Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Abbotsbury garlands, 2012

Posted on by royvickery |

At Abbotsbury, Dorset, children take garlands of flowers around the village on 13 May each year [1]. Similar garlands were prepared in other local villages until about 1940 [2]. Two garlands are made, one of wild flowers and the other of cultivated ones. At one time the garlands were thrown into the sea at the end of the day, but in more recent years they have been placed at the foot of the village war memorial.
The photograph here, taken on 17 May 2012, shows the cultivated-flower garland at the war memorial. It is composed of a rectangular wooden frame with two projecting wooden handles, covered by bunches mainly of rhododendrons (Rhododendron cvs), hellebores (Helleborus sp.) and a variegated form of evergreen spindle (Euonymus japonicus).

1. R. Vickery, Garlands, Conkers & Mother-die, 2010: 162-3.
2. P. Robson, Dorset garland days on the Chesil coast, in T. Buckland & J. Wood (eds), Aspects of British Calendar Customs, 1993: 155-66.

Image: Andrew Hay, 17 May 2012.

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