Friday, 30 September 2011

Plants of the Fae ... the bryonys and nightshades of September ....

   At this time of year, wandering through the hedgerows are necklaces of scarlet berries - and lower down, half hidden among the browning leaves, swathes of black.

Poem and illustration by Cicely Mary Barker
from 'Flower Fairies of Autumn' pub Blackie

The Song of the Black Bryony Fairy
Bright and wild and beautiful
For the Autumn festival,
I will hang from tree to tree
Wreaths and ropes of bryony,
To the glory and the praise
Of the sweet September days.

Postcard illustration Milicent Sowerby - Merry Elves series 1921 pub Milford
Woody nightshade photographed in Muddypond's hedgerows.


    Beautiful treasures these vines of berries are for the fae, and as you can see they've always been popular with us for jewels and decorations.   BUT  -  they're all POISONOUS to any mortal folk who might be reading here. Take care!   All that is brightest is not necessarily best!
Leave them for the elves.
I think this is Black Nightshade, pictured today in Muddypond's hedgerows.

  Keep your eyes open when you walk in the evening shade after the glaring sun of this unseasonably hot weather - and you may be rewarded by glimpses of the bryony and nightshade families.
I wonder if you can be sure which are which - I don't think Muddypond can and she's supposed to be a Wood Guardian Fae! Mind you - it is difficult in Autumn - as the ropes of berries have already shed all their identifying flowers and leaves.

Another postcard illustration by Milicent Sowerby - from the Merry Elves series 1921 pub Milford
Bryony necklace photographed in Muddypond's hedgerows high up on the North Downs of Kent


Claire-Marie said...

I've always liked that word, "bryony." Isn't it lovely?

Muddypond Green said...

Yes it's such a lovely name for a faery-girl sprig too :-)
Thank you for saying hello:-)

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Hello Muddypond Green, What a lovely whimsical blog, with so many of those lovely story book illustrations that I love. I have just come to you in the search for the Song of the Black Bryony Fairy, because my children's books are all packed away while we await Earthquake restoration. My daughter Bryony turns 18 tomorrow.