Thursday, June 30, 2011


A video I made with Jim Malcolm singing Caledonia by Robert Burns

Scottish folk singer and songwriter Jim Malcolm was brought up in Perthshire and Angus and was steeped in the traditional music of Scotland from an early age. He learned to play guitar while at school and by his early twenties was winning songwriting competitions and playing in folk clubs all over Scotland.

His career began to take off when he hosted the open stage at Edinburgh Folk Festival, and through his own playing there secured a contract with Greentrax for his first solo album, Sconeward. Acclaimed by critics and chosen as one of the year's best by Radio Scotland's folk programmes "Travelling Folk" and "Celtic Connections," the album brought in bookings at folk clubs and festivals in Britain and abroad, and established Jim as one of the leading songwriters in the traditional idiom in Scotland. He was dubbed: "The new male voice of Scotland."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jim Malcolm: Fields of Angus

Fields of Angus
(Jim Malcolm MCPS PRS; pub Malcolm)

Of all the mills that fill Dundee
There¹s no¹ a loom could harness me
The mill keeps clacking it¹s rare that it stills
But I¹ll soon be traipsing through the Sidlaw Hills

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Of all the birds that fill the sky
The cheerful lark is the hardest to spy
But the mill keeps clacking, I¹m choked wi the stoor
And I wish that we were camped by Kirriemuir

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Of all the months that fill the year
The cruel November fills my fear,
But the mill keeps clackin and winter¹s aroun¹
And we¹ll hae to find a job in Dundee toon.

Come leave these dark mills and tramp wi me
Through the fields of Angus and roon by the Tay
We¹ll seek good loanins and work when we¹re keen
And we¹ll while summer evenings
fishing pearls frae the stream

Repeat chorus

Jim Malcolm: Fields of Angus

Despite the fact that Jim Malcolm relentlessly tours as the singer with the much-celebrated Scottish folk band, the Old Blind Dogs, he continues to perform and record as a solo singer/guitarist. On Home, his fourth solo CD, Malcolm mixes arrangements of traditional Scottish tunes with his own songs and one original instrumental. His playing is melodic throughout the record, his vocals confident and soothing, and the recording itself clean and well-balanced.

The CD opens with “Fields of Angus”, a trad-sounding original about freshwater pearl fishing that is authentic right down to its vernacular lyrics. Malcolm croons convincingly about tramping “roon by the Tay” and fishing pearls “frae the stream.” The tune features nice guitar picking and beautiful pipes by Simon McKerrell. Malcolm’s brogue is unmistakably Scottish, but unlike other Scottish folk recordings — including those by the great Dick Gaughan — non-Scots actually can understand what he’s on about!

The best songs on Home are the most traditional-sounding. One highlight is Malcolm’s simple, fingerpicked arrangement of Robert Burns’ “The Lea-Rig”, an ode to trout fishing whose inclusion on this collection seemingly was inspired by Malcolm’s own attraction to Scotland’s fields and streams (there he is in the liner notes in rubber wading boots). “Bonny Glenshee”, another traditional tune, highlights his clean picking and smooth vocals and incorporates nice harmony vocals by his wife, Susie Malcolm.

“Coldrochie” tells the story of Scottish tenant farmers of yore eking out a living off the land on crofts, or small farms. And “Sir Patrick Spens” is a traditional epic that Malcolm put to music with propulsive backup fiddle by Gregor Borland and great percussive bouzouki by Steve Byrne.

The CD’s one instrumental is “Train to Killin”, a lovely tune that highlights Malcolm’s guitar playing on a Taylor XX-RS and Borland’s fiddle, and is driven by Paul Jennings’ vaguely Indian percussion lines. (There actually is no train to Killin, Malcolm explains in the liner notes.) The last track is “Freedom Come All Ye”, an ode to Scottish poet and songwriter Hamish Henderson, who died in 2002. It’s a fitting closer for Malcolm, a talented contemporary artist who deeply respects the history, and the music, of his people.

— Simone Solondz

In lang, lang days o' simmer

"In lang, lang days o' simmer,
When the clear and cloudless sky
Refuses ae weep drap o' rain
To Nature parched and dry,
The genial night, wi' balmy breath,
Gars verdue, spring anew,
An' ilka blade o' grass
Keps its ain drap o' dew."

- James Ballantine

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Witch Ball or Watch Ball

A witch ball or watch ball is a hollow sphere of plain or stained glass hung in cottage windows in 18th century England to ward off evil spirits. They were often placed on top of a vase or suspended by a cord (as from the mantelpiece or rafters) for a decorative effect. Witch balls appeared in America in the 19th century and are often found in gardens under the name "gazing ball". However, "gazing balls" contain no strands within their interior.

According to folk tales, witch balls would entice evil spirits with their bright colours; the strands inside the ball would then capture the spirit and prevent it from escaping.

