Garlands, Conkers and Mother-Die : British and Irish Plant-Lore
Plants have had symbolic as well as practical meanings and uses since the beginning of human civilisation. This vivid account introduces readers to a rich variety of British and Irish plant folklore, drawing on Roy Vickery's own unsurpassed archives collated over forty years, and a wide range of historical and contemporary literature. Unlike other books which re-use material collected in the Victorian era, this book is based on new material collected by the author, and shows that while some of the wilder superstitions have faded we still cling to the symbolic importance of plants. Putting conkers in wardrobes keeps moths away, and parsley - the Devil's plant - only germinates if sown on Good Friday. A potato in the bed helps do away with cramp and in Cornwall crawling under a bramble bush was considered a cure for blackheads. From plants that foretold births and deaths, to herbal remedies, planting and harvesting rituals, friendship bushes and festive garlands this is a book of rich and living social history and folklore.
- Hardback | 232 pages
- 138 x 216 x 33.02mm | 430.91g
- 04 Nov 2010
- Continuum Publishing Corporation
- New York, United States
- 12 bw illustrations
Table of contents
Introduction; Chapter 1: A time for every purpose; Chapter 2: The golden corn; Chapter 3: Necessity - the mother of invention; Chapter 4: Healing hedgerows; Chapter 5: Mother-die and friendship bushes; Chapter 6: Simple pastimes; Chapter 7: History and legend; Chapter 8: Notes on names; Chapter 9: The changing scenes of life; Chapter 10: Garlands and nosegays; References; Bibliography; Index.
Here is an astonishing treasure trove of plant lore gathered by Roy Vickery since the mid-1970s. It includes material from over 300 sources from all corners of Britain and Ireland. With our society's ever-increasing urbanization much of our dependence on wild plants has diminished but many customs linger...it would be a dull world without our mistletoe at Christmas, pumpkins at Hallowe'en, red roses for Valentine's Day, and even leeks or daffodils for St David's Day. This is a fascinating compilation.--Sanford Lakoff
About Roy Vickery
Roy Vickery worked as a botanist at the Natural History Museum, London for over 30 years, as the museum's curator of vascular plants. He has published five books on plant folklore and is a former Honorary Secretary of the Folklore Society.