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snowdrops keep bloomin’ from the ground

February 10, 2011

About fifty feet from the house, across this bridge,

across this creek,

is this shed.

A real fixer-upper.

Actually, it’s going down soon.  We can salvage a lot of poles, lumber and

cedar shake from it.  Allegedly, this was where the wife of the man who

built our house had a flower bulb business.

 

We believe that this is part of her heritage:

Say hello to my little friends, Galanthus nivelis. You can call them

snowdrops.  They’re not native to Canada, but are to Europe, where

the settlers of this area emigrated from.

Snowdrops, also called maids of February, are the first flowers we see

in the new year, usually in January.  Two years ago we had five feet of

snow that didn’t melt off until mid-April.  The snowdrops were there,

waiting patiently.

Jude and I sold some nivalis bulbs to a nursery and some individuals one

year.  We didn’t have any complaints or returns, but no reorders, either.

Snowdrops are also called death’s flower because they’re poisonous,

especially the bulbs.  Most incidents, some of which have been fatal,

occur when the bulbs are mistaken for scallions.  That must be why

the deer don’t eat them.

The poison is delivered through the glycoside scillaine and two alkaloids,

narcissine and galantamine.  In October of last year, the United Kingdom

approved the use of a form of galantamine in the treatment of early onset

of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

H0w’s that for a personality: delicate, hardy, beautiful, deadly and therapeutic?

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4 Comments
  1. February 10, 2011 11:45 am

    😀 Did you compose the title to the tune of “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head?”

    • February 10, 2011 2:42 pm

      Yes, it was so much easier to rift off of than Cee Lo’s “FU”.

  2. February 10, 2011 1:37 pm

    Wow! They are so beautiful, what a lovely surprise that must have been the first year! I don’t know if they would grow here, but I’d sure love to try! We do get cold enough each winter to bring out tulips and other bulbs, but I’d love to try snowdrops. Wonder if they can be shipped to the US?

    • February 10, 2011 2:56 pm

      A quick bit of Googling suggests that you can get them in the U.S. or shipped there. I don’t know how they’d do in your climate. I hope you’re feeling better.

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