Witch balls sometimes measure as large as 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter. The witch ball is traditionally, but not always, green or blue in color and made from glass (others, however, are made of wood, grass, or twigs instead of glass). Some are decorated in enameled swirls and brilliant stripes of various colors. The gazing balls found in many of today's gardens are derived from the silvered witch balls that acted as convex mirrors, warding off evil by reflecting it away.

Because they look similar to the glass balls used on fishing nets, witch balls are often associated with sea superstitions and legends. In the Ozark Mountains, a witch ball is made from black hair that is rolled with beeswax into a hard round pellet about the size of a marble and is used in curses. In Ozark folklore, a witch that wants to kill someone will take this hair ball and throw it at the intended victim; it is said that when someone in the Ozarks is killed by a witch's curse, this witch ball is found near the body.

Sometime during the 18th century balls of blue and green glass were inscribed with scriptural texts in gold. A little later the Nailsea Glass Company in Bristol, England were making balls in a variety of colours and adding various forms of decoration. Some had splashed spots of colour, others air-twist spirals and, of course, the famous loopings, now generically known as Nailsea.

The word witch ball may be a corruption of watch ball because it was used as a guard of evil spirits.

It is sometimes claimed that the modern Christmas ornament ball is descended from the witch ball. The ornament was allegedly originally placed on the tree to dispel a visitor’s envy at the presents left beneath the tree. However as the modern Christmas bauble's origins are documented in Lauscha, Germany in 1847, the provenance of this claim is debatable.

Research has disclosed that within months of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company opening, they were producing glass witch balls on a steady basis. In the original document book (order book) it states that on "May 20, 1826, 170 witch balls were made, 21 / 2" in diameter." Subsequent entries of 31 / 2" balls were described as "large." Entries such as this go on for some years. It appears glass balls (for this and other purposes) made up a large portion of production. Obviously a lucrative business. Colours appeared in blue, green, amber, amethyst, opaque. These single colours were meant to be hung in barns to protect the livestock. Opaque splashed with red and blue, and the familiar clear with loopings and opaque with pink loopings, more decorative and reminiscent of Nailsea, were for the house. To date it is assumed that all witch balls at this company were made to hang. No official stands have so far come to light. Other companies also made them to hang, but in addition added matching stands, such as those from South Jersey.

The Magic of Glass Witch Balls

By Barbara Sutton-Smith

Jethro Tull- Moths


The leaded window opened
to move the dancing candle flame
And the first Moths of summer
suicidal came.
And a new breeze chattered
in its May-bud tenderness ---
Sending water-lillies sailing
as she turned to get undressed.
And the long night awakened
and we soared on powdered wings ---
Circling our tomorrows
in the wary month of Spring.
Chasing shadows slipping
in a magic lantern slide ---
Creatures of the candle
on a night-light-ride.
Dipping and weaving --- flutter
through the golden needle's eye
in our haystack madness. Butterfly-stroking
on a Spring-tide high.
Life's too long (as the Lemming said)
as the candle burned and the Moths were wed.
And we'll all burn together as the wick grows higher ---
before the candle's dead.
The leaded window opened
to move the dancing candle flame.

And the first moths of summer
suicidal came
to join in the worship
of the light that never dies
in a moment's reflection
of two moths spinning in her eyes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hyla Brook

by Robert Frost

By June our brook's run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow)--
Or flourished and come up in jewel-weed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat--
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are.

Summer is really here!

We are having a little heat wave here. It's sweltering here and very humid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Because He hath Anointed me to Preach the Gospel

Luke 4:18, 21
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears


Unction, Anointing with Oil

Unction is another term for anointing. The oil may be called chrism. Early Christian usage

In early Christian times, sick people were anointed for healing to take place:
James 5:14-15
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Mark 6:13
13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Early Gnostic usage

Many early apocryphal and Gnostic texts indicate that anointing was part of the baptismal process, and in fact that the baptism with water (Johns baptism) is incomplete. The Gospel of Philip states; "The Chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word "Chrism" that we have been called "Christians", certainly not because of the word "baptism." And it from the "Chrism" that the "Christ" has his name. For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the Resurrection, the Light, the Cross, the Holy Spirit. The Father gave him this in the bridal chamber, he merely accepted the gift. The Father was in the Son and the Son in the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven." In the Acts of Thomas the anointing is in fact the beginning of the baptismal process and essential to becoming a "Christian." It claims that God knows his own children by his seal, and that we shall receive the seal by the oil. Many such baptisms/Chrismations are described in detail throughout the text.

Orthodox usage

In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, Confirmation is known as Chrismation—from the Greek word chrisma (χρίσμα), meaning the medium and act of anointing. The Eastern Churches perform the Mystery of Chrismation immediately after the Mystery of Baptism during the same ceremony, even in the case of infant baptism, using the sacred myron (chrism) which they believe contains a remnant of oil blessed by the Twelve Apostles. This myron may be added to as needed, usually at a ceremony held on Holy Thursday at one of the Patriarchal Cathedrals. The new myron contains olive oil, myrrh, and numerous spices and perfumes. This myron is normally kept on the Holy Table (altar) or on the Table of Oblation. During Chrismation, the newly illuminate (i.e., newly baptized) person is anointed by making the sign of the cross with the myron on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, lips, both ears, breast, hands and feet. The priest uses a special brush for this purpose.

