Snowdrops in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden


Thursday 11th February 2021

Snowdrops in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden
Snowdrops in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden

Snowdrop season is upon us!

Over the past few years we’ve planted thousands of snowdrops in our Organic Garden. The nodding white flowers grow in clumps with narrow green leaves growing from the base. Flowering from January to March, they make a very pretty way to begin our year in the garden, leading us to the blossoms of spring.

Taking photos of Snowdrops in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden
It can be hard to get the right picture!

We all know this hardy flower by its common name but Snowdrop’s proper name is Galanthus Nivalis (it means Milk Flower of the Snow) and we think it was brought into the UK in the 1500’s. They’ve been growing around Europe for much longer and were first described by the classic Greek author, Theophrastus, in his book Historia Paltarum, Enquiry into plants (written sometime between c.350 BC and c. 287 BC).

There are several symbolic meanings to snowdrops, such as purity, hope, rebirth and sympathy, however, the Victorians thought it was bad luck to bring snowdrops into your house and that they can indicate an imminent death. There are a few theories as to the origins of this superstition but it’s most likely because the bulbs are poisonous to eat, even though they look a lot like shallots! They actually have medicinal properties – Galanthamine is a substance extracted from snowdrops that can be used to improve sleep. It is also sold as a medication for Alzheimer’s disease under the name of Reminyl.

The dog helping to take snowdrop photo in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden
Ivy trying to be helpful…

Snowdrops are in the same plant family as Amaryllis and there are 23 species of Galanthus and over 2500 cultivars found across Europe in woodlands and parks. On Valentines Day, you may even find some in the hands of Danish lovers as it’s tradition in Denmark to give dainty Snowdrops instead of red roses! They aren’t necessarily cheaper: A single Galanthus Plicatus ‘Golden Fleece’ snowdrop bulb was sold on Ebay for £1,390 in February 2015.

So, if you see some Snowdrops whilst you’re out for a stroll, have a good old look but definitely don’t eat one!

We’re opening the Yeo Valley Organic Garden doors a little earlier this year in support of the Shepton Snowdrop Festival. On the 17th and 18th of February come and visit the Valley and see our beautiful snowdrops for yourself! You can book you slot here.


Comments on “Snowdrops”

  • Very interesting article. Was refreshing to read some lesser-known facts ( such as a substance can be extracted from snowdrops to help with insomnia).
    Very well written,loved the official names and etymology. Well done.

    Pam on 17th February 2021 at 2:53 am

  • Lovely pictures of Snowdrops just gives you hope in nature to put on a simple and beautiful show.

    Anonymous on 16th February 2021 at 9:34 pm

  • very interesting, especially as i have several large clumps in my copse. Beautiful to see in the dank dreary days of January through to March

    Helen Baker on 16th February 2021 at 8:47 pm

  • Loved reading about snowdrops.. just up my street !!

    Anonymous on 16th February 2021 at 8:33 pm

  • Great yoghurt.
    Interesting snippets of information.
    Well done Yeo folk !

    Sheila Corkill on 16th February 2021 at 8:10 pm

  • Thank you for this interesting information. I love snowdrops! Now I know so much more about them!

    Anonymous on 16th February 2021 at 8:00 pm

  • I read along time ago Snowdrop were brought over by the Russian’s , I love my Snowdrop garden, I even named my cat after the beautiful flower

    Anonymous on 16th February 2021 at 7:18 pm

  • A very interesting piece about this beautiful little flower.

    Pamela Crummay on 16th February 2021 at 4:58 pm

  • We are thinking of introducing more snowdrops in our garden. Any reliable sources of snowdrops? Advice would be welcome, on where is good place, to purchase, and how to keep bulbs healthy, and not dry out in hot summers. Also, advantages of different varieties of snowdrop in one garden, e.g. single and double, also types like Magnet? Interested to hear expert views?

    Michael Terry on 16th February 2021 at 12:55 pm

    • We buy ours online from a local nursery (Ashbridge Nursery), we like to use local nurseries as much as possible! Snowdrops are more successful when planted in growth or ‘in the green’ and we like to plant them in clumps of 2 or 3. If you have to delay planting them for any reason, you can’t let the bulbs dry out so wrapping them in wet paper is a good way to store them for a short period.

      Rosie Jago on 22nd February 2021 at 1:58 pm

  • The snowdrops are one of my favourite spring flowers. Lovely to hear the history of this pretty flower. Thank you!!

    Anne Snedker on 16th February 2021 at 8:40 am

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