Tiptoe through the … snowdrops?

Fragile and beautiful

Fragile and beautiful

I’d better get a wiggle on!  Last Sunday I went on a snowdrop walk, but it’s March already and there are crocuses everywhere.  Soon, those tulips will be along.  Or is that wishful thinking?


A yellow straw trail sounded much better than slithering in the mud, as I had on previous years. The sky was looking ominous and the Community Hall was already full of tea slurpers.  I had the snowdrops all to myself!

It was all done rather delightfully, with random snowdrop “facts” breaking up the sea of green and white.  You can pause the slideshow if you need to, to read them properly.

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Greatham , a small village 3 miles south of Hartlepool, is the site of the Hospital of God, founded in 1273 by the Bishop of Durham.  Originally the hospital was founded to aid the poor, but it became over time “a house of entertainment for gentlemen”, according to Wikipedia.  I’m not sure if this is a euphemism, but certainly the grounds are very grand, and contain the chapel of the parish church, St. John the Baptist.  The main building now functions as a nursing home.

The rain made me scurry for the car.  Another triumph for the waterproof jacket!  But not before a quick shot of the Corn Lady on the village green.


No wonder she looks grim!


  1. Here I been before …. back to Reader!!! My problem was that a small box was for some reason ticket under my notification setting .. in my account bit. Have you ticked it ????

      1. My box have to stay ticked .. for a while longer, can handle all the emails yet. Used Reader today, not good for my wicked brain .. always lose where I was last.
        What a carry on. *smile

  2. I love your little springtime walk, Jo. It’s something we won’t see here for awhile, I’m afraid. We’re still under snow, but it promises to melt starting this afternoon and into the next five days. Warmth is finally seeping into the East Coast of the USA! I love the little facts about snowdrops and I just learned that my birth flower is the marigold. Thanks for the walk. xxx 🙂

    1. Do you like marigolds, Cathy? (reminds me of the rubber gloves 🙂 Don’t know if you have that brand name in the States) I’m a chrysanthemum. Jo Bryant sent me all kinds of amazing facts about chrysanth people, but it didn’t say I was going to see the world 😦 It’s a symbol of optimism and joy though, so I’ll go with that.
      Big hugs, hon. It’s been a long winter for you, hasn’t it? Bet Cal seems a distant dream.

      1. I’m not particularly a fan of marigolds, Jo; there are certainly a lot of other flowers I like more, but marigolds are pretty in their own way! I don’t know if we have Marigold rubber gloves; I haven’t heard of them or noticed them anyway. Optimistic and joyful, that’s you for sure. But I know you want to see the world and I’m sure you will. And I’ll come along vicariously. 🙂

      2. Reading the post the food sounds quite healthy 🙂 Cold here again. I’m eating cranberry and white choc cookies. I’ll diet tomorrow. 🙂 You walking today?

      3. Haha, Jo, you don’t need a diet!! Lucky you to be so tall and thin! I’ll be walking in a few minutes. The cranberry and white chocolate cookies sound really tempting. Good thing I don’t keep things like that around, otherwise I’d be raiding the kitchen. 🙂

  3. Beautiful heralds of spring Jo! The statue of the corn lady hardly seems the kind you would expect to find outside a ‘a house of entertainment for gentlemen’ 🙂

  4. Snowdrop song … how lovely – love that photo when the ground is like a carpet of snowdrops.
    What a wonderful post, Jo … I haven’t recived one email the last 3 days about new posts …. don’t know what has happen. Everything connected to my blog works .. but nothing with yours and other that I follow. Wouldn’t mind ending up on a nursing home with surroundings like this … but it’s an old building, so maybe it’s not great to be living in … stunningly beautiful.

