Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

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Forget-me-nots and dementia – 2

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Poster, featuring forget-me-nots, Myosotis sylvatica, in shop window, Ingatestone, Essex, August 2022.

REMINDER: Event in Whitstable, 9 August

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

On Tuesday 9 August Roy Vickery will be contributing a walk Tales of Flora: Folklore of Wild Plants to the Whitstable, Kent,  Wild About Whitstable Week, for further information see the Events page on this website.

Report: About 20 people apparently enjoyed wandering around Whitstable Castle Garden discussing the uses and folklore of some of the wild plants found there.  Drought conditions led to many of the plants being in poor condition, but we were mostly able to stay in the shady parts of the Garden and examine what was growing there.  The event was enlivened by contributions from several of the participants who were either practising herbalists or active foragers.

‘Everyone enjoyed it.’

Clipping box

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

According to Marcus Chilton-Jones in an article entitled ‘Take your cues from nature’, in the Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine, The Garden, 147(8): 28, August 2022: ‘Sayings like “don’t cut your box [Buxus sempervirens] till after Derby Day’ (end May/early June) are utter nonsense’.

Image: clipped box in garden of Ham House, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, July 2022, © Carlos Bruzon.

Plant-lore Archive – July 2022

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

July was an enjoyable rather than productive month.  15 items of information were received from 13 contributors, bringing the totals to 9055 items from 3100.  Visits were paid to various plant-lore events, ranging from Rose Petal Sunday in Salisbury to the Wild Flower Festival at St Peter’s church, Westleton.  Six walks were led, three of them being somewhat challenging due to the dry weather killing off vegetation.  13 posts were added to the website’s blog.

Image: creeping thistle, Cirsium arvense, Christchurch Park, Ipswich, Suffolk, July 2022.

Westleton Wild Flower Festival 2022

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Since 1966 the St Peter’s church in Westleton, Suffolk, has held an annual Wild Flower (or Wildflower, there appears to be no consensus on which is preferred) Festival, when the church is decorated with local wild flowers.

Thus it differs from other church flower festivals most of which rely on florists’ flowers, with the result that a  festival held in Cornwall in May can be little different from one held in the Peak District in September.

Until recently the Westleton Festival took place over three days, but in 2022, following two years during which no event was held due to covid-19, it was restricted to Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 July.  It theme was ‘Long May She Reign – Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee’.  In addition to the arrangements in the church, many of the more obvious wild flowers in the churchyard were supplied notices providing information about them.

Other attractions included a moth-trap which was emptied so that visitors could see and discuss what had been trapped the previous night, a plant sale, craft fair and refreshments in and around the village hall.

Additional photographs can be found at

The lucky Sussex clover

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Plastic ‘lucky Sussex clover’, ‘hand made in Eastbourne’,  for sale at The Glass Studio, on the pier, at Eastbourne, East Sussex, £1.99; July 2022.

Folk names for Plants and Flowers

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Thanks to Jenny Morgan, of Southwark Nature, who has drawn our attention to the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth entitled Lords and Ladies: Folk Names for Plants and Flowers, broadcast on 18 July 2022.  It can be heard on

Remember the horses …

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Wreath at the base of the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London, photographed 16 March 2022: ‘To remember the horse’s [sic.] that fell with the men’.

The artificial flowers appear to be cornflowers, Centaurea cyanus, which are worn in France in remembrance of service people who died during the World Wars, and in the United Kingdom were associated with the Ypres League, which commemorated the 50,000 British troops  slaughtered during the various battles of Ypres between October 1914 and October 1918.  The League existed from 1920 until the 1940s.

Cornflowers are also worn at equestrian events, especially coach-driving, a tradition which is said to have started during the reign of George III (1760-1820).

Carpet of Flowers, All Saints, Notting Hill

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |









The custom of making a floral carpet for the  feast Corpus Christi at All Saints (Anglo-Catholic) church, in Notting Hill, London, is thought to have started just before or just after the Second World War, and continued to be made for that occasion until at least 2016.  However in recent years the making of the carpet has moved to the church’s summer festival in July (at the Corpus Christi festival the main aisle in the church is strewn with rose, Rosa cvs, petals).

In 2022 the summer festival was held on 16 and 17 July, when various stalls were set up in the church.  The carpet consisted of leaves of a variety of evergreens, mainly spotted laurel, Aucuba japonica, with insets composed of petals

Belgian Cenotaph Parade, 2022

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

In 1934 King George V granted permission for Belgium to hold an annual parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.  This is held on the Saturday before Belgian National Day, 21 July, in 2022  Saturday 16 July.

The ceremony, which was watched by many (mainly Belgian?) members of the public, started at about 10.50 a.m. and continued for approximately 50 minutes.  After a parade of various Belgian and British military units, a number of Belgian and British dignitaries laid wreaths at the south side of the memorial, before all the participants paraded off  towards Trafalgar Square.

For further information see post of 16 July 2019.

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