Monday, April 2, 2007

April Flora and Fauna in Regency England

As is my wont at the beginning of each month, I like to give a sense of what is happening both with the natural sights one might see in Regency England, and a little bit about the weather.






At the beginning of April, the birch and the weeping willow are the first to come out in leaf. Then we get to some of the fruits like plum, apricot and peach. The most magnificent trees, for example the oak and the lime come out towards the end of the month.


In the gardens, it is a time for flowers, and a couple of notable ones are lilly of the valley with its glorious scent. Did you know, however, that the leaves and flowers contain cardiac glycosides that have been used in medicine for centuries. In overdose, preparations can be poisonous; pets and children can be harmed by eating this plant.


Another favorite of mine is heart’s ease, particularly right now. Why is it such a favorite? Well, Heart’s Ease is the working title of the book currently under consideration of my publisher. It seems like a fortuitous coincidence that the editor has the book in the month that this flower comes out in England. As you probably already know, this is the origin of today's pansy. In Regency days it was more of a wildflower.






On the weather front, April is often wet. The mad march winds are over, but still there is lots of spring rain to contend with. A couple of notable Aprils were in 1809 when the Thames flooded its banks, something specifically noted at Windsor on the 26th of April. This picture is of the Datchet Ferry across the Thames at Windsor and while it is not flooding in this picture, it is easy to imagine the River Thames overflowing its banks. What I liked about this picture is the idea of them using the ferry to get from one bank to the other during the Regency. It definately provokes some ideas.


April 1812 was noted as being unusually cold. That year was recorded at the coldest Spring since 1799 and not as cold again until 1837.

As usual in England, the weather is always of great interest. Until next time, happy rambles.