The oil that is used to anoint the catechumens before baptism is simple olive oil which is blessed by the priest immediately before he pours it into the baptismal font. Then, using his fingers, he takes some of the blessed oil floating on the surface of the baptismal water and anoints the catechumen on the forehead, breast, shoulders, ears, hands and feet. He then immediately baptizes the catechumen with threefold immersion in the name of the Trinity.

Anointing of the sick is called the Sacred Mystery of Unction. Although practices will vary, most of the Orthodox use Unction not only for physical ailments, but for spiritual ailments as well, and the faithful may request Unction any number of times at will. In some churches, it is normal for all of the faithful to receive Unction during a service on Holy Wednesday of Holy Week. The holy oil used at Unction is not stored in the church like the myron, but consecrated anew for each individual service. When an Orthodox Christian dies, if he has received the Mystery of Unction, and some of the consecrated oil remains, it is poured over his body just before burial.

It is also common to bless using oils which have been blessed either with a simple blessing by a priest (or even a venerated monastic or layperson), or by contact with some sacred object, such as relics of a saint, or which has been taken from an oil lamp burning in front of a wonderworking icon or some other shrine.

1 John 2:27
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

What Happened to Christian Anointing - How Did We Lose it in History?

By the Middle Ages, anointing in the Christian church was pretty much the prerogative of a male catholic priesthood. Rules had been set down on who could and could not anoint. Unlike the early Christian era where laypeople-both men and women could use essential oils to anoint for healing-that role was now in the hands of the ordained priests who were by then only men. Anointing for healing had become a sacrament of the church and the oil used was "symbolic" at best.

After the Reformation in the 1500's the laying-on of hands and anointing along with its required donations fell into disfavor among most of the new Christian denominations and the use of blessed oils and many other Christian rituals were discarded.

The Roman Catholic Church continued its practice of blessed oil for this final anointing even though the true meaning of anointing for healing of physical and spiritual health appeared to be lost. The sacrament of anointing became "extreme unction" performed by the priest at one's final breath.

The Anglican Church allowed for anointing in the visitation of the sick. Anointing was limited to the forehead and breast in contrast to the sevenfold anointing (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet and heart) practiced to that date.

For most of the reformers, anointing was interpreted as the "inward anointing of the Spirit." They believed that the external rite, although acceptable in the first century, was no longer needed. There were occasional justifications for anointing of the sick, but they were almost apologetic in tone as they protested Roman abuse of unction.

It was actually not until the last 40 years, a lapse of over 500 years, that a renewed interest in the healing power of anointing with oil began to reshape the Catholic Church's understanding of the anointing of the sick. Even though anointing for healing was restored, it still used "symbolic" anointing with only little fragrance of an essential oil.

In recent years Protestantism has seen a number of revivals of anointing of the sick.

The 1979 American Prayer Book (Episcopalian) provides a form for the priest to bless the oil for anointing the sick and the rubrics state that when necessary, a deacon or layperson may perform the anointing.

The Canadian Book of Alternative Services, (1985) states that anointing may be performed by laypersons authorized by the bishop. All use oil blessed by the bishop.

In the Lutheran tradition, provision is made for anointing in the Occasional Services (1982). After the laying on of hands in silence, the minister may "dip a thumb in oil, make a sign of the cross on the forehead," and pray that, as the apostles anointed and healed many who were sick, so the Spirit may be given to the one anointed with oils that he or she "may in repentance and hope be made whole."
The Book of Worship (1986) of the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Holy Baptism and Services for the Renewal of Baptism both contain forms of anointing.

The hard-lined belief that anointing was superstitious doesn't seem to carry the same weight that it once did. Small groups reading the Scriptures have felt called to restore the use of oil for healing. Clearly-anointing with oil is beginning to become a sign of hope for many who suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Article Source:

Midsummer Day and the Summer Solstice.

Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 to June 24, and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures.

The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.

In Sweden, Mid-summer celebration originates from the time before Christianity; it was celebrated as a sacrifice time in the sign of the fertility.

The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, as it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars tend place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set. In Sweden, Finland and Estonia, Midsummer's Eve is considered the greatest festival of the year, comparable only with Walpurgis Night, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve.

In the 7th century, Saint Eligius (died 659/60) warned the recently converted inhabitants of Flanders against the age-old pagan solstice celebrations. According to the Vita by his companion Ouen, he'd say: "No Christian on the feast of Saint John or the solemnity of any other saint performs solestitia [summer solstice rites] or dancing or leaping or diabolical chants."

As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities. On St John's Day 1333 Petrarch watched women at Cologne rinsing their hands and arms in the Rhine "so that the threatening calamities of the coming year might be washed away by bathing in the river."

