Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Galanthus 'Bitton' (And English As A Foreign Language)

Galanthus 'Bitton' is a very small snowdrop; a nivalis clone (nivalis being the small 'English' or 'European' snowdrop species). Bitton is known for being a husky version of nivalis and for having a thick, straight flower stem (a rather relative thing, since nivalis is such a tiny, frail-looking little thing... we're talking about a sturdy version of a four inch tall flower). I assume this clone is named after either the Parish of Bitton, or Bitton Village which lies in that parish; they are in the county of Gloucester, in S.W. Great Britain; a lovely spot indeed, which many years ago I traversed traveling to Bath, on my way to Cornwall to go hiking. I eventually found that Gloucester is pronounced gloss-ter, much to the amusement in the meantime of the locals (though they had no ready answer when I asked why they kept wasting time and ink putting syllables in their words if they weren't going to ever pronounce them). I only later thought I should also have asked if Gloucester is Glosster and Worcester is Wooster why isn't Winchester pronounced Winster? They probably wouldn't have had an answer to that either.

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Winster, oh, absolutely. I love that observation. Those shortenings drive my yankee soul insane!

Love the close up shot. The details you share make me so happy. It's the little things, right?
I've never met a Galanthus I didn't like. Your comment about English dropping of syllables reminds me of an intro Stephen Fry did to one of the Jeeves & Wooster episodes on PBS in which he prounounced and spelled several English names (including Chomondeley of Clematis fame), concluding sadly, "This is Stephen Fry, spelled merely F-R-Y."
Joyful to see the snowdrops, however they are spelled or pronounced. Like MMD, I never met one I didn't love, and to cheer my spring-starved soul, fourteen of the little darlings have appeared in one spot in our garden where the snow has given way. The shoots are an inch tall--honestly, I will have photos tomorrow!--and already blooming. We just MIGHT make it through.
Jenn... it HAS to be the little things in spring!

MMD... the Brits are SO inconsistent.

Jodi... when things finally start popping, it goes fast!

This is a beautiful little flower. You must be wearing knee-pads these days! ;-)

Have you heard the locals call Keosauqua "k'sawkwa" or Keokuk "klkuk?"

Ho ho - of course there's a reason! it's just ce that gets dropped, not che. You forgot Leicester too (les-ter) and Bicester (bis-ter).

Now what was that about Arkansas and Tucson.... :)
Shady... And of course there's always Whacheer!

Sue... They may be consistent, but they are still quirky!

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