Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wayside wild flowers

Common chamomile
Just growing at the side of the road, chamomile is the most beneficent of herbs. Used to relax and calm it can be dried a tea or distilled into essential oil (a few drops in the bath are great for a laid back approach to whatever the day throws at you). It is also used to lighten fair hair.
In herb-lore chamomile is is the 'patron herbe of gardens' as it promotes healing energies which are good for other plant species. It is used in some old traditions at midsummer to give honour to the Father of Nature.
Wild Poppy
Growing next to the chamomile, the wild poppy has less benign reputation. In mythology it belongs to the gods of sleep - the Roman 'Somnas' and the Greek 'Hypnus'. The plant has also been used from as far back as Roman times for its opium content and was widely used as laudanum up until the end of the nineteenth century.
With the possible exception of William Wordsworth, it was used by the romantic poets and the pre-Raphaelite artists often with addictive and sometimes tragic results.
Meadow buttercups

This little meadow alight with golden buttercups will probably disappear in the near future. On the edge of another housing development it will almost certainly swallowed up as 'real estate'. So here it is on record in all its unsung beauty. Buttercups are apparently poisonous, I didn't know this until I was researching ragwort - buttercups should be avoided by cattle are are sometimes known to country people as crazy as they were believed to cause madness. Another example of the duality of nature. They still, however, give so much simple pleasure to gaze upon.