Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

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REMINDER: Celebrate our Weeds

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Roy Vickery will be giving a talk Celebrate our Weeds: Folklore & Uses of Common Plants at Chichester Quaker Meeting House, on Sunday 20 October, starting at 12.15 hrs.  For further details see the Events page on this website.

21st Autumn Pumpkin Festival

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

The 21st Jubilee Sailing Trust Autumn Pumpkin Festival was held in the Royal Victoria Park, Netley, Hampshire, on Saturday 12 October 2019, an excessively wet day.

Although several growers were happy to have broken their personal bests, no records were broken.  Twins Ian and Stuart Paton, of Lymington, who had successfully achieved new British records in 2017 and 2018, were the winners again, but failed to achieve the 2433.9 lbs which their 2018 winner weighed.

There were also a smaller number of giant marrows, which are said to take only six weeks to reach their massive size.

Harvest Festival, Gittisham, Devon

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Decorations in St Michael’s church, Gittisham, Devon, for its harvest festival service held on Sunday 6 October 2019.

REMINDER: Autumn Plants

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Roy Vickery will be leading a walk Autumn Plants: Their Uses and Folklore, in Ruskin Park, Lambeth, on Sunday 13 October, starting at 2.30 p.m.   For further details see the Events page on this website.

Report:  About eight people turned up on an unexpectedly dry afternoon and spent an hour wandering around a small area of the Park, a corner which had been much tidied up since the leader’s last visit.  However we were able to find sufficient plants to discuss and at the end of the walk most participants took cards and recorded their memories of plant-lore.  Thank you!

Plant-lore Archive: September 2019

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

A good amount of information, 39 items from 38 contributors, was received during the month, bringing the totals to 8063 items of information from 2473 contributors.

Unfortunately the recording of visits to the website broke down early in the month, so it is not possible to produce any statistics for these.

Vickery’s Folk Flora has been short-listed for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award, the winner of which will be announced on 29 October.

Image: Roy Vickery discussing Winchester’s Wonderful Weeds, Winchester Quaker Meeting House, Hampshire, 30 September 2019 @ Lorraine O’Hanlon.

REMINDER: Events 26-30 September 2019

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Three events over the next few days, for further details see the Events page on this website:

Thursday 26 September:  Wildlflower Walk, Camberwell Old Cemetery, London, SE22, staring at 2.30 p.m.

Report:  About 15 people turned up and spent about 90 minutes wandering around the varied habitats in the cemetery, recording and discussing the plants found in them.  91 species were found, but due to it being late in the year it was not possible to fully identify all of these.

Sunday 29 September: Folklore of Wild Plants walk, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London, E3, starting at 2.00 p.m.

Report:  17 people booked for this event, and despite the unsettled weather turned up to spend about two hours and forty minutes wandering through the Cemetery and discussing how some of its varied flora featured in folklore and had formerly been used.

Image:  sowbread, Cyclamen hederifolium, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Monday 30 September:  Celebrate the Local: Winchester’s Wonderful Weeds, garden of Winchester Quaker Meeting House, Colebrook Street, starting at 5.00 p.m.

Report:  The forecast rain started just before this event was due to start, so rather than taking people to the plants in the garden, plants were taken to people indoors.   Most of the 17 people present participated in the discussion, and one remarked afterwards that ‘I’ll never look at dandelions in the same way again!’

Sleeping under yew trees

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

In September 2019 the British Ancient and Sacred Trees Facebook page discussed yew (Taxus baccata).  According to one contributor:

In the Oswestry [Shropshire] they [knights-of-the-road/tramps] enjoy sleeping under yew because they give off a ‘vapour’ that gives a really good night’ sleep … [I have seen regular ‘knights’ sleeping  under the grand and ancient yew in Dolwyddelen church[yard].

And an Oxford contributor noted:

Have never known a cemetery without a yew tree, as it is a warm place for  homeless people to sleep under.

Image:  Brompton Cemetery, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, September 2019.

REMINDER: Wildflower Walk, 21 September 2019

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Roy Vickery will be leading a Wildflower Walk in Streatham Cemetery, London, SW17, on Saturday 21 September, starting at 3 p.m. and lasting for approximately one hour.  Meet at the main entrance to the Cemetery in Garratt Lane.  Part of the celebrations to mark the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate local ‘Daffodil King’, Peter Barr.  For further details see the Events page on this website.

Report:  About 100 people attended the plaque unveiling which took place on a hot and sunny afternoon.  Some of these went on to Streatham Cemetery, where the Friends of the Cemetery provided cake and teas.  About 30 people joined the Walk, which was renamed as a plant walk, the Cemetery being exceedingly parched and very few wildflowers being available for discussion.  Consequently we concentrated on trees, including  ash (Fraxinus excelsior) elder (Sambucus nigra) hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), while herbaceous plants, none of which were flowering, included common mallow (Malva sylvestris) creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) and ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Japanese knotweed scare – 7

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

According to The Times of 10 September 2019 Network Rail, which maintains Britain’s network of railway lines ‘lets Japanese knotweed [currently known as Reynoutria japonica, formerly known as Fallopia japonica]  blight homes’.  Thousands of properties are ‘blighted’, in some cases leaving their owners unable to sell them, due to the knotweed being exterminated.  Since 2011 Network Rail has received some 11,000 complaints, including more than 6,000 complaints that the plant is spreading on to private property.  1,650 complaints were lodged in 2017, and 1,521 in 2018.

In the year ending March 2018 Network Rail spent £1.2 million ‘fighting’ knotweed, thus funding the treatment of about 600,000 square metres.

Plant-lore Archive: August 2019

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

August, like most other Augusts, was a quiet month, with only 6 pieces of information being received, bringing the total to 8025 of information from 2443 contributors.

Use of the website continued to decrease with 5532 searches being made during the month.

One minor publication was produced:

Cemetery Plants: Nettle (Urtica dioica), Part 3: Traditional customs, Friends of Brompton Cemetery Magazine 65: 8-9.

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