactly one snowdrop. Not one clump, or one patch — one plant. It’s an interesting story, and I think the plant’s an escapee or a holdover from a historic garden. I think it’s going to be rainy tomorrow, and if I can’t work, I might make a drive over to the plantation (now a state historic site) to see if we have any snowdrop action going. Spring’s coming on fast, now, and it would be easy to miss some of the ephemerals.

  8. I am envious. I haven’t seen any of my snowdrops in several years. I’m guessing something ate them. Wandering around my Denver area garden, I have not seen many signs of life as of yet. There are still mounds of snow in many parts of the garden. Until things start budding out in my neck of the woods, I will be living vicariously through your blog!

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