The Stonebridge Waterfowl Preserve is part of the Aspetuck land Trust and it’s 21-acres straddles the western branch of the Saugatuck River, where a bridge spans this section.
I walk this on occasion and find it reminds me of where I grew up. It has a lovely meadow that I walked this early spring to find solitude in the chill air. You can see it’s still very early spring with the plants fairly dormant. It was overcast for part of the time, but the sun began to peek through and warm up the meadows. It promised to suprise us with many delights to the senses in the next few weeks.
I sat on this inviting bench and starred out to this splendid view. I was listening intently for sounds of birds or sight of anything of interest. In the distance I happened to noticed a small clump of, what I thought might be tiny white flowers. Could this be?
Imagine my sheer delight when I put my binoculars up to my eyes and focused in on what turned out to be little white flowers against the stark dead leaf covered ground. There they were all by themselves standing up proud and tall. They were inviting me to come over and look closer. It was the first flower in bloom for me this spring! These familiar beauties always make me put a smile on my face and I hope they do for you too! Can you guess what they are?
There are 75 different species and varieties of Snowdrops. They are all white and two species are commonly cultivated. One is Galanthus nivalis, usually known as the Garden Snowdrop. A Snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. Snowdrop bulbs, are originally from Europe and Asia Minor. Two or three straplike leaves, dark green in color, grow from each bulb. The white flowers are usually borne singly, mostly in early spring but sometimes in mid to late winter, which makes them the earliest flowering bulb.
Facts About Snowdrops:
- Three thousand years ago, in Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, the god Mercury (Hermes) gave Ulysses an herb called Moly. Moly herb (Galanthus nivalis) made Ulysses immune to the forgetfulness poisons of the witch Circe and counteracted the amnesia that Circe had inflicted on his crew.
- In Greek and Roman mythology, Mercury is known as the Messenger for the Gods and the BRINGER OF DREAMS. By having the Bringer of Dreams give Ulysses this herb, perhaps Homer was also conveying the historically known dream enhancing benefits of this extract.
- Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, are the notable species.
- There are numerous cultivars (cultivated varieties), single and double, differing particularly in the size and markings of the flower, the period of flowering, and other characteristics of interest to keen (even fanatical) collectors known as galanthophiles.
- As the snow in their name suggests, Snowdrops may not even wait for the snow to melt before emerging from their winter sleep, instead pushing right up through the snow a delightful sight for the winter-weary.