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Prayer tree, Chelmsford cathedral

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |


Children’s prayer ‘tree’ in the nave of Chelmsford Cathedral, Essex.  People, in this case children, are invited to write prayers on leaf-shaped cards and hang them on the tree. Such trees have become common in recent years.



Red roses half-price

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |



Red roses on sale at half-price, Sainsbury’s, Balham, London Borough of Wandsworth, 15 February 2020.



Valentine’s Day, Chelmsford, 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Flower stalls in Chelmsford, Essex, Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2020, apparently attracting little attention, but the first, at the railway station, had almost sold out, at least of red roses, by 6 p.m.






Henry Irving wreaths

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Wreaths of eucalyptus and unidentifiable foliage, placed at the base of the statue of Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), in Charing Cross Road, behind the National Portrait Gallery, London, photographed on 10 February 2020.

According to its website the Irving Society, established in 1996, members of the Society lay a wreath on the statute each year on the Sunday closest to his birthday (6 February) ‘as a  tribute to his achievements’.

Flowers for St Alphege

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Flowers placed on the reputed site of the martyrdom of St Alphege (c.953-1012), in St Alphege’s church, Greenwich, London.

Photographed February 2020.


Winter flowering hawthorn

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

In our discussion of the Shenley Church End ‘Holy Thorn’, it was suggested that this tree is not in fact a descendent of a Glastonbury tree, but a naturally occurring sport.  An example of such a sport can be seen growing the Mudchute Park, beside the road, near Mudchute DLR station, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.  Although this tree does not blossom at Christmas time, it produces flowers in February – in 2019 it was flowering on 15 February, and in 2020 (when this photograph was taken) it had buds, some of which had openned, on 3 February.

Jarramplas festival

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

The Catholic Herald of 24 January 2020 has on its ‘Images of the Week’ page a brief report on the Jarramplas festival, held in Piornal, Extremadura, Spain, on the feast of St Sebastian (20 January).  During this a man in a padded suit under a ‘monster costume’ is pelted with an estimated 20,000 kg of turnips (Brassica rapa).  After this he carries a statue of the saint back to the village church.  The report concludes with the comment ‘the festival’s origins are obscure’.

Plant-lore Archive: January 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Nine items of information were received from eight contributors during the month, bringing the total to 8140 items from 2516 contributors.

Visits were paid to the Shenley Church End Holy Thorn, the Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival, and events to commemorate St Charles King and Martyr.

Progress was made on a possible new book on English plant-names, and one publication was produced:

Bridge the gap, BSBI News 143: 76-7 [a note on the use of plant-lore to overcome plant-blindness].

Image:  flowers decorating memorial stones, St Mary’s churchyard, Shenley Church End, Hertfordshire, 13 January 2020.

REMINDER: Forgotten Uses of Neglected Plants

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

On Wednesday 5 February Roy Vickery will be lecturing on Forgotten Uses of Neglected Plants to the Hertfordshire Herb Group, in Welwyn Garden City, starting at 8.00 p.m.  For further details see the Events page on this website; contact

Report:  An audience of about 15, all female, apparently enjoyed a 45-minute talk, followed by discussion during which most of those present kindly recorded their plant-lore memories.

Wreaths on memorials, 30 January 2020

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Wreaths placed on the plinth of the equestrian statue of King Charles I –  St Charles, King and Martyr – at south side of Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, City of Westminster, placed there by the King’s Army of the English Civil War Society (at top), and the Order of the Crown of Stuart, the Governor-General and members of the Royal Stuart Society, and the Memorial of Merit of King Charles the Martyr (at base).

Wreath tied to the railings of the Banqueting House, Whitehall by members of the King’s Army, with people waiting to attend the ‘Commemoration of the Martyrdom’ service, which was attended by c. 200 people, mostly men.  King Charles was beheaded outside the Banqueting House, on 30 January 1649.


Three identical wreaths placed at the base of the memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens to Charles George Gordon, British soldier and colonial adminsitrator, who was killed in Khartoum, Sudan on 26 January 1885.  Placed there by the Gordon family, the Gordon Foundation governors, staff and pupils of Gordon’s School, and the Gordonians (members of the school’s alumni association).

Wreath and a solitary artificial red rose, placed at the base of the statue of the Scottish poet Robert Burns (b. 25 January 1759), also in Victoria Embankment Gardens.




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