Calling all Galanthophiles

A walk along the towpath on a blustery but dry afternoon resulted in these pictures.

For those who love these beautiful heralds of the approaching spring, early February in 2016 was the time to walk through the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park  (BLCP) length of the Towpath Trail from Cricket lane to the A 38 corner  ‘Bobbie’s Bend’).

In clumps and drifts, the developing snowdrops are the product of Dave Simkins’ and others patient planting, over 10 years ago. (Now commemorated by the plaque and small Rowan tree on the Lock 25 ‘triangle’ across the footbridge at the base of Lock 25).

Hilary Smith was also heavily involved. Hilary recalls “I must have moved  thousands of snowdrops and daffodil bulbs. I was transporting them by the wheel-barrel load to clear the canal bed along other parts of Tamworth Road prior to restoration work".

At this time of the year, the margins under the hedgerow are crowded with snow-like splashes of white. These will quickly fade of course.  However, they will be replaced by tiny green pods that will mature and soon dispense their seed, ensuring that next year we will again enjoy an even grander spectacle, seen from the footbridge at the base of Lock 25.

The following excerpt from the Daily Telegraph gives a vision into the Galanophile’s world:

“While some snowdrops sell for silly prices (the record is currently £725 for a single bulb), Matt feels that it is possible to build up an excellent collection of truly distinctive snowdrops without breaking the bank. The must-have snowdrop of the late Nineties, ‘Godfrey Owen’, for example, can now be found for around £20, while there are old varieties such as ‘S. Arnott’ that sell for under a fiver and have never been bettered.”

Would that the Trust’s limited Environment budget might stretch to acquire such delights. Are there any philanthropic donors out there who would consider a contribution to our funds to permit an outlay to be enjoyed by so many visitors, promoting the Trust’s public image?

Soon it will be time to walk on up the bank to the A51, where the Celandine, Primroses and Daffodils planted by the ’Staffords’ and the Trust’s ‘Green Team’ will brighten a walk through Farrant’s Coppice’.

Mike Battisson Director (Environment)

Environment Matters   2016  Issue 1

Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

Snowdrop  (Galanthus nivalis)

We are used to seeing drifts of snowdrops, but with their heads hanging down we rarely see their faces.

Trees like this beech were also planted by Trust volunteers about 15 to 20 years ago and are now beginning to fulfil the vision of those ‘pioneers’.

Photos:  Paul Marshall

Mike Battisson, Kate Griffiths, Verona Murphy, Hilary Smith and Stuart Hickson   May 6th 2006

Memories from 2006 - A volunteer group from Dains Accountants took part in a bulb planting exercise along the towpath-side banks at the back of Lock 26, with Mike Battisson in typical pose (his words) leaning on a fork ‘supervising?’

The bulbs were principally bluebells, but also some single snowdrops that had been collected from local gardens by Hilary and Mike, and hugely supplemented by a collection given by Pat and Peter Magee.

Tamworth Road     February 3rd 2016         Photos: Paul Marshall