This Well dressing includes Thuja plicata, Pittosporum tenuifolium; budding leaf branches of hazel, medlar, silver birch and amelanchier; flowering branches of weeping cherry, ornamental quince and forsythia; alder cones; and flowers including primroses, polyanthus, hellebores and daffodils.
As we step into spring, this is a time of seeds, of propagation, of promise and of waking life. Within the dressing are the opening leaf buds of silver birch (Betula pendula). Birch is the first tree of the year in the Ogham, the Celtic tree calendar and its significance continues throughout several of the wheel of the year celebrations.
Many of the trees are female and partly because it opens its leaves early, this “Lady of the Woods” is associated with the spring fertility goddesses. Able to grow in harsher conditions, its mythology is interwoven in native Northern cultures in Europe, Russia, China and America. It is a pioneer tree, one of the first to regrow after natural disasters and can represent both renewal and protection. It is one of the trees important for forest food chains and supporting wildlife.
We have several silver birches in the garden including the one at “Berry Corner” by the shelter seat. About 20 years ago, Ark our head gardener, found a tiny 1-inch high seedling under a grandmother birch. He carefully dug it out, gathering the root ball and soil under it. He nurtured and nourished it, potting it on 5 or 6 times, each time holding a vision of what it could become with the right encouragement. Once it became a strong sapling, he planted it where it stands today, a mature, established and much-loved tree. It shows us every day what we can build, support and share with committed nurturing, knowledge and belief.
Clearly this also applies to us as human beings, encapsulated in a quotation shared by Anthony, our orchard keeper ~
“Everyone wants to be loved for who they are. When I appreciate others fully, it boosts their self-esteem and helps them pass on a loving attitude to others. Even though I may not see the results immediately, love always works.”Dadi Janki of the Brahma Kumaris on Love in A Pocket Book of Virtue (2002)
If this dressing meets you in a place of joy, I hope it may help to expand your heart a little more. If you are in a place of sorrow, please know that if you wish, you are interwoven with its leaves and blossom. In either place, you are held in love.
With gratitude, love & blessings,
Penny (one of the gardeners)