Place: Chelsea Physic Garden, London.
Date: February 11, 2012.
Camera: Panasonic TZ3.
Do you know what a galanthophile is?
Apparently it's someone obsessed with snowdrops, those lovely little white flowers that pop up in late winter, of which there are nearly 100 different varieties. The botanical name for snowdrops is Galanthus — from the Greek meaning milk (gála) and flower (ánthos).
This weekend the Chelsea Physic Garden is throwing open its grounds to the public specifically to celebrate the humble snowdrop. The garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries so that its apprentices could study medicinal plants. It is London's oldest botanical garden.
We arrived late this afternoon and took a wander around the garden, which covers 3.8 acres, features numerous greenhouses and beds of plants labelled with their botanical names arranged in systematic order.
The sun was shining and there was still snow on the ground from Thursday night's snowfall, but it was ice-cold and my hands quickly became frozen, even in my gloves, as I took these photographs:
According to the leaflet that came with our entry ticket, you can distinguish the different variety of snowdrops by "subtle differences of markings, leaf shape and fullness of flower". At the risk of offending galanthophiles everywhere, I really couldn't tell one variety from another. But that didn't stop me from admiring these beautiful and delicate flowers.
Roll on spring!