Part of our summer was spent visiting World War 1 battle sites in Belgium and the war cemeteries around Ypres and Passchendaele. When we heard the National Trust had some special plans in Manchester to commemorate the centenary of WW1 and were looking for volunteers we were all super keen to get involved. Their ambitious plan was to plant 100,000 snowdrops all around the city throughout the month of September. Snowdrops are the flower of choice for two reasons – apparently they are a sign of peace but also a link to the white war graves. An early source of nectar for bees as well, the bee is the symbol of Manchester so the snowdrop ticks all the boxes.
Gardeners we are not – knowing next to nothing about planting anything never mind snowdrops, but as we arrived the very helpful National Trust people got us all set up and showed us how best to plant the bulbs. We got to work straight away. The sun shone a bit, we dug holes (very hard) and planted snowdrops (very rewarding), Son had the best time ever and was reluctant to leave. Between us we planted about 150 bulbs – not so great in the overall scheme of things – but good to get involved and be part of this experience.
We will return next year when hopefully a beautiful display of snowdrops will herald the end of winter and serve as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the Great War.