Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Fair-Maids Of Frog End


If you should ever find yourself in the village of Shepreth, - which is pretty unlikely for most of you, I know - and more particularly in that part of it called Frog End, then look out for a footpath leading off at an angle from the road. As footpaths go this one is pretty useless, as it takes you through a field, then back to the same road you've just left. Not only that but it crosses a field that is often occupied by a large bull. It's not a popular route.



But between the road and the bull pasture there's a small (very small) triangular wood. And that's where the fair-maids hang out at this time of year.



Yes, February Fair-maids is just another name for Snowdrops and this little wood has more than its share of them.



It's an odd plant in that no one is really sure if it's a native British species or not, though they certainly look as natural as any wild flower and they seem to thrive in our climate.



The thing that makes botanists doubt their natural occurrence is that they hardly ever spread by producing seed, but mostly by subdividing as bulbs. There's just not enough insect life around to pollinate them in February.



They have long been regarded as symbols of purity by the Catholic Church, and many places where snowdrops are plentiful were the sites of old nunneries and priories. As these were abolished during the reign of Henry VIII the snowdrops have certainly been on these islands for many centuries.



This little wood though has been planted more recently. A small sign tells us that it's called Caroline's Corner and was planted in December 1987. More than that I can not tell you.



There are Winter Aconites here too. They are certainly not native to these shores, coming from Southern Europe, but have escaped from gardens and have made themselves very at home in our woodlands.



In Suffolk they are sometimes known as "Choirboys" from the collar of greenery surrounding the flowers like choirboys' ruffs. Fair-maids and Choirboys it is then.




Take care.





23 comments:

  1. Handsome choirboys and lovely fair maids. If they get together just imagine the offspring!

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  2. Those photos are more than beautiful! Our Snowdrops and Aconites will bloom in mid-April!

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  3. Just gorgeous! Incredible photos!

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  4. Beautiful flowers and clever photography. The carpet of snowdrops is just gorgeous.

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  5. Those fields of snowdrops are gorgeous! Wow, can't believe you already have flowers blooming! We're supposed to have a snowstorm on Saturday.

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  6. Beautiful, I've loved seeing your cheerful photos on this grey and rainy morning:)

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  7. How beautifully you have photographed the 'Fair-Maids' of Frog End. This post is such a delicious sight to see - well done to both you and your camera. I think that perhaps Snow Drops are quite early this year.

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  8. What a marvelous sight John.. I always think of snowdrops as being typically English, shows you how much I know 😊 Beautifully shown here ✨

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    1. We always think of them as English flowers too. And maybe they are; nobody's sure if they are garden flowers which escaped into the wild or wild flowers that found their way into gardens.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible beauty. You have captured it well, and now I wonder, do they have a scent at all? I find many cold weather flowers don't bother, as you mentioned that there are few insects around to attract.

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  10. The crisp green and white in the winter landscape is so beautiful.

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  11. That has got to be by far the best collection of fair maids I have seen this year John - absolutely breath-taking.

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  12. Wow - snowdrops already! Lovely shots indeed.

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  13. Stunning captures of snowdrops John - green and white is a beautiful sight

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  14. Wonderful - I haven't seen snowdrops for a long time and never like that.

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  15. A little touch of spring while I look out of my window to see snow and ice everywhere.

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  16. That's pretty fabulous! We've had such a mild winter the early bloomers were popping up here, then we got the real snow drops!

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