The flowering of a Bluebell wood is one of Britain's greatest natural displays. There really is something bewitching about the way a Bluebell wood comes to life after its winter slumber each year. This magical quality was not lost on our ancestors who believed numerous superstitions and folklore concerning Bluebell woods.
Such was the beauty of an ancient woodland decorated with a sweeping carpet of Bluebells, that it was considered by many to be of unearthly origin. Bluebell woods were considered very dangerous places by folklore. Faeries were said to live in these places and to walk into a Bluebell wood was to risk being whisked away into their Nether World!
More popularly known by the darkly evocative name Deadly Nightshade, Atropa belladonna has also been called Devil's Herb, Sorcerer's Berry and Witch's Berry. These various name detail the plant's long association with pagan magic.
Harebells, Mumbles Hill
During one of my regular walks on the Gower Peninsula, I was delighted to stumble across a patch of dainty Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) in full bloom. These delicate flowers, which are amongst the most gorgeous wildflowers you can hope to discover along the whole of Gower Peninsula, are as rich in folklore are they are in beauty:
Intoxicated by its heady scent and dizzied by its vibrant colours, Faery passions are said to be roused wherever large carpets of Heather are found in a landscape. According to ancient lore, such spots mark the location of magical portels, bridging the eveyday world of people with the Faery realm.
A Rare Patch of White Heather, Rhossili Down, Gower
Poppies (Papaver rhoeas) are one of Britian's most vibrant and beautiful wild flowers. Given their delicate splendour, is is no surprise to find the flowers are rich in folklore and symbolism.
St. John's Wort, Mumbles Hill
St. John's Wort is most commonly known today for being a herbal remedy for depression. But the plant's medicinal, and believed magickal properties, have been used throughout history as a prescription to improve a wide variety of physical, mental and spiritual conditions.