• People in Helmsley Walled Garden

December 2018 – Flowers to tell a story

Holly leavesLadies and gentlemen let me take you on a little time travel as we go back to the middle ages and the time when plants were both the only form of medicine and also had myth and legend attached to them. In an age when only wealthy people could read and church services were in Latin, people learnt the stories of the bible through pictures painted on interiors of church walls and through stories attached to flowers. Here in the Garden we have our own medieval physic garden with each bed containing plants to heal specific ailments of a particular part of the body.

Lady’s bedstraw – Mary’s bed in the stable

Lungwort – was thought to help complaints of the lungs and with its polka dots of white on a dark green background bookends the life of Christ. The white splashes represent the milk that Mary fed to Jesus and the flowers that open blue and turn to pink represent the Virgin’s blue eyes which turn red with weeping at his death.

Star of Bethlehem Ornithogalum Umbellatum – According to this legend, God created the Star of Bethlehem to guide the wise men to the Christ Child. Once the star’s purpose was completed, God thought it was too beautiful to banish from the earth. Instead, the brilliant star burst into thousands of pieces and descended to the earth. The bits of the Star of Bethlehem gave birth to beautiful white flowers that blanketed the hillsides. They became known as the Star of Bethlehem flower.

Daisy represents the innocence of the Christ child

Iris and white lily represent the Virgin Mary

Tricia Harris December 2018