    1. I don’t know what happens with WP, Vivi! 😦 I just get emails for comments, then follow the person back to their site to comment on theirs. Whenever I have time, I look in the Reader but I don’t do emails for posts. It just gets out of hand if you’re following a lot of people. I tried to limit the number I follow but it’s still about 270!
      The nursing home is a modern extension, but I’d like somewhere sunnier for my old age 🙂

      1. To be honest it was great to find the inbox only full of comments related to my blog, but I find it hard to get to older posts …. through Readers.
        I like the sound of the nursing home … for me I want 4 seasons even when I sit on home. *smile

  5. I’m doing oohs and aahs, and imagine it’ll be the same as you progress through the crocus, tulip and daffodil/jonquil seasons, Jo. For me, there’s something unbearably romantic about wild (or naturalised) spring bulbs in English woods – immediately opening a time warp for me to slip through to greet Merlin, or the Lady of the Lake – the only time I wish I was back in England – now, that’s saying something! So glad your awful winter seems to be coming to an end. 🙂

    1. The camera’s been snap happy this last week or so, Meredith. Following that grey afternoon with the snowdrops we had a couple of real Spring days and everything came into bloom! A mayhem of crocuses 🙂 (sounds politer than riot!) My 6WS was a Spring bouquet.
      Have a great week!

      1. Sounds stunning, though the subtlety of snowdrops in a dripping wood is very springtime too, don’t you think? When do you expect that luminous green watercolour outline on the branches?

      2. Hi again Meredith 🙂 The woods can start to look “full of promise” any time from late February. We’ve had the snowdrops since just after Christmas here but woodland looks miserable and shivery to me until the leaves start to bud and the sunlight filters through them. I am such a Summer gal! 🙂

  6. A snowdrop day. Lovely shots, Jo, even with the rain. I looked up crocus and snowdrop, wanting to see if they were like the crocuses we planted in North Carolina and got a UK website. they are similar.

  7. Oh you have a snowdrop afternoon…cool. So my birth flower is the gladiolus…nice one. Still chuckling over the gentlemen’s entertainment establishment.

      1. Hehehe…I don’t know what colour I prefer. But I did a search, and think I rather like the drama of this one: http://gansfamilyfive.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/gladiolus.html
        Now as to swapping…did you know all of this before you made the offer ???

        With a history that dates back to 15th century B.C., chrysanthemum mythology is filled with a multitude of stories and symbolism. Named from the Greek prefix “chrys-“ meaning golden (its original color) and “-anthemion,” meaning flower, years of artful cultivation have produced a full range of colors, from white to purple to red. Daisy-like with a typically yellow center and a decorative pompon, chrysanthemums symbolize optimism and joy. They’re the November birth flower, the 13th wedding anniversary flower and the official flower of the city of Chicago. In Japan, there’s even a “Festival of Happiness” to celebrate this flower each year.

        A symbol of the sun, the Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals to represent perfection, and Confucius once suggested they be used as an object of meditation. It’s said that a single petal of this celebrated flower placed at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a long and healthy life.

        Now for more mythology…

        The Chinese legend tells the story of an elderly emperor who had heard about a magic herb that would give him eternal youth. This herb was said to grow on Dragonfly Island and could only be picked by young people. The elderly emperor therefore sent twenty-four children on what proved to be a long and hazardous journey. Much to their dismay, when they finally arrived at the island they found it totally deserted. There was no sign of the magic herb. All they found was a flower – the golden chrysanthemum, which today still symbolises the Chinese people’s ties with their country. Later Mao Tse Tung replaced the imperial golden yellow with the red of the people’s republic.

        The Japanese legend revolves around the god Izanagi and the goddess Iznami, who were sent to earth across a bridge of clouds because there were too many gods in heaven. When she arrived on earth, the goddess created the gods of the wind, the mountains and the sea, but perished miserably in the flames that sprang up while she was creating the god of fire. Izanagi, who missed her, followed her into a dismal place known as the ‘Black Night’. When he finally caught a glimpse of the goddess, he was immediately pursued by an old witch. He fled back to earth, where he decided to cleanse himself in the river. The items of clothing he dropped onto the ground turned into twelve gods. His jewels turned into flowers, his bracelet into an iris, a second bracelet into a lotus flower and his necklace became a golden chrysanthemum.

