Monday, 26 March 2012

Flower Fairies

I learnt to read very early. My parents gave me Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairy Alphabet book to encourage me with my letters. I adored it, and kept it beside my bed. However, it was the flowers that had me riveted. Soon I knew that R didn't just stand for Rosemary but also Ragged Robin, and B stood for Bugle. Walking in the countryside I could name all the flowers in the hedgerows, much to my parent's amazement. Why wouldn't I? I knew them all off by heart. In my dreams I sat on the cliff top with fairy Thrift looking out to sea and smelling the sea breezes, I imagined that I wore outfits like the fairies Fuchsia, and Columbine. This must have been the beginning of my great love of flowers.  
Questions that haunt me are "whatever happened to Ragged Robin, and Bugle in the hedgerow?" "Where are the cloudy cream drifts of Meadow Sweet?"and "where oh where is Scarlet Pimpernel"? He used to grow around the edges of all the cornfields and in the stubble when the corn was cut. I know that hedgerows have improved, but these plants used to be there in great profusion. Now when I discover one of them it is like finding a long lost and almost forgotten friend!
This photograph was taken on holiday by the coast in Norfolk. I was about 5 years old enjoying a holiday with my family. I look as if I am full of the joys of Spring.
Speaking of Spring, here are some precious jewels opening up in our garden at the moment.
What is going on? Still in March and today I found one of the Snake's-head Fritillaries in flower. 
beautiful yellow flowers will soon appear on the Paeony tree - species Ludowii.
This Paeony Tree is a cultivar called Ballerina, and has wonderful pink flowers like a tutu.
The pink Martagon Lilies I ordered in the Autumn are planted and are just about to receive their top coat of John Innes and Ericaceous soil.
Mixed Daffodils
One minute they are in bud, blink, and suddenly they are everywhere.
The small daffodil trumpets of the miniature Narcissus Tête-à-Tête 
Miniature Narcissus Rip Van Winkle - these are delightful little daffodils.
Crocuses - taken over a week ago, sadly they are now finished until next year.
Chaenomeles Japonica
 Some newly planted Ranunculus in a pot

Lastly, mosses do not have flowers or seeds. This image illustrates their wiry stems with spore capsules borne aloft on them.

41 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    We can well imagine the enchantment of the 'Flower Fairies' for you as a small child. Such beautiful illustrations and knowledge of wild flowers which could be put to immediate use on your country walks.

    But, as you say, how alarming it is that flowers which were growing wildly and in such profusion are now rarities in the countryside. In Herefordshire, it became apparent over the years that as more and more agricultural land was intensively cultivated the hedgerows which were once host to a wide variety of flora and fauna became barren. So sad.

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    1. Dear Jane & Lance - sadly I do not have the book anymore, and was enchanted when I came across it on the internet. I was surprised how I still remembered every single illustration in detail.
      Luckily the land where we live is still as it has been since medieval times and before. It has never been ploughed and the grasses and wild flowers have only ever been grazed by animals .

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  2. I can just imagine one of the faeries wearing a snakehead fritillaries dress. The images from your garden are beautiful, and I love the link back to that beautiful book of letters and your childhood memories. What clever parents you had,and what a precious gift that book was, encouraging such a life long passion. J.

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    1. Dear Janice - yes, a Snakeshead fritillary fairy outfit would be a lovely illustration. There is a large meadow near here, situated near the source of the river Thames that is full of Fritillaries, I must try and find time to visit it. It is one of the few places where they are growing naturally, and have been doing so for hundreds of years.

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  3. I agree. Everything starts from there we begun. Our childhood...
    your photograph is full of genuine joy. The one we felt only as kids, and keep looking for it, for the rest of our lives...

    The flower photos make me yearn for "real" Spring.
    It is warm now, and the snow almost gone but not much flowers yet...

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    1. Dear Demie - how very true. When I look at this little photo and see how I did not have a care in the world and as you say genuine joy, it makes me feel a little sad. However, life moves on!
      This period in child hood is special and to be treasured, because it does not last long.
      Soon Demie, very soon, all of your flowers will be with you and in abundance. Suddenly they will appear and you will not be able to keep pace with their opening.