In Great Britain from the 13th century, Midsummer was celebrated on Midsummer Eve (St. John's Eve, June 23) and St. Peter's Eve (June 28) with the lighting of bonfires, feasting and merrymaking.

In late fifteenth-century England, John Mirk of Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire, gives the following description: "At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin." The church fathers decided to put a stop to these practices and ordained that people should fast on the evening before, and thus turned waking into fasting (Festial 182).

Mirk adds that at the time of his writing, " worship of St John the Baptist, men stay up at night and make three kinds of fires: one is of clean bones and no wood and is called a "bonnefyre"; another is of clean wood and no bones, and is called a wakefyre, because men stay awake by it all night; and the third is made of both bones and wood and is called, "St. John's fire" (Festial 182)." These traditions largely ended after the Reformation, but persisted in rural areas up until the nineteenth century before petering out.

Other Midsummer festivities had uneasy relations with the Reformed establishment. The Chester Midsummer Watch Parade, begun in 1498, was held at every Summer Solstice in years when the Chester Mystery Plays were not performed. Despite the cancellation of the plays in 1575, the parade continued; in 1599, however, the Lord Mayor ordered that the parades be banned and the costumes destroyed. The parade was permanently banned in 1675.

Tansys Golowan - A Cornish hilltop bonfire on Midsummer's eve.

Traditional Midsummer bonfires are still lit on some high hills in Cornwall (see Carn Brea and Castle an Dinas, St. Columb Major). This tradition was revived by the Old Cornwall Society in the early 20th century. Bonfires in Cornwall were once common as part of Golowan, which is now celebrated at Penzance, Cornwall. This week long festival normally starts on the Friday nearest St John's Day. Golowan lasts several days and culminates in Mazey Day. This is a revival of the Feast of St John (Gol-Jowan) with fireworks and bonfires.

Midsummer festivals are celebrated throughout Scotland, notably in the Scottish Borders where Peebles holds its Beltane Week. The Eve of St. John has special magical significance and was used by Sir Walter Scott as the title, and theme, for a pseudo-ballad poem. He invented a legend in which the lady of Smailholm Tower, near Kelso, keeps vigil by the midnight fires three nights in a row (see above) and is visited by her lover; but when her husband returns from battle, she learns he slew that lover on the first night, and she has been entertained by a very physical ghost.

In Wales it is called Gŵyl Ifan, or Gŵyl Ifan Ganol Haf (St John's of Midsummer) to distinguish it from Gŵyl Ifan Ganol Gaeaf (St John's of Midwinter, the feast of John the Evangelist). Great agricultural fairs used to be held at this time, along with merriment and dancing. A bonfire was also kept this night. With the advent of non-conformist beliefs on the Welsh socio-political culture, this (among so many other similar festivals)suffered greatly, and its observance finally died out in SE Wales by the end of the 19th century. However, since 1977, a folk-dance revival started in Cardiff, and is held now annually on this feast day.

June 24, Midsummer Day, the feast of St. John the Baptist, is one of the quarter days in England. In recent years on the Summer Solstice, English Heritage has run a "Managed Open Access" to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebrations.

Forgiven - Medwyn Goodall

Monday, June 20, 2011

Celtic Christian Holy Wells

Sorry this is cut off you can watch it right on YouTube if need be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


"Poor Wayfaring Stranger"

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world of woe
But there's no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright land to which I go

Well I'm going there
To meet my mother
Said she'd meet me when I come
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I know dark clouds
Will gather 'round me
I know my way
Will be rough and steep
But beautiful fields lie just before me
Where God's redeemed
Their vigils keep

Well I'm going there
To meet my loved ones
Gone on before me, one by one
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I'll soon be free of earthy trials
My body rest in the old church yard
I'll drop this cross of self-denial
And I'll go singing home to God

Well I'm going there
To meet my Savior
Dwell with Him and never roam
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

Poor Wayfaring Stranger sung by Natalie Merchant

Luna Moth

Actias luna, commonly known as the Luna Moth, is a lime-green, Nearctic Saturniid moth in the family Saturniidae, subfamily Saturniinae. It has a wingspan of up to four and a half inches,[making it one of the largest moths in North America. This one is a male. He landed by my porch light even before it was dark last night. After I picked him up he flew up into the biggest shade tree.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Motherland by Natalie Merchant


Where in hell can you go
Far from the things that you know
Far from the sprawl of concrete
That keeps crawling its way
About 1,000 miles a day?

Take one last look behind
Commit this to memory and mind
Don't miss this wasteland, this terrible place
When you leave
Keep your heart off your sleeve

Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go, don't you go

O, my five & dime queen
Tell me what have you seen?
The lust and the avarice
The bottomless, the cavernous greed
Is that what you see?

Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go

It's your happiness I want most of all
And for that I'd do anything at all, o mercy me!
If you want the best of it or the most of all
If there's anything I can do at all

Now come on shot gun bride
What makes me envy your life?
Faceless, nameless, innocent, blameless and free,
What's that like to be?

Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go, don't you go

Overwhelmed by Tricia Brock

By Tricia Brock

You're tenderness is moving, You refresh my soul
With words of pristine water
That bathe and make me whole
Your holiness is burning through my very soul
Your words consume like fire
I'm purified like gold

I'm overwhelmed by You, You're sovereign majesty
I'm captured in the passion of a Holy King
And I've been reconciled to the Son of Peace
I belong to You, You belong to me

You're authority is comfort
It brings me to my knees
A noble God of justice you give mercies peace
Forgiveness is humbling it makes my life bow
Beneath the oak of friendship I lay my burden down

I'm overwhelmed by You, You're sovereign majesty
I'm captured in the passion of a Holy King
And I've been reconciled to the Son of Peace
I belong to You, You belong to me

You are my future, You are my hope
My one desire, my forever love
You are my future, You are my hope
My one desire, my Forever Love

I'm overwhelmed by You, You're sovereign majesty
I'm captured in the passion of a Holy King
And I've been reconciled to the Son of Peace
I belong to You, You belong to me.

Over Analyzing

Romans 12:11
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

I dare say most theology would bore Jesus to tears. His words are words of action. If we Christians would live our faith actively instead of passively and do less analyzing, the Gospel would come alive in every facet of our lives.

Matthew 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Farming Days

when gypsies trod upon the downs

when heather sweet was scattered round

when vardos were true caravans

when kyers rode pon these lands

Where rabbits ran the meadows sweet

where fox gave chase and lords did meet

where grouse and pheasants were dismissed

amongst the hills where Gypsy's kissed

Where forests walks and grassy mounds

hid all the wealth of gentry found

where springs did burst throughout the land

where Gypsy songs were loud and grand

Where zunners ran most every day

amongst the gorse they hid and played

where bees did buzz and warblers song

caressed the mornings and days so long

Where bare knacked fights were all in rage

upon the booth where folks did stage

where youth and charms were on display

where farmers worked amongst the hay

Where church bells chimed

where wheels did roll

upon the tracks where folks did go

where factory hand and market stalls

were rich in life for one and all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Traveller's Prayer

I never tire of this song. I made this video a few years ago and the wonderful full moon in clear skies here tonight made me revisit my video.

This is a slideshow video of photos and classic paintings of the moon set to The Traveller's Prayer by John Renbourn. John Renbourn wrote the words to Traveller's Prayer after researching the ancient songs of the Carmina Gadelica . This is based loosely on a prayer called The New Moon. There are several prayers with the moon as the main subject that are in this collection of ancient works collected by Alexander Carmichael. I advise all to buy John Renbourn,'s CDs. For the Traveller's Prayer see Ship of Fools.

Music copyright John Renbourn, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The World is Too Much With Us: Late and Soon


The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

–William Wordsworth 1806

Old Homestead

Old homestead! old homestead! what feelings arise!
As now the old homestead greets kindly our eyes;
Old homestead, where oft we were merry or sad;
Each day as it fled, still some witchery had.

The homestead! how dear is its old, friendly look,
Its dun rolling hills, and its slow running brook;
Its time-worn, old gables, and cornice so plain,
Its roof that grew mossy from shadow and rain.

Old homestead! some dwelt with us, loved with us here;
Some smiled at our smile, and they wept at our tear:
Of those some have gone to a far distant land;
And some--where yon cedars like pale mourners stand.

Oh! memories most thrilling, most holy, most dear,
Still cluster around thee, old homestead, fore'er;
Thou hast a deep magic that never can die,
'Till 'neath the green valley, we endlessly lie.

by James Avis Bartley

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Flag Day in the USA

Duty to Our Flag

by Edgar A. Guest

Less hate and greed
Is what we need
And more of service true;
More men to love
The flag above
And keep it first in view.

Less boast and brag
About the flag,
More faith in what it means;
More heads erect,
More self-respect,
Less talk of war machines.

The time to fight
To keep it bright
Is not along the way,
Nor' cross the foam,
But here at home
Within ourselves today.

'Tis we must love
That flag above
With all our might and main;
For from our hands
Not distant lands
Shall come dishonor's stain.

If that flag be
Dishonored, we
Have done it not the foe;
If it shall fall,
We, first of all,
Shall have to strike the blow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Magpie Lane - The Painful Plough

The Painful Plough

Come all of you bold ploughin' men of courage stout and bold
Who labor through the winter and the stormy winds and cold,
To fill your fields with plenty and your barnyards to renew,
That bread may not be wanted, behold the painful plough.

Now said the ploughman to the gardener, "Like not your trade to ours!
But walk your curious borders and gaze upon your flowers
If it hadn't been for the ploughin' man both rich and poor would rue,
For we are all dependant upon the painful plough!"

And Adam was a ploughin' man when ploughin' first begun
The very next to succeed him was Caine his eldest son.
Some of this generation the calling must pursue,
That we may not be wanting, behold the painful plough.

