I noticed these birds last Winter because of their unusual plumage and (not being a bird-watcher) found out they were Egyptian geese. They were back again today, so I abandoned the flower photography.
They were introduced to the UK in the late 17th Century as an ornamental bird to adorn the lakes of country estates. They are originally from sub-tropical Africa and the Ancient Egyptians considered them sacred. However, these days in their native homeland they have become a nuisance because they eat crops.
Until recently in the UK, these birds were quite rare and were mainly confined to a small area of Norfolk. The birds tend to breed in January, traditionally too cold for chicks to survive, but as temperatures have increased over the last 20 years, so too has the population of these birds and they are now found in different parts of the UK.
It was great to see the RHS garden coming to life last weekend. Not only were there snowdrops, but also daffodils, miniature cyclamen, winter aconite and dwarf crested iris.
I managed to get a macro shot of a winter blooming camellia.
A red witch hazel.
Then there was this very strange one – Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Grandiflora.’ An unusual looking flower, which is generally pest and disease free – according to the RHS. It originates from the Himalayas and was introduced in the 1850’s. It is tricky to cultivate, but produces fragrant blooms if successful.
Finally – my abstract version of the red witch hazel.
The botanical name for snowdrops is ‘Galanthus.’ The name is thought to come from the Greek word ‘gala’ meaning milk – like the colour of the plant. There are 2500 varieties of snowdrop.
According to folklore, snowdrops should not be brought into the home because it may signify impending death.