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  4. Dear Rosmary,
    A valuable gift from your parents !They loved the flowers , the nature and they wanted to have this love !The little girl looks the same spring ! A happy girl !You are so blessed for your happy childhood ! Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment .
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - I was lucky that my parents did everything that they could to make our childhood a happy and fulfilled time. I have two brothers and a sister. Of course my childhood days had there ups and downs like everyone, but on the whole I think I was also fortunate.

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  5. Dear Rosemary: This story is very enchanting and you were an adorable girl! The video is wonderfully magic! I also had books where flowers and insects could speak and were wearing wonderful fairy dresses. Your flowers are wonderful - I especially like the Snakeshead... the color and pattern is incredible. I have watched a documentary about plants and what came out was that they also a kind of speak together with their odors, they prefer the ones from the own family to others and they also feel music. Science has just started researching these things - it has nothing to do with esoterism. Lots of interesting results to come - let's look forward to it! Have a good Monday! Christa

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    1. Dear Christa - I do hope that you are continuing to make good progress ready for your trip. The sun is shinning and nowhere could be better than Paris in the Springtime.
      What you say about the flowers is very interesting. Certainly I have all of my different Fritillaries together under a very large tree, where they seem to happily flourish and multiply.
      Keep up the good work on your leg.

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  6. Rosemary, I adore that lively and joyful image of you as a girl. Your flowers are wonderful. I just planted my first ranuculus and it is blooming. Image soon with new big girl camera. Oh and bad friend that I am I just answered your e-mail. olive

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    1. Dear Olive - does that mean that you have got a new camera? I look forward to seeing the results. Not a bad friend at all, but a very generous friend with all of the help you have given me. My understanding of the blog process has now risen by leaps and bounds thanks to you. I have cleared out some of the photos uploaded and not used, and I now know not to upload normal photos from my camera. I thought that the images would suffer, but they do not appear to have done too much. I have just received your email - thanks very much Olive.

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  7. Dear Rosemary, Precious Jewels indeed. Your flowers are sensational, out of the ordinary varieties. Most of all I loved the photograph of you as a little girl...so full of joy and happiness. Beautiful post.

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    1. Dearest Gina - thank you so much for your very kind comments.
      I do enjoy growing flowers that are a little different, sometimes I am successful and they flourish other times they do not. I am sure it is the same for you - a case of trial and error. I have just planted one or two new varieties this weekend, and await their flowers with eager anticipation.

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  8. think it's good that you continue asking what was in them, in the end find the answer in your love for nature.

    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Dear Victor - thank you very much for your visit. Nature is wonderful the way plants die back at the end of the year, then up they all pop again in the Spring and Summer.

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  9. Dear Rosemary,
    It's so lovely to see you as a 5-year old. And I know now where your love for nature comes from. Now I am thinking where my love for flowers came from. My parents were very poor when I was a little child, living in a shack of a house but we had a beautyful little garden with a red climbing rose. When people asked me what do you want to be when you are an adult I always answerd I want to be a flower girl (no idea now what I had in my mind what a flowergirl was ment to be). Thanks bringing back beautiful memories. Your springflowers are so beautiful. Have a lovely evening.
    Marijke

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    1. Dear Marijke - I am thrilled to think that this post brought such happy memories back to you of the time when you were young too. The fact that you so vividly remember that climbing red rose is of great significance. I think in your blog you have said your favourite flower is the rose, and your avatar is also that lovely pink rose.

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  10. Dear Rosemary - First, how wonderful to have your childhood on record as joyful - it's a great photo of you!

    Your posting reminded me of a similar book my mother owned in her childhood, named "Flower Children." I don't remember what happened to the book, but I fondly remember the illustrations. Dandelion was a young blond child with a yellow dandelion hat, blowing the hair off an elderly dandelion man, who was understandably upset!

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    1. Dear Mark - I do not think I liked that little snapshot when I was young, but in retrospect I can see how it portrays childhood happiness and joy - someone without any cares or woes.

      It is interesting that you remember a similar book, I really like the sound of the Dandelion illustration. It just goes to show how important books are to young people when they are growing up, if our memories are anything to go by.

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    1. Dear Antonio - thank you for your visit and your lovely comment.

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  12. The picture of you is marvelous.

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  13. The Flower Fairies books were my favourites too, I wished I was a flower fairy myself - it was hard to choose which flower would make the prettiest dress. I seem to remember choosing the fuschia.

