Snowdrop, crocus and daffodil – signs of spring

Following the dark nights and the freezing conditions of the UK winter, the first signs of spring are starting to appear in our hedgerows and gardens.

One of the first signs of spring - The snowdrop

One of the first signs of spring - The delicate snowdrop peeps through the forest floor

Birds herald the arrival of the new season from the bare branches of trees, whilst lower down at ground level and poking through the cold damp earth soon will be the snowdrop, crocus and daffodil.


Standing around 10 to 15cm above the earth, the fragile looking snowdrop has to be the symbol of early spring.

Often found occupying forest floors or huddled under hedgerows for protection, the green leaves and white flowers bring some welcome colour.

Snowdrops can often be seen pushing through the late winter ice and snow during late January and early February.

Such is the power of this tiny plant that a whole tourist industry is being based upon it’s arrival.

Traditionally Easter marked the start of the tourism year. However, allowing guests in to the grounds of many estates has become a valuable revenue stream.

Purple crocus bring some welcome colour to the garden

Purple crocus bring some welcome colour to the garden

In Scotland the tourist organisations and land owners have realised the marketing opportunities available and have created The Snowdrop Festival.

Many Galanthophiles (Snowdrop enthusiasts), take the opportunity to source rare snowdrop varieties “in the green” for their garden.


Cascades of colour arrive when the crocus come into bloom.  The small flower around 10cm tall packs a mighty punch with flowers ranging from white, yellow and shades of violet.

Although some crocus can flower in the autumn, most in the UK flower in mid to late February to early March and are found carpeting parks, cemeteries and gardens of stately homes.

Crocuses are members of the lily family, the most famous of them being the saffron crocus whose few tiny anthers are used for the rich orange spice used in eastern and middle eastern cooking.

The daffodil made famous by a certain Wordsworth poem

The daffodil made famous by a certain Wordsworth poem

Whilst the last few crocus are still flowering, the brass section of the spring orchestra are getting ready to give some height to the borders, as large swathes of land turn yellow and green with daffodils.


Before we get into any trouble, the daffodils referred to in the famous Wordsworth poem, set in the Lake District are now quite rare.

On the website ‘I Hate Daffodils‘, the plight of the wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) that grow naturally in England and Wales is fully explained.

Still on the subject of Wordsworth,  many people don’t realise that the popular version of the famous poem is actually a rewrite done in 1815 of a poem he wrote in 1807.

Large areas have been planted throughout Great Britain over the years with millions of daffodil bulbs, or more correctly, narcissi.  To some, the broad brash trumpets of yellow, orange and white are seen as a plague needing to be removed in favour of native species. To others they are seen as the ideal flower to cut and put in a vase on a desk or a mantle piece to add colour to a room.

Whatever your view on the daffodil debate they are here to stay, and you have to admit, they do offer some welcome colour.

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