Damn those Romans

Other snails are available

You can’t beat buying pot plants for instant gardening. If it’s colour you want them simply pop off to your local garden centre, buy something in bloom and take it home with you. Once it has gone over and lost its appeal the you can simply remove it and replace it.

At this time of year though, every time I lift an old plant I find that the pot is filled with snails. I curse those Romans as somewhere in the back of my mind I read that it was them that introduce these gastropods into England. Surely that can’t be true. How would historians know anyway?

A quick search on my favorite search engine suggest that I am partially right. I don’t think the Romans introduced all snails, just the edible ones Helix Pomatia. Also known as the Burgundy Snail or escargot, it is now a protected species in the UK. No more will I confuse these with the common Girdled snail, Hygromia Cinctella or the Rounded snail, Discus Rotundatus.

It turns out that it’s not the Romans’ fault that my pots are full of snails.

They were responsible for other things in the garden however, including stinging nettles, cabbages, peas, turnips and carrots. Don’t forget those rotten rabbits are their fault as well. It is amazing what one invading force can do, admittedly across many decades. Indeed the Roman’s often stole these things from other cultures. I think rabbits came from what we know as Spain now.

This also shows how our culture has been influenced by immigration over millennia. Many of the things that we take to be quintessentially native are in fact imports from foreign lands, long absorbed into the way we live and their origins long forgotten, or nearly.

Today these Romanesque introductions are as British as chicken tikka and panini. 

Damn them, they come over here and make our lives better.

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