Snowdrops Word on the Week 28th January 2023.
They have reappeared, on cue, these harbingers of spring to delight the eye and reassure the heart of warmer days ahead. God’s promise again fulfilled. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis chapter 8 verse 22).
My own interest in snowdrops started around the age of 7 when our school teacher required us to take our crayons and draw a snowdrop. She brought a plant in full bloom into the classroom and supplied the paper. Our task was to represent it in two dimensions. I recall my effort was pinned on the classroom wall – an unrepeated success!
We have a hollow in a field where cattle once had dust baths in summer. It was fenced, planted with trees and in due course ground ivy covered the woodland floor. We have a galanthophile (snowdrop collector) in the house who planted clumps of snowdrops under the trees. Each year they break through the carpet of ivy and brighten up the woodland giving us great pleasure.
The plant grows out of a bulb to a height of 7 to 10 cm. It is pure white on a green stem and has three thin green leaves. It blooms in cold weather and has its own anti-freeze to survive the frost. It continues to bloom into Spring when insects begin to appear. Remarkably, snowdrops have a built in insecticide to ward off the bugs!
There are a large number of varieties as a result of enthusiasts breeding. Whilst the common varieties can be obtained at little or no cost (they multiply naturally and require to be divided producing more bulbs annually) the rare varieties are much sought after and can fetch four figure sums.
Although not mentioned specifically in the Bible the flower presents a penitential picture, with its pure white head permanently bowed down, reminisicent perhaps of our Saviour when He completed the work of salvation, ‘Jesus bowed his head and gave up his Spirit’ (St John Chapter 19 verse 30).
May the humble snowdrop remind us of Him.