Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Abbotsbury garlands update

Posted on by royvickery |

For many years it was the custom of children in Abbotsbury, Dorset, to parade around the village with two garlands, one of wildflowers and one of cultivated flowers, on 13 May each year.  However, the custom has come to an end, at least temporarily.

We are grateful to Peter Robson for an update on the current situation:

‘According to some friends who moved to the village about three years ago in 2012 the Arnold family, who had run the event for years (as the owners of the last working fishing boat in the village), decided that they would no longer carry on the custom.  Another local woman decided that she wanted to keep it going and made garlands and put up a photographic display.  The garlands were vandalised, and, as a result, she did not repeat the exercise in 2013, so no garlands appeared.

A few years ago the organisers decided to start donating the collections to charity, rather than dividing them up amongst the children, and, as a result, the children mostly lost interest.  This, I feel, was the root of the decline.’


1.  According to FLS News, 77: 4 (November 2015) ‘the [garland] custom, dormant for some years, made a surprise reappearance in 2015’.

2.  They made a garland in Abbotsbury this year and placed it outside the community hall with a box beside it, but no one took any interest in it.  It wasn’t paraded or anything.  It’s not a community event [Peter Robson, May 2016].

Updated 22 December 2017.

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