Thursday, February 26, 2015

Floral harbinger of spring

When I saw common snowdrops, Galanthus, blooming in profusion, 
the landscape reminded me of the carpets of white in European woodlands I had seen in the photos.
I was captivated by these little white fairies with green markings inside.

Snowdrops also reminded me of a fairy tale,The Month-Brothers, by Samuil Marshak. 
A little girl is ordered to find snowdrops by her cruel stepmother.
The child knows that the spring flowers do not grow in the middle of the winter,
but in the frozen woods she comes upon twelve magical brothers who make the impossible task possible.

I’ve learned from my European blog friends, how snowdrops bring forth hope for spring.
They are among the first to raise their heads from the ground.

In my country, Japanese Narcissus start to flower year-end and continue throughout the winter until spring. 

However, snowdrops to Europeans' heart would be like ume, Prunus mume, or Japanese apricot, to the Japanese heart.
Ume is one of the earliest fragrant bloomers to harbinger spring.  

When you find only one or two ume blossoms in the biting cold, your heart is warmed up.

Buds on the verge of flowering
It feels like weather becomes warmer with each new bloom.

The modest, lovely flowers inspire power of life by surviving through the piercing cold  
and emanating pure fragrance in the midst of winter.

When you see ume blossoms in full bloom at last after a couple of weeks later,
you can't hold back your excitement spring is on its way.

In my garden,  white-eyes have been coming since the time much too early for the ume blossoms
of which nectar they are fond of.
Ume in my garden is blooming soon.


  1. I see that Spring is already there...I can't wait to see it here !
    Great pictures !
    Have a nice day !

  2. The little White-eyes are beautiful little birds, I should love to have them in my garden too. You are right about the effect of snowdrops on our hearts over here they are definitely our first harbingers of the coming spring.
    What an amazing shade of pink the fourth photo of the ume blossom is, such an intense and pretty shade.

  3. Are your trees blossoming already? We are having an early spring here (Washington), and trees are just starting to blossom. We don't have snowdrops, but daffodils and crocuses are blooming. Sometimes crocuses even bloom in the snow.

  4. I love the snowdrop pictures and the fairy tale that goes with it that says we CAN achieve the impossible sometimes. While I am enjoying early spring in western Canada, spring still seems faraway in some parts of the east. The weather is out of our hands, but when blooms start to appear all seems a little more hopeful and possible.

  5. Dear Yoko, Thank you for this breath of spring as I look out onto glittering white. How wonderful it must be to see the ume blossoming. I just love snowdrops and narcissus, too. Some of my narcissus will finally bloom in June when the snow melts! PS I loved your apple story - little Y is showing some deep comprehension in language development!

  6. Beautiful pictures, especially love the little birds. Early spring here too and I love it.

  7. just gorgeous! i love the white-eyes!

  8. Spring with beautiful flowers and lovely birds... Nature is wonderful like also your photos are! I have never saw snowdrops and white-eyes, they must be stunning. Flowers really warm our hearts. I'm waiting for Spring. It's a delight read and apreciate your fabulous posts.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  9. Our zwiastyny spring are beautiful, and even your are wonderful, especially the flowering trees. Spring is coming and to you and to us. Regards.

  10. Nice to see the first touches of spring. Snowdrops are wonderful, I love it !
    Your pictures are so beautiful !
    Greetings :)

  11. Did we see an ume tree in the autumn? or was this another one. I can't remember the name of it. I wonder if we call this tree a flowering quince. . I love those little narcissi .. they are early here but certainly don't grow outside before about March. None of mine have come out yet. I have never seen white-eyes, what pretty little birds.

    1. I may have caused confusion by using common name. I should’ve used science name. Ume is Prunus mume. (I added this name to the post). I think what you saw at Isui-en Garden in Nara City was October cherry blossoms. They have small flowers and continue to bloom till April one by one. I don’t know how Ume is called commonly in English: according to dictionary, Japanese apricot. It would be difficult to tell apart from Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) because blossoms look similar, but bark is different. Prunus mume, Chaenomeles, and Cherry blossoms are all rose family; no wonder they look similar.

