L ady’s smock
F orget me not
R agged Robin
Since the world has slowed down a bit, we get such pleasure from noticing the wonder and diversity in the natural world on our doorstep.
We started our small wildflower area by the pond years ago. First we had to scrape off the top layer of soil to impoverish it. Many seed mixes were tried, and I sowed some plugs that I grew from seed. My friend, Lisa, gave me 2 sods from her meadow with an orchid in each.
Now there are about 50 orchids, the delicate harebells have naturalised and the lovely dark red burnet. The flowers attract cinnebar moths , small blue butterflies, hover flies, bees, dragonflies – its quite amazing.
Painting the flowers as they appear is so absorbing.The great common names for them invite research into their origins.
Forget me not are a symbol of faithfulness and friendship.
The name comes from a German Knight who walking along a riverbank, picked one for his lady, fell in, and before he was swept away, threw them to her crying – vergiz min niht! – which is still the German name for it.
Lady’s Smock is so named because it appears around 25th March , or Lady Day.
In traditional herbal medicine, the flowering tips are said to be good for nervous afflictions such as epilepsy, hysteria, and St Vitus’s Dance.
Might be useful in todays climate!
There are some really interesting myths and legends – I recommend ‘ Ireland’s Wild Plants, myths, legends and folklore’ by Niall Mac Coiter, illustrated by Grania Langrishe – ( no relation)!
I am making wild flower collection prints, a few (very limited edition lampshades), and hopefully finding more applications for the paintings. Keep an eye on the website!