Flowers of Compassion

Beech Flowers
Beech Flowers

While we’re on the subject of Beech (see previous post) I thought you might be interested in these. In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach gave up his promising medical practice in Harley Street, London and went off to the country. He was looking for a better way to make people well. He had been playing around with vaccines and that sort of thing, but to use the stuff of the disease to cure, just seemed plain wrong. It took him twenty years, but he eventually came up with his flower remedies, thirty six essences made from flowers, just about as close to nature as he could get.

When it came to people whose illness could be traced back to anxiety caused by intolerance and lack of compassion, people who perhaps, lived with the frustration of feeling that their whole world was made up of individuals who just didn’t get it – or even just would never get it, Dr Bach would prescribe an essence made from the flowers of the Beech tree.

Now Beech trees only start to flower once they come of age, and for Beech trees this means thirty years old. They only flower at the top of the tree or sometimes on the sunny side, if one side has a sunnier aspect. Beech trees pruned into hedges rarely flower.

I felt incredibly lucky to find these flowers on the Beech trees just up the road.

All Over Too Soon

Bluebell Glade
Bluebell Glade

There are still large numbers of bluebells about – true most have lost the deep blue they had when they first burst into flower, but even as the colour drains away and they become pale shadows of their former selves, glimpsed through the trees, a large spread of flowers carpeting a glade, or perhaps just a patch of sunlight, can catch your breath. Bluebells are one flower that definitely improves with quantity. As a single flower the individual blooms are an attractive enough bell shape, I suppose, but I’ve always felt that that great chunky stalk rather spoilt the effect. It’s no wonder that, over the border in Scotland, they chose the far more delicate Harebell for the Bluebell of Scotland.

Flowers, in general, do seem to excite the senses more when we perceive then en mass. Think of a carpet of primroses for instance and the more delicate violet is absolutely lost individually but quite eye catching if you come across them dominating a patch of roadside verge, short grass or moss.

A clump of bluebells on the roadside, is interesting enough – the first time you see them but, really, you might as well pick a bunch to take home and put in a vase. They are just not ‘full on’ flowers, they don’t have the size or texture to make a coffee table or sideboard their own. Buy a bunch of dahlias or chrysanthemums if you want flowers in a vase, cut flowers have been bred for the job. Bluebells come into their own when seen out of the corner of your eye through dappled light filtering through leaves. It’s that stab of beauty, that millisecond surge of emotion so beloved of poets. That’s where bluebells come into their own.

Greater Stitchwort

Greater Stitchwort
Greater Stitchwort

Suddenly there are flowers everywhere. They all seem to be in a hurry to catch up with the growing season. I hope they aren’t jumping the gun, there aren’t that many bees and the like about yet. We have seen a few bumble-type bees and some of the smaller things that look like a cross between a fly and a bee, oh, and a couple of butterflies – but not enough to get round all the daffodils, celandines and dandelions that have exploded out of the road verges in the last few weeks.

This is Greater Stitchwort. Now that it has its flowers you can see that it isn’t just a stalk of grass. It is apparently, edible, although there doesn’t seem enough of it to make a meal.

The name Stitchwort comes from its use to treat a ‘stitch’ (in the side, as against in time) in the olden days. It is Greater Stitchwort because it has a cousin with smaller flowers.

It is also known as ‘Dead Man’s Bones’ because it has such a brittle stem. It tends to grow in amongst grass and other plants, as they give it some support. It particularly likes the verge of woods and the edge of hedges for the shelter they afford.

We must keep a lookout for the Lesser Stitchwort – and tell it that we’ve seen its big brother.

Awake! Awake!

Lesser Celandine - Still Closed
Lesser Celandine – Still Closed

Lament (Part VIIII )

(The East Wind blows,
my ears froze,
and so’s
my nose.)
We have this wretched east wind again! I thought we’d made ourselves clear.
It’s presence is definitely not required, in fact it isn’t welcome here
We do have a little sunshine, weak and watery stuff, fighting through the haze,
with one thing and another, it certainly is not the warmest of days.
We came back from our walk at half eleven, it was enough to make you weep,
the Lesser Celandine along the drive were all still tucked up in bed, fast asleep!
Come on Celandine up, up, up, you certainly are the laziest of flowers.
You should take a leaf from the Dandelions book – they’ve been up for hours.