Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Hoping for a place at Murray Edwards

011Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, was founded as New Hall in 1954, moved to its present site in the early 1960s, and received its current name in 2008.  Its 1960s buildings are surrounded by flower-filled gardens which, even in late October, are vibrant with a large variety of Salvia species.  Members of the College are allowed to gather flowers from the garden.

Murray Edwards remains one of Cambridge’s three women-only colleges, and, according to its website, provides ‘excellence in the education of outstanding young women from all backgrounds’.  Some of the trees in its garden, notably a gingko (Ginkgo biloba), have hair-ties and similar objects attached to them.  According to the College’s gardener, these are placed there by girls who have been interviewed by the College, in the hope that their A-level exam results will be sufficiently good for them to get a place there.

Comment:  According to a woman attending an exotic plant walk in Battersea Park, London, in July 2022, when she was at school she knew gingko as good-luck tree, and before exams they would pick and leaf and take it into the exam room.

Updated 19 July 2022.

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