Snowdrops, wars and poetry in Britain


This video says about itself:

EARLY SPRING snowdrop flower time lapse. Sir David Attenborough‘s opinion

6 June 2013

This is a clip from “RHYTHMS OF NATURE IN THE BARYCZ VALLEY” movie.

This film tells the story about nature in the Barycz River valley and enormous Milicz ponds. This area is located in the south-western part of Poland (in the middle of Europe). I and my wife made it for 2 years.

Sir David Attenborough, a world-famous BBC nature documentary film maker, after watching the film “Rhythms of Nature in the Barycz Valley” wrote:

“I have viewed Rhythms of Nature with great pleasure.

A lovely place, beautifully filmed”

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Flower respite from the slaughter

Friday 13th February 2015

Snowdrops will soon be announcing the arrival of spring but the story of their origin bears witness to a not too distant tragic past, says PETER FROST

In October of 1854, in the rolling meadows of Crimea, 600 brave British soldiers were ordered to their death by ignorant and arrogant aristocratic officers. Those officers, just like Cameron and his mostly Eton-educated Cabinet believed they were born to rule.

Tennyson summed up the destiny of the common man in his famous poem: “Theirs not to reason why,/Theirs but to do and die:/Into the valley of Death/Rode the six hundred.”

This was the notorious Charge of the Light Brigade. The following Christmas and New Year were miserable times in the British army camps of the Crimea.

Memories of the horrendous defeat and the harsh winter weather of snow and gales contrived to make this a sad posting for British soldiers missing their loved ones at home.

Then at the end of January, in a curious parallel of the flush of blood red poppies that painted the fields of Flanders in another foreign war the hills of Crimea bought forth a huge beautiful display of tiny snow white flowers.

They covered the countryside so thickly that they could have easily been confused as a fall of fresh snow. British soldiers were amazed to see the battlefields covered in little, frail snowdrops.

The flowers were, in fact the Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus).

Many of the British soldiers took the tiny bulbs home with them, some even slipped the bulbs — little bigger than a grain of wheat — into letters to their wives and sweethearts at home.

Today snowdrops, both the Crimean species and our own native and slightly larger Common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) are a familiar and very welcome part of our mid-winter countryside.

For me the delicate nodding white flowers — brave little things — piercing the frozen earth are early heralds of the arrival of spring and the end of winter.

Did you know that there are over 2,000 different types of snowdrop, or Galanthus, growing wild in our countryside and in our gardens?

There are even snowdrop clubs and snowdrop societies and the rarest and exotic varieties change hands for hundreds of pounds for a single bulb.

The heritage of those Crimean snowdrops lives on today. You find them planted on the graves of soldiers of the Crimean war.

Huge naturalised swathes of the tiny flowers are found in areas with rich military history and traditions.

So if you can, try to get out to see the snowdrops. There are locations all over Britain which offer spectacular displays of the flower and there is sure to be one within easy reach of where you live.

As you marvel at these living snowdrifts pause to remember another group of British working men sent to die in a pointless foreign war in the hills above the famous valley of death.

The British Establishment has never had much respect for its old soldiers. It doesn’t today.

Forty years after Tennyson’s famous poem, Rudyard Kipling wrote The Last of the Light Brigade.

It commemorated the last 20 survivors of the charge of the Light Brigade who visited an 80-year-old Tennyson to lobby him for not writing a sequel about the way in which England was treating its old soldiers.

Kipling felt strongly on the subject and returned to it again in his poem to draw attention to the poverty in which the real survivors were living, in the same way that he evoked The Absent Minded Beggar.

“When you’ve shouted ‘Rule Britannia,’ when you’ve sung ‘God save the Queen,’/When you’ve finished killing Kruger with your mouth,/Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine/For a gentleman in khaki ordered South?”

Recently I walked through one of London’s royal parks to see the snowdrops. By the gate I came across a homeless ex-soldier. He was begging. And you thought we were supposed to learn from history.

Snowdrops on Dutch Texel island: here.

25 thoughts on “Snowdrops, wars and poetry in Britain

  1. The tragedy of The Born To Rule class appears to me as strong as ever, this conniving depraved club of individuals able to manipulate the masses is extraordinary and this must prevail with the help of the popular media of propaganda who broadcast fairly mundane trivia to the masses, and assisted by those who having completed university degrees in universities such as Oxford, have a investment in maintaining the regularity of repression? why would they do otherwise? to take up what many would argue is a lost cause to promote the welfare of the downtrodden, and forsake the advantages of the consoling features of family, wealth and possible fame.
    Over the centuries of the class system indoctrination many having suffered the vagaries leaving a trail insanity, the cultural maimed and the few that survive whole would not only be possible targets of police and security agents but also targeted by the group they are helping and the wrath of the dominating classes on the multitude of differing levels of those who are doing well with the system as it is?

