Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Flowers: Fairy Bells

Bleeding Heart

I grew up reading books by Enid Blyton. I started with her Noddy books and even had a 45 rpm record that featured her reading the stories. When I was able to read, I loved her book of short stories called Now For a Story, and when I was older, I read and re-read her Adventure series. My own daughters have read my books and we purchased paperback versions of several of her chapter books as they were growing up.

Wood Hyacinth or Spanish Squill

Enid Blyton wrote a number of stories about mythical forest creatures such as fairies, goblins and elves. I loved to imagine that these little people really existed under the leaves and flowers outdoors. Whenever I saw dust particles floating in a sunbeam, I believed they were fairies. (Maybe that explains my ongoing aversion to dusting.) When I was older, I enjoyed the symbolic fantasies of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and the descriptions of mythical creatures in their books.

Solomon's Seal

Junior Girl Guides were known as Brownies and I worked hard to earn my badges when I belonged to a troop. I still have my fairy pin and the wings I received when I graduated to Guides. We used to sing this little song as a two part or four part round. Perhaps you know it as well.

White coral bells
Upon a slender stalk.
Lily of the valley
deck my garden walk.
Oh, don’t you wish
that you could hear them ring.
That will happen only
when the fairies sing.

It is no wonder that little bell shaped flowers are favourites of mine.

A "long time ago", in the 1970's, hippies were turning into environmentalists. Jean skirts, long hair and tie dyed shirts were the rage and we shopped at the first health food stores and made homemade yogurt and granola. My friends and I used to visit a quaint local village to shop for antiques and have lunch.

We drank Earl Grey tea in a little cafe that always had bouquets of lily-of-the-valley and forget-me-nots on the tables in the spring. I still love these flowers together in a little container. The fragrance of lily-of-the-valley rivals lilac for beauty. When they are done blooming in my garden this spring, I will have to do some serious uprooting of their spreading ways.

I enjoy the back corner of my garden where the ferns, trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Solomon's Seal, and other wildflowers grow. The toads love the moist shade, and perhaps some other little fanciful forest visitors come by as well...

I wonder...

I had written the draft for this post a while ago and then Jennifer wrote about Fairy Spies on her blog. She has a fine scientific mind, and a great imagination too!


  1. Beautiful post, Ruth. I always loved reading the same type of fairy tales. I'm still drawn to paintings and prints of fairies and mythical creatures, too.

    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who has an aversion to dusting.

  2. I was an Enid Blyton fan as well when I was growing up! I so much wanted to be in a "gang" of kids like the Famous Five and do fun things. So my friends and I made a little "gang" to "catch crooks and stuff," and we called ourselves the Fiery Dragon Gang. :) Never did catch a crook, but we had some good adventures.

  3. I'll have to look for Enid Blyton- sounds like an author I would like. This is a beautiful post.

  4. I learned that song when I was little! I'll probably inflict it on my children too. :)

  5. Oh Ruth, that little song brought tears to my eyes. I hadn't thought about it in years. I'm 60, now - so that's been more than 50 years ago.

    Somehow this Spring raced ahead of me and I noticed that my lily-of-the-valley are past bloom and I never brought any in to scent the air.

    This post was a lovely trip down memory lane.

  6. Anonymous7:42 pm GMT-4

    If we were both single and one of us were a man, would you marry me? I just so relate to your posts... I was a girl scout... white coral bells was one of my favorite songs... oh gosh... I think we're soulmates... or at the very least, kindred spirits.

  7. Mary- thank you...Every culture has its own interesting mythical creatures. I would say Tolkien's elves are my favourite.

    Ginger- As children we spent hours at a time outdoors too in imaginative playing. The Fiery Dragon Gang sounds like great fun! Do kids still do this kind of thing on their own??

    Lynne- I still enjoy re-reading my childhood Enid Blyton books. A few of her books have been edited to make them more politically correct as some people felt there were some racist undertones in some of her stories.

    Maureene- Children don't sing enough anymore. Make sure you do teach it to your children.

    Cathy- Where have those years gone! Lily of the Valley are at their peak here right now and they have scented my entire yard.

    Jennifer- LOL! I swear our minds are on the same wavelength and have chuckled more than once at the similarities in our past and present experiences. Kindred spirit...for sure.

  8. You could send any extra pips of your lilies of the valley to me Ruth! I love them, but don't have enough yet to keep them in a vase.

    Lovley post!

  9. Being a huge fan of Brian Froud (he wrote Faeries with Alan Lee) I love any faery tales I can get my hands on. I think I would love Enid Blyton.

  10. How can we be sure that hese mythical creatures don't exist?-Maybe they do.

  11. Laura- My lily of the valley spread in a nuisance way and it is backbreaking to get all the runners out of the garden. I wonder why yours won't spread? Maybe your soil is too good! (We have poor, sandy soil)

    Jaspenelle- I like the spelling of "faeries" -nice Old English. I haven't read the book you mentioned.

    Larry- I do like imagining the unknown. Just because we haven't seen something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

  12. Wow, just love those bleeding hearts! You sure do have a way with the camera!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.