Monday, October 6, 2008

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain - October

We had frost on our roof this morning, yet the sky is bright and clear and it reminded me of growing up in England, crunching through frosty grass on the way to school. Though October is probably a bit early for frost over there, it was a happy little memory.

Now here is a pretty little bird. A linnet. What has it to do with October?

Small birds now begin to congregate, and the common linnet is the first to lead the way.

They are congregating ready for migration, like so many of Britain's summer birds. It is a bird often referred to through various eras, although it is now endangered it was once prolific throughout England and it has a pretty song.



Amid the floral gaieties of autumn, may be reckoned the Guernsey lily, which is so conspicuous an object in October, in the windows and green-houses of florists in London and its vicinity.

I thought this interesting because it talks about the windows and green-houses of florists in London and vicinity. Without intention, our naturist has given us a glimpse into London life, the image of florists etc.

The lily itself has a whole history around it. Thought to have arrived in Guernsey in the late 1600's a whole wonderful tale of shipwrecks and Japanese or Chinese sailors has grown up around it. The lily actually comes from South Africa, but the tale is interesting.


Hips and haws now ornament the hedges. This is a part of a flower print by Louisa Anne Twamley circa 1836 and shows a variety of hips and haws (as well as blackberries which are probably not quite right for October). But the print shows the variety of these red seeds and they last through the winter to April time, which is great for birds, but October is when they start to make their appearance.

Hips are rose hips. You may have heard of rose hip syrup supposed to keep you healthy in winter. There is a lot of vitamin C in rose hips and now they are talking about it as an aid to rheumatism. Anyway, I digress. Hips are from roses. They are left once the flower is gone, if you don't prune.

Haws are similar, they come from white thorn bushes and other bushes. They are the smaller red seeds in the picture.

And so, while there is much more to be seen in October, you will have to wait until next year. Until next time, Happy Rambles.