LS said you haven't been writing much and I said that is true but life is quiet at the moment but yesterday (Easter Sunday) we went a walk round our urban area, the place is alive with all the white and pink blossoms of individual planting and council planting (Chelmsford has acres of green verges and trees) the yellow of forsthyia and mock orange blossom. But taking a small footpath I spied a lone pasque flower sitting miserably in the grass* of a neglected garden, maybe left over from when the area was more wild and houseless. I of course exclaimed excitedly look the Easter pasque flower and today looked it up in Geoffrey Grigson. He says "has a fair claim to being the most dramatically and exotically beautiful of all English Plants and then goes on to give Gerard's description of this Eastertide flower..
"The first of these Passe flowers have many small leaves finely cut or jagged, like those of carrots; among which rise up naked stalkes, rough and hairie; whereupon do grow beautiful flowers bell fashion of a bright delaide purple; in the bottom thereof groweth a tuft of yellow thrums(stamen) and in the middle of the thrums thrusteth a small purple pointell; when the wholemis past there succeedeth an head or knoppe, of many graie lockes, and in the solid ports of the knops lieth the seede flat and hoarie, every seede having his own small haire at it"
|Pasque flower; taken from the Creative Commons|
Which led me to look up a flower I used to see on the Somerset downs, the harebell, belonging to my favourite group of flowers the Campanula or bellflowers, and with such a name plenty from Grigson on this delicate pale blue flower of summer.
"Bluebell of Scotland or not, it was aslo the Old Man's Bell, the devil's bell, which was not to be picked, the Witch Bell, the Cuckoo's Thimble, and in Gaelic the Cuckoo's Shoe, brog na cubhaig. In Ireland this fine etched plant is sometimes mearcan puca , thimble of the puca* or goblin and it was a fairy plant in the South-West of England and of course the hare" (which has so much folklore and is also an Easter/witch animal). The Englishman's Flora - Geoffrey Grigson.
|Harebells - campanula rotundifolia. On the Lansdown where you can also find hares if you are lucky.|
The word Puca/Goblin can also be found in Somerset 'Pucklechurch' a large village of Saxon origin, and an old well on the Lansdown Puca Well...
Apparently the nettle leaved bellflower - Campanula trachelium, which I found once in Ebbor Gorge should according to Gerard be called the Cantebury Bell (Campanula medium), a name which possibly referred to the horse bells which tinkled as the pilgrims rode to the shrine of St.Thomas a Becket...
|Campanula - cantebury bell|
*Grass: There is a suggestion in the Saturday Guardian, that grass should be got rid of or taxed, this is because lawns are seen as relatively useless and take up the scarce water resources we are experiencing at the moment.