And Samson was a mighty man, and Solomon he was wise,
Alexander fought to conquer and was all that we do prize,
David was a valiant man and many a thousand slew,
But none of these great heroes could live without the plough

And I hope that all who hear this song will hold to what is true,
We cannot cross the raging seas without the painful plough;
For they must have their bread and cakes , their butter and jam and pease,
To feed the jolly sailor lad who ploughs the ragin' seas.

So come all of you bold ploughin' men of courage stout and bold.
Who labor through the winter and the stormy winds and cold,
To fill your fields with plenty and your barnyards to renew,
That bread may not be wanted, behold the painful plough.

Jack on the Green!

Jack in the Green

(Martin Graebe)

Now winter is over I'm happy to say
And we're all met again in our ribbons so gay
And we're all met again on the first day of spring
To go about dancing with Jack in the green
Jack in the green, Jack in the green
To go about dancing with Jack in the green

Now Jack in the green is a very strange man
Though he dies every autumn, he's born every spring
And every year on his birthday, we will dance through the streets
And in return Jack, he will ripen our wheat (as above)

With his mantle he'll cover the trees that are bare
And our gardens he'll trim with his jacket so fair
And our fields he will sow with the hairs on his head
And our grain it will ripen till old Jack is dead

Now the sun is half up and betokens the hour
That the children arrive with their garlands of flowers
So now let the music and dancing begin
And touch the young heart of young Jack in the Green.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dismissory of Pentecost, Απολυτίκιο Πεντηκοστής

Dismissory of Pentecost, Απολυτίκιο Πεντηκοστής

Tim Hart (The Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun)

Tim Hart (The Ladies Go Dancing At Whitsun) A tribute to Tim Hart with random images of Scotland.

Dancing at Whitsun
(words by John Austin Marshall)

It's fifty long springtimes since she was a bride,
But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide
In a dress of white linen with ribbons of green,
As green as her memories of loving.

The feet that were nimble tread carefully now,
As gentle a measure as age will allow,
Through groves of white blossoms, by fields of young corn,
Where once she was pledged to her true-love.

The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow (go) free--
No young men to turn them or pastures go see (seed)
They are gone where the forest of oak trees before
Have gone, to be wasted in battle.

Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones
Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons.
There's a fine roll of honor where the Maypole once stood,
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.

There's a straight row of houses in these latter days
All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze.
There's a field of red poppies (a gift from the Queen)
But the ladies remember at Whitsun,
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.

Pentecost Poem

Pentecost Poem

Love's cup still pours its fill
And we can sip
And feed our veins
With its miraculousness.

Marvel at the Risen Lord, marvel that
A God of such outlandish love
Should love us to the point
Of death, and more -
Pour onto us
Love's gift for lovers -
His Holy Spirit, to shore up
Breached walls
And battle grounds

Where evil limbs are
With virtues bound
And souls' citadels
Restored to holy wonders

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Whitsun Carol

Now Whitsuntide is come you very well do know
Come serve the Lord we must before we do go
Come serve him truly with all your might and heart
And then from heaven your soul shall never depart.

How do you know how long we have to live
For when we die oh then what would we give
For being sure of having our resting place
Since we have run our simple wretched race.

Down in those gardens where flowers grow in ranks
Down on your knees and to the Lord give thanks
Pray unto the Lord that angels he may bring
And then in heaven your soul shall sit and sing.
(repeat the tune for the last two lines on the following two lines)
Down on your knees and pray both night and day
Pray unto the Lord that He will lead you the right way.

Both young and old, both rich and poor, give ear
Don't allow your children to lie, boast curse nor swear
Do not allow them to keep ill company
For that will surely bring them to shame and misery.

Come all those children all in the streets we meet
All in their pastimes so even and complete
So its how you may hear them lie, boast, curse and swear
Before they do know one word of any prayer.

Now we may bring you the royal branch of oak
God bless our King and Queen and all the royal folk
God bless our King and Queen and all the world beside
Then the Lord He will send us all a merry Whitsuntide.

Witsuntide is the week beginning on Whitsunday. Whitsunday, which is also known as Pentecost is 50 days, or app. 7 weeks after Easter.

Pentecost Sunday is tomorrow

Pentecost is tomorrow.

Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means "fiftieth day" and is celebrated fifty days after Easter. WHAT

Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29). The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).


Donovan was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, the son of Winifred (née Phillips), a factory worker, and Donald Leitch, a Rolls Royce factory employee. He contracted polio as a child and the disease, and subsequent treatment, left him with a limp. In 1956, his family moved to Little Berkhamsted near Hertford, England.

Influenced by his family's love for Scottish and English folk music, he began playing guitar at 14. He enrolled in art school but dropped out soon afterwards, determined to live out his beatnik aspirations by going out on the road. In 1963, he took a trip to St Ives with Gypsy Dave and other friends from Hertfordshire.


Returning to Hatfield, he spent several months playing in local clubs, absorbing the music of the British folk scene around his home in St Albans, learning the crosspicking guitar technique from such local players as Mac MacLeod and Mick Softley and writing his first songs.

