Friday, 19 April 2019

A Flower For Easter

Pasqueflowers are not easily found - they rank amongst the ten rarest wild flowers in Britain.
They bloom during this Easter period, hence the name pasque, a word derived from pasakh, which is Hebrew for Passover.
It prefers to grow undisturbed in chalk and limestone grasslands, and can be found here in the Cotswolds just a stones throw from where I live. However, unless you know exactly where to look, finding it can be tricky. 
Several myths and legends surround the Pasqueflower -  it is said that the plant was first created from drops of Adonis' blood after he was gored by a wild boar on Mount Lebanon - Adonis being the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite. Others say that the plant sprang from her tears after she learnt of his death. An alternative legend states that the flower sprang from the blood of dead Viking warriors, probably because it thrives in this country on some of our chalky Neolithic Barrows. Years ago I lived in Hertfordshire, and it was there that I saw my first wild Pasqueflower. The flowers were thriving near to the small town of Royston on a well drained, chalky, grassy mound called Church Hill, but a mound that is known to be a prehistoric chamber tomb. 
Fairy folk lore tells of fairies resting inside it's furry flowers at sundown.
With it's purple petals covered in long, silky, white, hairs, bright yellow stamens, and grey-green feathery leaves, it is actually possible to grow these little gems, but only if you have a southerly aspect, and well drained chalky/alkaline soil. They can be hard to establish, but once they are thriving, they will continue to flourish as long as you leave them undisturbed.
Wishing you all a Very Happy Easter.