Folklore & Nature: The Death Flower

Death, loss, separation and abandonment – the many symbolisms of one flower

The story of the red spider lily begins with a beautiful autumnal scene in late September during the Buddhist holiday of Ohigan. It’s this period of time just before the autumn equinox, that has given rise to one of the most fascinating folklores of any flower in the world. In Japan, Ohigan is a time to return home to visit graves and pay respects to ancestors. It also happens to coincide with the brief flowering time of the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata), which unusually blooms in the autumn. Because of the flower’s association with Ohigan (お彼岸) and the autumnal equinox (彼岸), it’s known in Japanese as Higanbana (彼岸花).

Spider Lily by Kawarazaki Shodo

The…

Continue reading →

Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Post:: A Visit to Kew Gardens

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

For anyone with an interest in botany and horticulture, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London is like the holy grail. Started in 1759, this garden is now over 250 years old and is full of history, research, conservation, wildlife and a massive collection of plants. The entire garden is now 132 hectares (300 acres) in size, a rather dramatic change from the original 9 acres. It has World Heritage status and contains the worlds most diverse botanical collections. This is where ‘Mad’ King George spent much of his ‘illness’ and the palace, built in 1631 is now open to the public. History can also be found in the gardens where you can step back in time and visit a nosegay garden, which was an apothecary garden or the Queen’s Garden which contains plants exclusively grown in Britain…

Continue reading →