Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Regency England

by Michele Ann Young



Our Naturist kindly tells us that rosemary blooms in April. Rosemary is a hardy evergreen plant and will live for up to twenty years, growing to a height of around three feet. It is a decorative herb originating from the Mediterranean and bears small, blue or white flowers in late spring. So this herb would be commonly found in kitchen gardens. My mum had a huge one. We had to fight with it to get the car door open in the drive. I loved the scent when you crush the leaves.

The nice thing about this is of course that we are very familiar with it today. I am going to pop it under food too.

April is the time for spring bulbs, tulips among them as reported by Robert Furber in his 1730 Twelve Month's of Flowers which could well have been a resource for an enthusiastic gardner in the Regency.


Tulips came from Turkey to Europe. Between 1634 and 1637, the early enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania and tulip bulbs were then considered a form of currency.

This is a picture of an "old English Tulip" or a flamed tulip. The flaming or feathering apparently caused by a virus, and never the same two years in a row, if I understand my reading correctly. It is a variety which has almost died out, but this is what tulips would have looked like in the Regency. If you are interested in Old English Tulips, The Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society established in 1836 might be the place to start.

This bird exists and nests out on the heaths of England. It is a Stonechat. It is called a stone chat because its breeding and alarm call sounds like two pebbles being clinked together. Want to hear it? Go here. Isn't technology wonderful? This bird likes to nest in bushy shrubs like gorse in the early spring.

Well that is it from me. I have some writing to get done today. Almost at the end of this book, so I am hoping to finish it today. Always exciting. But then comes the editing.


Until next time, Happy Rambles.