cover of book

by Gail Harland
Reaktion Books, 2016
Cloth: 978-1-78023-492-2 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-628-5

Elegant flowers dressed in simple white and green, snowdrops look far too fragile to deal with wintry weather. But that’s just what they do, and they have become treasured by horticulturalists for their ability to flower in the earliest parts of the year. In this book, Gail Harland explores the role snowdrops have played in gardens and popular culture alike, as a treasured genus for enthusiast growers and an important symbol of hope and consolation.
Harland explores a variety of cultural meanings for the deceptively petit flower. In Victorian England snowdrop bands encouraged chastity among young women. They have been favorite subjects in paintings in many different eras, and today they are the iconic symbols of several hope-giving charities. Poets and writers have written extensively about them, as have pharmacists, who have used their chemical, galantamine, in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Today some of their rarer bulbs can fetch record-breaking sums, and annual festivals that celebrate them draw people from all over the world. Walking among their brilliant white beds, Harland offers an ideal companion for any plant-lover who has ever eagerly awaited this treasured sign of spring. 

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