Our hedges are covered with Hawthorn or May blossom at the moment. There is something about the size and shape of the petals that always reminds me of weddings, maybe the petals would make good confetti? You may be interested to know that the little church in the illustration is based on the church of St James and St Paul in the village of Marton in Cheshire. It is unusual in that it has a timber frame and is thought to be one of the oldest timber framed churches in Europe.
Of all our native trees the hawthorn above all others seems to be associated with the most myths, legends and superstitions. It was considered extremely unlucky to bring the blossom into the house although decorating the exterior of a building was allowed.
I came across an interesting theory as to why this should be on this website It seems that medieval country folk said that the blossom smelt of the plague! Scientists have since discovered a chemical which is present in the blossom is also the same one which is produced by corpses. Maybe this explains why this otherwise attractive plant was so unwelcome in houses?
Our garden is surrounded by hawthorn hedges and makes a very thick, prickly barrier. I have thought about replacing it many times, especially after being pricked by one of its vicious thorns. The advantages have always outweighed the disadvantages however, the main one being the house sparrows who treat it like a communal block of flats, as I write this I can hear the mass chirpings and chatterings of dozens of them.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.