Google the word ‘Edelweiss’ and you’ll be offered an airline, leisure resort, investment fund, jewellery shop and self-playing piano. Also of course, a well-known Rodgers and Hammersmith song from the Sound of Music. So, what’s the magic behind this small alpine plant?
The translation of ‘Edelweiss’ from German to English is “noble and white”. Long seen as a symbol of dedication, young men used to search high in the alps for the blooms to present to their loved ones. This led to several deaths through falls and exposure and the little plant became a symbol for courage and hope.
Sadly, so many flowers were successfully picked that the plants became endangered and in 1878 it became a protected species across a large part of the Alps.
In addition to being a love token Edelweiss was used as a herbal cure in medicines fighting dysentery, diphtheria and other horrors including tuberculosis. More recently the UV light absorbing capabilities of the plant have resulted in its being used in cosmetics and skin care.
Blossom of Snow
So, you love the idea of growing your own Edelweiss but don’t live in the alps? No problem, we at Suttons offer a fully hardy, low maintenance variety, perfect for the UK garden.
Leontopodium alpinum (Edelweiss) Blossom of Snow is a new and larger form than the wild variety. The flowers are more showy and being on long straight stems are perfect for cutting. These flowers will appear in early summer and will flower again in early autumn.
Plant in a sunny spot in light soil with good drainage and this beautiful and this unusual plant will delight you for years to come.
Lyrics from the 1957 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music”
every morning you greet me,
Small and white, clean and bright, You look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, Bloom and grow forever,
bless my homeland forever.