NEW signs of spring will be coming into bloom by the Reading Abbey Ruins following a snowdrop planting session by volunteers on Monday 13th March.
The volunteers will be planting 1,000 snowdrops on the corner of Chestnut Walk from 10am to 12.30pm, to complement the carpet of crocuses which have just started coming into flower.
Employees from the Western Rail Link to Heathrow team (from Network Rail) will be using their employee community volunteering days to join forces with Reading Museum staff and volunteers from the Friends of Reading Museum.
The aim is to establish the snowdrops by Reading Abbey Ruins in time for the re-opening in 2018.
Paul Gittings, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, said: “We are grateful to all the volunteers taking part in the snowdrop planting.
“This is a great example of the business community lending their support to help re-establish Reading Abbey Ruins as a cultural and historical destination for the local and wider community.
“We hope these snowdrops will attract new visitors to the area around the Reading Abbey Ruins and hopefully the bulbs will naturalise to form a short snowdrop walk.”
Network Rail’s Western Rail Link to Heathrow consents manager, Michaela Payne, said: “Our team is working hard to deliver a key part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, but our work within the community is also vitally important to us.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the re-opening of the Reading Abbey Ruins and we hope that the snowdrop display will help to bring in locals and tourists alike to appreciate this historically significant site.”
Photo opportunity: The media are invited to attend the snow drop planting at Chestnut Walk on Monday 13th March between 10am to 10.30am.
Photos of the snowdrop planting will be available after this date on request.
Snowdrops have been chosen as they are regarded as one of the first signs of spring and they are often found in abbey ruins and graveyards.
Some historians think that snowdrops were often planted by Norman monks as a symbol of purity and the cleansing of the earth after winter.
Some of the greatest snowdrop displays in England were all originally monastic sites such as Walsingham Abbey, Hodsock Priory, Anglesey Abbey (which was founded by Henry I in 1135) and Welford Park in Newbury.
Snowdrops were also harvested for medicinal use. The monks harvested snowdrops and used to rub them on the temple of people suffering from “mal au tete”.