Well, yesterday was the summer solstice, the day when the sun is at it’s highest point in the northern hemisphere, but there was a marked lack of sun here. My moth watching was rained off and rather than getting up and washing my face in the morning dew, as I am sure must be a midsummer custom, I put up the umbrella before I set off for work.
It’s not actually Midsummer Day until June 24th, as traditionally the midsummer celebrations were held in England on The Feast of St John the Baptist, which falls on June 24th.
We have often seen the plant called St. John’s Wort when we have been out walking and a bit of research produced this gem of information.
“Traditionally people thought that midsummer was a time of magic and wonder-working. Evil spirits were said to appear, and people gathered herbs and flowers to protect themselves. One of the most powerful was the plant known as ‘chase-devil’, which we now call St John’s Wort. People used it in potions, and wove the flowers into garlands to decorate their houses or protect their farm animals. They believed that the herb could shield them from the power of evil spirits and could help them foretell the future. Herbalists still use St John’s Wort in their medicines today.”
I don’t have St. John’s Wort in the garden , although it is a pretty plant, but I do have this lovely little campanula, which would make charming hats for fairies. It is campanula portenschlagiana, the Dalmatian bellflower. My BBC plant finder describes it as “Hardy, vigorous and persistent”, which means once you’ve got it, you need to keep hauling it out, because like a good satin dress, it clings where it touches! I hauled out buckets full in the spring, although you can hardly tell now, but it is charming and it is blue, and I just love those blues.