        And then there is the tea:


        Are you sure you want to swap still ????

    1. They must be English then, Jill? I kind of assumed everybody has them. Dumb, huh? Aside from desert regions and equatorial bits, of course. I have a way with words, sometimes 😦 Or not!

  8. They are just so beautiful Jo and you’ve captured them so well that I can almost feel them. My birthday flower is ‘Lily of the Valley’. Seems I am not so lucky to have these gorgeous snowdrops as my birthday flower. LOL! You sure made me smile with this beautiful post and photo’s hon. Thanks for the lovely trip. See you in a while. 😀 *big hugs*

    1. Thanks a lot, Sue 🙂 I always think that too! When you see a carpet of them they look a bit nothing in the shot, but my close ups were a bit more promising.

      1. I think they’re here for some time to come. There’s a warm weather forecast (16C) for the end of the week which should help to dry them out. Basking! 🙂

    1. We must have all yours, Lucy 🙂 This is where I was when you were heading home last week. You must have a post up now? I’ll pop and see shortly. (the lads are watching the League Cup on TV)

  9. Lovely snowdrops Jo. We have Kingston Lacy not too far away (National Trust) which shows off its snowdrops every year and your pics reminded me of that. We took our son once a few years ago (he was a teenager) and he wasn’t too impressed though. His comment was: “Once you’ve seen one snowdrop, you’ve seen them all!!” Well, I can see his point but I’m sure he will appreciate them one day 😉

    1. I don’t think they’re the most exciting of flowers, Sherri. It’s more that they are such harbingers of Spring. We have a lovely manorial home, Kiplin Hall, in North Yorks, which does snowdrops and aconites in a lovely lakeside setting too. I was there last year and it was freezing! 🙂

  10. Ahhhh lovely! I saw snow drops and crocus and cherry trees and even azalea in full bloom in Horst, NL. Back here in PA it’s more snow!

  11. Sadly the snowdrops around here didn’t do well this year – under too much water I suppose, let’s hope the bulbs don’t rot away. I’m looking forward to the golden daffodils – they cheer everything up!!
    (I used to live near a Greatham – not yours of course – great little pub there that did a good Sunday lunch)

    1. Last year was wetter for us so this has been a really good year for them. Bizarre how it’s turned around, isn’t it?
      Our Greatham used to have 3 pubs- good going for such a small village. Still got the “Hope and Anchor” and the “Bull and Dog”- next door to each other! 🙂 The Hope used to be our favourite haunt at one time. Superb Guinness!

  12. A statue with a frown face. That made me smile. That doesn’t look like a place for gentlement entertainment. Er, then again you can never ever really tell from any establishment what goes on inside. 😀

  13. Lovely:) They remind me of our beautiful trilliums that carpet our forests in the early spring. Unfortunately, we awoke this morning to yet another layer of snow. I imagine it will be awhile yet before we see our spring blooms!

  14. I never see snowdrops – or crocuses – here. They look lovely! (However, would not want your winters.)

    1. In the north east we’ve had a pretty good one (so far!) Rosemary, but I do prefer an Algarve winter, when I get the chance. 🙂 Lots of Spring flowers around- did you see my 6WS?
      Have a great week!

  15. Glorious display of snowdrops, they are lovely. And a beautiful building too. The only other plants that look the same in a huge area are bluebells and daffodils, eg Farndale for daffs. Never heard of Greatham, so this was an interesting read. Spring flowers – snowdrops, crocuses, bluebells, daffs, tulips – just gorgeous.

  16. Aren’t snowdrops beautiful, so delicate looking, but able to survive such harsh conditions.
    I shall be planting some snowdrops around my dad’s memorial seat and will soon have my mums name added to it.

    1. That will be beautiful, Vicky 🙂 Harbingers of Spring. We’ve had a clump in our front garden for weeks and they’re just starting to “go over”. My 6WS yesterday was all Spring flowers so I’m back to front!

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