  12. i loved seeing all your beautiful flowers
    they fill my heart with joy
    we will not have flowers here for at least two months
    i loved considering your fairy tale and might have to read it
    and such pretty birds

  13. Hello Yoko!
    Your photos of snowdrops and ume are beautiful......and what a delightful little bird!
    If we believe in magic we can outwit wicked stepmothers and conquer all manner of impossible tasks!

    Have a lovely week,

  14. They are so beautiful. Heavenly views and heartwarming flowers of spring.

  15. Hi Yoko, your spring flower photos are a true feast for the eyes, the soft colors are dripping into my soul, melting, soothing...

    1. Thank you for your kind words Yoko! :-)
      There is an "Afterwards" post, if you would like to have a look...
      Enjoy your Sunday!

  16. こんばんは。スノードロップにそんな童話があるとは、知りませんでした。この花を見たら愛おしんであげたいです。 ご自宅の庭に梅が咲くのですか、羨ましいです。

  17. ه°·✿

    Que post maravilhoso!!!!
    Um mar de flores lindas e perfumadas!!!
    A última foto é um encanto para os olhos!
    Bom mês, ótima semana!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.
    ♪♬♫° ·.

  18. No snowdrops showing here yet, as we have had a very cold winter, and the snow still covers the ground. But soon.......
    I love spring flowers. Later today I will buy some tulips or daffodils for my house, to brighten my spirits!


  19. Olá amiga,vim retribuir sua carinhosa visita ao meu cantinho.
    Fiquei feliz por seguir-me!!!
    Obrigada,volte sempre e pegue o meu selinho de agradecimento!

    Beijos Marie.

  20. 梅の香、そして、様々な色彩。 春らしい雰囲気です。 

  21. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!!! :)

  22. へえー、面白そうな物語ですね。今回も素晴らしい写真の勢揃い、、、スノードロップスの可憐さや、鳥の写真、背景にボケの入った梅の写真もどれも素敵です。 うちの近所に、梅だか、桜だかが咲き始めて笑みが自然に出てきます。 今年は春が早く来そうな気配です。

  23. Beautiful pictures, as always! Thank you for sharing them! I was so sad my snowdrops didn't come out this year (I just planted the bulbs in the autumn, perhaps it was too cold for them), but I'm waiting for my Ume to bloom, I also have one in my garden ;-) And then the Japanese Cherry trees! I hope spring will come soon, the winter was too long... Have a nice day!

  24. Hello Yoko,
    What a delight to start my day looking at yout images...
    I hope spring will bring you lots and lots of joy!
    Cheers from Brazil

  25. Hi Yoko,

    great to see that the first harbingers of spring already arrived around Nara!
    Recent Saturday my wife and I were in search of floral signs of spring as well - and truly we found some of the first almond blossoms in Germany!
    Ume blossoms we don't have here in Germany, but your other flowers are well known here in our part of planet Earth, too.
    Your green little birdies are really enchanting!
    Kind regards from spring-like Germany, Uwe.

  26. この数日、冷たい日が続いていますね。長い間ご無沙汰しています。咲き乱れる水仙、ピンクの梅、ほのかに香るようです。
    うちの庭の隅っこ、ガレージのそばに、車の排ガスにもめげず、毎年可憐な水仙が咲きます。手入れをしないのにちゃんと毎年この時期咲くので、丈夫な花なのだなあと思ってました。Happy spring time!

  27. Αγαπημένη μου Yoko
    Τι υπέροχες ανοιξιάτικες φωτογραφίες!!!
    Σε μας ο χειμώνας ήταν σκληρός, ακόμα βρέχει καθημερινά και στον κήπο μόνο οι νάρκισσοι φύτρωσαν!
    Ελπίζω κι εύχομαι να είστε όλοι καλά στην οικογένεια σου!
    Πολλά φιλιά σε όλους σας!

  28. Hello, Yoko.
    Dropped in for a sec and saw snowdrops and daffodils, and I think, even smelled spring fragrance. Thank you!
    The birds are a miracle!
    Have a lovely spring week end!
    With heartfelt wishes from Russia,


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