Snowdrops And Fortitude

img_7269 - THTT signed - Snowdrops. Galanthus nivalis. Milk flower of the snow. White. Green. Spring. Bulbs. (c) The Holly Tree Tales

Pictured above, snowdrops in our garden, just beginning to spread their carpets of beauty in the first month of the new year.  Snow has not yet fallen, but the snowdrops are creating the elegance of white calm on the ground.

In various social media spaces lately, I’ve seen fleeting mentions of a ten year challenge.  I have no idea what the #TenYearChallenge is all about, but this is our tenth year in our country home at Legerwood in the United Kingdom.  10th year + 1,000 challenges (no, I haven’t counted the challenges – at least, not yet).

The snowdrops, so pretty, so pure, so white, so green, so small, so elegant, so gracious, designed to withstand unbelievable conditions and then to bloom, right where they’re planted. They do not hold back. They delight, they dance in the wind, they give everything they have, they multiply with grace.

These precious little plants are prolific in the old garden, where we live. I have increased their influence by having them planted under dark green yew trees (introduced for privacy in our time here) along the road, in a little strip outside our house, where the contrast of light and dark catches my attention each time I return home. I hope the sight –  orderly, tasteful, gracious – blesses passersby too. I find them quite stunning to behold, shining en masse, in the dim light of the cold months.

I have been the custodian of our one acre in the countryside since August 2009, which we bought at the end of October 2009. The house and garden need a lot of TLC still. Indeed the buildings could do with considerable investment and mindful, tasteful overhaul, but I have not had the means to do that myself. Perhaps the next custodian will give the property the renovation and restoration care that it needs. I have calmed a lot of crazy energy here, during a period in my own life when it was the last thing that I or my family needed. I have had a major job on my hands, taking so much to overcome, challenging in all sorts of ways, doing my best with what I’ve had to work with since 2009 alone. Ten years. Ten years of massive growth.

One of the blessings of living here has been seeing and enjoying the presence of the lovely snowdrops, potential envy of many a galanthophile, showing up year after year, without fail.  These little plants with their delicate flowers are a reminder and symbol to me of hope, tenacity, resolve, restoration, fortitude, courage, success, purity, abundance, delicacy, trust, honesty, grace.  One can never tire of seeing them, freshly appearing each year, heralding light.

I am grateful for the lessons witnessed and learnt first hand in this place, which I made “an organic property” and nicknamed “God’s Acre” (as well as “Weedy Heights”, the name of my first home in Africa), when we arrived.  I do not know how much longer our family will be the custodians here, but I do know that the snowdrops will still be here, graceful, long after we’ve gone.


Holly x


PS. The original version of this post was first published on Instagram, today, at  This version is an alteration of the original.

PPS. The generic name Galanthus, from the Greek gala (milk) and anthos (flower), was given to the genus by Carl Linnaeus in 1735. He described Galanthus nivalis in his Species Plantarum published in 1753. The epithet nivalis means “of the snow”, referring either to the snow-like flower or the plant’s early flowering.  [Wikipedia]



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