In 1964, he travelled to Manchester with Gypsy Dave, then spent the summer in Torquay, Devon. In Torquay he stayed with his old friend and guitar mentor from St Albans, Mac MacLeod, and took up busking (street performing), studying guitar, and learning traditional folk and blues songs.

In late 1964, he was offered a management and publishing contract by Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens of Pye Records in London, where he recorded a 10-track demo tape (recently rediscovered and released on iTunes), which included the original recording of "Catch the Wind", his first single, and "Josie". The first song revealed the influence of Woody Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who had also influenced Bob Dylan. Dylan comparisons followed him for some time. In an interview with KFOK radio in the US on June, 14th 2005, MacLeod stated: "The press were fond of calling Donovan a 'Dylan Clone' as they had both been influenced by the same sources: Ramblin' Jack, Jesse Fuller, Woody Guthrie, and many more."

While recording the demo, Donovan befriended Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, who was recording in a nearby studio. Coincidentally, he had also recently met Jones's ex-girlfriend Linda Lawrence. The on-off romantic relationship that developed over the next five years was a pivotal force in Donovan's career. Linda exerted a huge influence on Donovan's music but she initially refused to marry him and moved to the US for several years in the late 1960s. She eventually relented however and they married on 2 October 1970 at Windsor Registry Office. Although Donovan had other relationships—one of which resulted in the birth of his first two children, Donovan Leitch, Jr., and Ione Skye Leitch—he remained strongly drawn to Linda, and she became his muse. His confused feelings about her inspired dozens of songs, including "Legend Of A Girl Child Linda", "Sunshine Superman" and many others.

In the first week of May 1965, Donovan met Bob Dylan, then touring the UK, in Dylan's suite at the Savoy Hotel in London. The music press had made much of the supposed rivalry between the two, and of Donovan's alleged aping of Dylan (similarities also noted by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones), but the meeting went well and Dylan later told Melody Maker: "He played some songs to me ... I like him ... He's a nice guy." The Melody Maker report also noted that Dylan had mentioned Donovan in his song "Talking World War Three Blues" but that the crowd had jeered when Donovan's name was mentioned, to which Dylan had responded backstage: "I didn't mean to put the guy down in my songs. I just did it for a joke, that's all."

The meeting was captured in a documentary by D.A. Pennebaker, who was filming Dylan's Spring 1965 tour, and part of the event was included in the documentary Don't Look Back, although Donovan's management reportedly refused to allow journalists to be present, stating that they did not want "any stunt on the lines of the disciple meeting the messiah".The director later recalled an embarrassing encounter:“
Of course, when Donovan met him he was very excited and decided to play something for him. Dylan said he liked Catch The Wind, but Donovan said, I've written a new song I wanna play for you. So he played a song called My Darling Tangerine Eyes. And it was to the tune of Mr Tambourine Man! And Dylan was sitting there with this funny look on his face, listening to Mr Tambourine Man with these really weird words, trying to keep a straight face. Then Dylan says, Well, you know, that tune ... I have to admit that I haven't written all the tunes I'm credited with but that happens to be one that I did write! I'm sure Donovan never played the song again! ”

In an interview for the BBC in 2001 to mark Bob Dylan's 60th birthday, Donovan acknowledged Dylan as an important influence early in his career while distancing himself from the "Dylan clone" allegations:“ The one who really taught us to play and learn all the traditional songs was Martin Carthy—who incidentally was contacted by Dylan when Bob first came to the UK. Bob was influenced, as all American folk artists are, by the Celtic music of Ireland, Scotland and England. But in 1962 we folk Brits were also being influenced by some folk Blues and the American folk-exponents of our Celtic Heritage...Dylan appeared after Woodie [Guthrie], Pete [Seeger] and Joanie [Baez] had conquered our hearts, and he sounded like a cowboy at first but I knew where he got his stuff—it was Woodie at first, then it was Jack Kerouac and the stream-of-consciousness poetry which moved him along. But when I heard Blowing In The Wind it was the clarion call to the new generation – and we artists were encouraged to be as brave in writing our thoughts in music...We were not captured by his influence, we were encouraged to mimic him—and remember every British band from the Stones to the Beatles were copying note for note, lick for lick, all the American pop and blues artists—this is the way young artists learn. There's no shame in mimicking a hero or two—it flexes the creative muscles and tones the quality of our composition and technique. It was not only Dylan who influenced us—for me he was a spearhead into protest, and we all had a go at his style. I sounded like him for five minutes—others made a career of his sound. Like troubadours, Bob and I can write about any facet of the human condition. To be compared was natural, but I am not a copyist.

The Holly-Tree

O reader! hast thou ever stood to see
The Holly-tree?
The eye that contemplates it well perceives
Its glossy leaves
Ordered by an Intelligence so wise
As might confound the Atheist's sophistries.

Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen,
Wrinkled and keen;

No grazing cattle, through their prickly round,
Can reach to wound;
But, as they grow where nothing is to fear,
Smooth and unarmed the pointless leaves appear.

