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Church Gardens – May 2023

The ‘Merry Month of May’ originally a poem probably written in the late 16th Century is certainly a time to celebrate in a big way. In the 21st Century we now have more excuses to celebrate this month than a court jester could shake his marotte at as it’s looking like public holiday month of May with May Day/Labour Day, Coronation Monday and Whitsun.

The fifth month in our calendar is largely believed to have been named for the Roman goddess Maia who oversaw the growth of plants while Flora was the goddess of flowers and of Spring especially the May flower. Remnants of many Spring rites remain, Beltane was an ancient Gaelic holiday, which included the practice of young maidens washing their faces in the May Day dew before sunrise to ensure good crops. The practice continued up to the last century strangely in Edinburgh with Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill being the favoured locations, where Edinburgh Maidens hoped to enhance their complexion with the dew. I knew about this but obviously was never able to get up on time. 

It’s certainly a busy time for gardeners and for most the battle with the weeds. The esteemed Royal Horticultural Society is now encouraging us all to embrace weeds.  I find I am happy to see anything popping up in unexpected places especially if it is colourful and I no longer extract dandelions from the grass with my special tool. In the church garden the contract gardeners have left our little strip of long grass as a nod to wilding however the wheelie bin which we planned to use as a table has disappeared and the remaining large blue one has been filled to the brim by person or persons unknown with material which would have been useful for insects and birds. To encourage wildlife we need moss, nest building material and weeds. As Jesus taught us beware pulling up wheat with the tares. We know He was not really speaking about seeds and weeds but we do risk being left with a barren place with no living creatures if we don’t allow for a bit untidiness. 

As we look forward to Pentecost, Connie has sown wildflower seeds which we hope will attract butterflies and birds in summer. She has also updated the notice board where you can read about diapause, not so common birds and why robins are sometimes bald. Hope you like these recent photos of the blossom trees in the formal garden and the Spring bulbs which are in flower in recycled beds and since we are still in the Season of Easter the Cross is still in place.