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    1. That is interesting - I wonder if that was a dream of lots of little girls at that time. We could have made a fine pair of Fuchsia fairies together.

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  14. Childhood memories are magical.
    The photo of a little smiling girl on a spring day, is so cute. I can see your smile now Rosemary!
    Your garden flowers are so beautiful .
    I love fairies .. I feel they are all around us.
    lovely blog Rosemary.
    thank you
    val

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    1. Dear Val - thanks for your lovely comment. You are right childhood memories are magical, although sadly for many children in the world that is not the case.
      The flowers in the garden are opening up so quickly that I cannot keep pace with them all. One minute there are just a few, and suddenly they are all over the place.
      Thanks Val.

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  15. What a wonderful book your parents gave you.
    Love to see the photo of you and all your beautiful garden flowers.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, love it!
    Wish you a wonderful day, dear Rosemary.
    Mette

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    1. Dear Mette - I do wish that I still had the book.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the garden flowers, everything is looking so lovely at the moment.
      I do hope that things are going well for you, take care.

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  16. Hi Rosemarie,

    I think blogger is indeed a bit spooked, because I got responses that Carmen had placed on her blog and she had meant for someone else. I got in my mailbox!?!?

    Thank you just came to say.

    Greetings, Helma


    Again I see a fantastic spring blog with all those colorful and bright flowers.

    Greetings, Helma

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    1. Dear Helma - glad you understood what was going on. I know now where some of my comments must disappear to. They must appear on another blog.
      Glad you enjoyed the flowers.

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  17. I love this picture of you !!!! Such a happy looking five year old. It looks like you garden is full with spring and such wonderful flowers . . .

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    1. Hi Marica - my flowers seem to be really early this year, perhaps because we did not have a harsh winter, every day I find something new appearing. Thanks for your visit.

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  18. flower fairies books
    I had them too
    and that picture is gorgeous
    as is your garden
    wauw... so many flowers already
    I have and love those fritillarias
    to me they stand for Spring
    like the muscari and forget-me-nots

    love Patrice A.

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    1. Dear Patrice - thank you.
      Yes, I too am very fond of fritillaries. I have several different varieties, some of which are just beginning to show their colour. Blue muscari always make a good compliment to the fritillaries, and although I like forget-me-nots they grow like weeds all over my garden.

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  19. Hello again, Rosemary. What a beautiful interlude with the music, Flower Fairies and you, glowing with childhood happiness.
    My Aunt was a music teacher and had a nursey school in Grange-over-Sands in the 1950's. She wrote a 'Flower Fairy' story book for the children and asked the artist, Gilbert Spenser, who was a friend, to do some illustrations. Sadly, it never found a publisher, but we do still have the beautiful drawings Gilbert Spenser gave her. I thought with your artistic talents you may be interested in this! Anne Boden. One technichal question - how does your blogspot allow people to comment freely WITHOUT having to join Facebook or Google? My daughter has done a briliant one but says I have to join Google and I am not keen.
    Here is the link to her blog http://cfandhealthy.blogspot.com
    just in case you would like a look - she has a recipe for home-grown basil pesto on her April entries. Best wishes, Anne.

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    1. Dear Anne - I am sorry but not sure what you mean. Your comment has come through OK so presumably you have joined Google. I do not think that there is any other way of doing it, as it allows comments to be moderated in case of spam.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed the Flower Fairies, and I was interested to learn about your Aunt. It is a shame that there was no one found to publish it, however, it is good that you still have the paintings. Do you have them framed? Thanks for your visit.

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    2. Dear Anne - this evening it suddenly came to me who you were - sorry if I was a bit vague in my response - I realise now that we share mutual friends.
      I will have a look at your daughter's blog.

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  20. You're so lucky to have known the flower fairies from such a young age. They're not known around here really, probably because the books are in English. I discovered the flower fairies accidentally on the internet a few years ago and I've loved them ever since, even if I'm all grown up already ;-).
    What a great picture of you as a little girl. It does make me think of the flower fairies, the way you stand and the cute dress and of course the happy smile.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - as I mentioned I have always known the flower fairy books, they were very popular with me. I liked them so much that I made sure that my granddaughters also had copies of them.
      Strangely enough I can still remember those moments when we arrived at our beach holiday destination. I am standing on the wooden sea break, soaking up the excitement and smelling the salty sea air.

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