The great seasonal wheel keeps turning.
And with the returning Sun the days slowly start to lighten again as the darkness retreats,
the land warms and the first signs of life start showing. There's plenty of time for it to turn
cold again though, and it often does at this time of year, but the plants are very hardy and used to this cycle. Spring's on its way, here's some of the things I've noticed recently.
I always think the star of the show at this time of year, the one i look to for flowering first in the woods is the snowdrop. Snowdrops aren't native to the UK but are native to Europe.
It's reckoned they were introduced here in the late 1500s and have kind of naturalised themselves in the woodland and forests. Who knows though, there's a part of me that wonders if they could have been here since the splitting off of our Island from mainland Europe during the last ice age and been here ever since...
Galanthus is derived from two Greek words meaning ‘milk’ and ‘flower’ referring to the white petals and Nivalis from the Latin word for ‘snow’.
I mentioned how these little flowers are hardy to the cold, and in hard frosts and when it
snows you will often see them collapse to the ground, only to resurrect themselves once the temperature rises. In other species, a plants leaves are often damaged or killed by ice crystals forming in the cells during freezing. However, many plants, including snowdrops, have ‘anti-freeze’ proteins that help inhibit ice crystals forming and limit their growth, protecting the plant cells from damage. Snowdrop leaves have specially hardened tips to help them break through frozen soil. These are essential qualities for plants that grow and flower at the end of winter.