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Garlands, Conkers and Mother-Die: British and Irish Plant-Lore

By: Roy Vickery

226 pages, 12 b/w illus

Continuum Publishing

Hardback | Sep 2010 | #187025 | ISBN-13: 9781441101952
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £18.99 $25/€22 approx

About this book

Plants have had symbolic as well as practical meanings and uses since the beginning of human civilisation. This account introduces readers to a rich variety of British and Irish plant folklore, drawing on the author's own unsurpassed archives collated over forty years, and a wide range of historical and contemporary literature.

From plants that foretold births and deaths, to herbal remedies, planting and harvesting rituals, friendship bushes and festive garlands this is a book of rich and living social history and folklore.

Here is an astonishing treasure trove of plant lore gathered by Roy Vickery since the mid-1970s. It includes material from over 300 sources from all corners of Britain and Ireland. With our society's ever-increasing urbanization much of our dependence on wild plants has diminished but many customs would be a dull world without our mistletoe at Christmas, pumpkins at Halloween, red roses for Valentine's Day, and even leeks or daffodils for St David's Day. This is a fascinating compilation.

Jane Croft, Vice-President of The Botanical Society of the British Isles

Roy Vickery's book takes you into the heart of the countryside and the underworld of the city on a fascinating journey of botanical folklore - through life and death, past and present.

Dawn Sanders, Gardens for Learning


Chapter 1: A time for every purpose;
Chapter 2: The golden corn;
Chapter 3: Necessity - the mother of invention;
Chapter 4: Healing hedgerows;
Chapter 5: Mother-die and friendship bushes;
Chapter 6: Simple pastimes;
Chapter 7: History and legend;
Chapter 8: Notes on names;
Chapter 9: The changing scenes of life;
Chapter 10: Garlands and nosegays;

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Roy Vickery worked as a botanist at the Natural History Museum, London for over 30 years, as the museum's curator of vascular plants. He has published five books on plant folklore and is a former Honorary Secretary of the Folklore Society.

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