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  12. Friday 17th February 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    PETER FROST investigates an outbreak of countryside crime

    “IT IS my belief, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of crime than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.” So said Sherlock Holmes. Sadly it still seems to be true today.

    All over the country this weekend people will be taking themselves off to parks, gardens and other open spaces to see the snowdrops. These tiny but spectacular flowers will be announcing the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

    While they do, others will be packing small spades and trowels to dig up some of those delicate but often surprisingly valuable plants.

    The story of how those exotic snowdrops reached our parks and gardens goes back a long way — to October of 1854, in the rolling meadows of Crimea, 600 brave British soldiers were ordered to their death by ignorant and arrogant aristocratic officers keen to extend the British empire.

    Tennyson summed up the destiny of the common man in his famous poem: “Theirs not to reason why,/Theirs but to do and die:/Into the valley of Death/Rode the six hundred.”

    Then at the end of January, in a curious parallel of the flush of blood-red poppies that painted the fields of Flanders in another foreign war, the hills of Crimea bought forth a huge beautiful display of tiny snow white flowers.

    British soldiers were amazed to see the battlefields covered in little, frail snowdrops. The flowers were, in fact the Crimean snowdrop (Galanthus plicatus).

    Many of the British soldiers took the tiny bulbs home with them, some even slipped the bulbs — little bigger than a grain of wheat — into letters to their wives and sweethearts at home.

    Today snowdrops, both the Crimean species and our own native and slightly larger common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) are a familiar and very welcome part of our midwinter countryside.

    Did you know that there are over 2,000 different types of snowdrop, or galanthus, growing wild in our countryside and in our parks and gardens?

    There are even snowdrop clubs and snowdrop societies and the rarest and exotic varieties change hands for hundreds of pounds for a single bulb. Last year a single bulb reached nearly £1,400 at auction.

    Perhaps then we should not be surprised that these plants — worth far more than their weight in gold — are becoming common victims of the crime of snowdrop poaching.

    Last year plant trader William Robson Adams was fined £370 for illegally harvesting wild flowers from a beauty spot in Cumbria.

    When police raided Adams’s home at Great Orton, they found he had a stash of around 5,000 wild snowdrop bulbs. He had been seen carrying a rucksack and digging in the area.

    He was prosecuted by the National Wildlife Crime Unit, working with local police officers.

    Local dog walkers realised that the flowers were regularly vanishing from woodland for more than a year. Some reported seeing a dog walker with a rucksack digging in the area.

    Adams confirmed to police that he was a plant trader and that he had set up a small business selling plants and bulbs.

    During the search of his home, officers also found invoices for the plants he sold online through Ebay and Amazon.

    The plants included bluebells, wild garlic and snowdrops, all of which are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

    Snowdrops are also protected under a section of the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997, so they can only be sold if they have been legally acquired or lawfully imported.

    It is strictly against the law to take them from the wild and this means that their sale is a criminal offence.

    Adams also faced a charge of fraud by misrepresentation, because he had advertised plants for sale as artificially propagated, when they had actually been unlawfully uprooted. Adams admitted all the offences.

    The 5,000 bulbs which Adams took were all seized and then later replanted back into the wild by local volunteers.

    There is, of course, a huge legitimate trade in snowdrops. Specialist breeders have developed hybrids with splashes of colour on otherwise white petals and also with interesting hues in the leaves.

    Modern techniques mean that a single tiny bulb can be dissected into scores of parts each of which will produce a new flowering plant.

    The rarest of these demand amazing prices from snowdrop enthusiasts and also attract specialist thieves.

    The National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey, just north of Cambridge, has one of the finest snowdrops collections in the country with over 300 varieties of the delicate white flowers, including 20 varieties that have been bred at the Abbey itself. They have over 60 varieties for sale.

    Because of previous thefts individual bulbs at the abbey — some worth up to £700 — are now security tagged.

    Last year, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire had so many rare snowdrops stolen that they now only keep them on limited display.

    Out in the gardens clumps of more common snowdrops are watched over by hidden security cameras.

    All over the world wildlife crime is a threat to biodiversity. We tend to be aware of rhino horn and elephant tusk poaching or egg thieves raiding the nests of magnificent and threatened birds of prey.

    In fact plant crime is just as big business. Orchids, rare lilies and exotic bulbs all sell on the illegal horticultural market.

    In some locations mature trees and giant cacti sell for huge prices by those impatient to landscape new houses.

    There are 5,000 animals on the endangered list prepared by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species and six times as many plants registered as being at risk. One of them is the humble snowdrop.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c087-Watch-out-there-is-a-snowdrop-thief-about#.WKcvCvKbIdU

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