I spent a great morning in Wisley Gardens with my friend and brilliant photographer Sue Bishop before leaving for Nottingham to the Connected Exhibition. We had a real April weather – beautiful sunshine, blue sky that turned into dark stormy clouds and more than just a few drops of rain.
It was just before the downpour when I noticed marsh marigolds growing in a small pond, enjoying the last rays of sunshine.
The flower’s name is from the Middle English marigolde, a combination of Marie, thought to refer to the Virgin Mary, and gold for the color. The large golden flowers look like the cups of kings and the Latin name Caltha is derived from the Greek for goblet. Hence, Marsh-marigold is also commonly known as Kingcup. They are lovely flowers that brighten up banks of streams and ponds from April to July. Even William Shakespeare mentioned them in his play Cymbeline.
Hark, hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings,
And Phoebus’ gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
Let us then speak of songbirds and spring, shall we?
To shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sings madrigals;
There will we make our peds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies.
This pretty little flower is mildly toxic. Perhaps that’s why there is a tradition in Irish county Leitrim to place Marsh-marigolds at the entrance or on window-ledges of homes and farm-houses on May Eve (30th April) . It is believed to ward off evil. If only a little flower had so much power!
When the rain got heavier later on we found a refuge in one of the alpine houses, full of beautiful exotic flowers. I just couldn’t resist the view out of the window.
On the way back to the car I walked past another little pond, which was worth stopping by.