I love to view these things with curious eyes,
And moralize;
And in this wisdom of the Holly-tree
Can emblem see
Wherewith, perchance, to make a pleasant rhyme, -
One which may profit in the after-time.

Thus, though abroad, perchance, I might appear
Harsh and austere;
To those who on my leisure would intrude,
Reserved and rude;
Gentle at home amid my friends I'd be,
Like the high leaves upon the Holly-tree.

And should my youth - as youth is apt, I know, -
Some harshness show,
All vain asperities I, day by day,
Would wear away,
Till the smooth temper of my age should be
Like the high leaves upon the Holly-tree.

And as, when all the summer trees are seen
So bright and green,
The Holly-leaves their fadeless hues display
Less bright than they;
But when the bare and wintry woods we see,
What then so cheerful as the Holly-tree? -

So, serious should my youth appear among
The thoughtless throng;
So would I seem, amid the young and gay,
More grave than they;
That in my age as cheerful I might be
As the green winter of the Holly-tree.

by Robert Southey


Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The Summer dark is but the dawn of day.
The last of sunset fades into the morning,
The morning calls you from the dark away.
The holy mist, the white mist of the morning,
Was wreathing upward on my lonely way.
The way was waiting for your own adorning
That should complete the broad adorned day.

Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The little eastern clouds are dapple grey:
There will be wind among the leaves to-day;
It is the very promise of the morning.
Lux Tua Via Mea: your light's my way -
Then do rise up and make it perfect day.

Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Garden

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
Rose plot,
Fringed pool,
Ferned grot--
The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not--
Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.

by Thomas Edward Brown

Petals of velvet

Petals of velvet, colors so bright,
Smiling and nodding long into the night.
Round, joker faces that dance with the moon,
Lilting and tilting a flower song tune.

Warm summer sunbeams captured for all,
By round little flowers, so sweet and so small.

Bright pansy colors, a study in light,
Reflecting the moonbeams that dance in the night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Culture in Decline

Sadly think our culture has evolved as to discourage proper family building and the putting down of roots and "nest building". We have lost our social conscience and the will to teach morality and simple kindness in our culture. Our failure to demand people be held accountable for their actions and our failure to nurture women and children has created a culture of coldness and reckless, selfish behavior such as Rep.Anthony Weiner has exhibited. While there has always been a element in all cultures of lust and depravity it has become celebrated in our society. We reward selfishness and depravity in our media and culture.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Snap Dragon Photos

These are newly planted. They will grow to be 10-15 inches tall. The best way to keep snap dragons blooming is to cut the flowers often. Don't allow the flowering shoots to set fruit. By removing old blooms regularly, you can have flowers until cold weather kills the plants.

Snapdragons are a favorite of gardeners who like bright, showy flowers in the garden, and for use as cut flowers. The Snap Dragon is a native of the Mediterranean region.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wikileaks: Inside story of Megrahi's return home

Published Date: 06 June 2011
By Kenny Farquharson
COLONEL Muammar al-Gaddafi's motive for giving a hero's welcome to freed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is revealed today in secret US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and seen by The Scotsman.
The cables reveal that the regime's handling of the homecoming was heavily influenced by Col Gaddafi's simmering resentment towards the West over the case of six Bulgarian nurses freed from a Libyan jail in 2007.

The nurses had been jailed for life for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with the HIV virus. European Union diplomats negotiated their release - but then reneged on a deal that the nurses should serve the rest of their sentences in jail in Bulgaria.

Col Gaddafi's lingering anger at this diplomatic "insult" is revealed in a cable, written by a diplomat, describing a meeting in Tripoli between the colonel and US senator John McCain, shortly before Megrahi's release. The Libyan leader refused to give any guarantees about the tenor of Megrahi's homecoming, the cable reports, despite Mr McCain's warning that a hero's welcome could severely damage Libya's new friendship with the United States.

Col Gaddafi cited the celebrations that met the nurses in Bulgaria after their release.

"Calling them murderers, (Gaddafi] remarked in a tone of disbelief that they were welcomed home by the Bulgarian president himself," the cable reads. Col Gaddafi told Mr McCain the Libyan people would decide how to welcome home the Lockerbie bomber.

The cases of Megrahi and the Bulgarian nurses had long been linked in Col Gaddafi's mind.

While the nurses were still in jail, he repeatedly tried to barter a prisoner swap with the West - exchanging the nurses for the Lockerbie bomber.

These approaches were always rebuffed by the West, to Col Gaddafi's frustration.

Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed, was freed from Greenock jail on 20 August, 2009, after being granted compassionate release due to advanced prostate cancer.

The decision by the SNP government to free Britain's biggest mass murderer met an angry response from the US government and most of the relatives of the Lockerbie dead.

Jubilant scenes on Megrahi's arrival at Tripoli airport - when Libyans waved saltires in celebration - were beamed around the world to universal condemnation.

Despite the Scottish Government's declared belief at the time that Megrahi had less than three months to live, he is still alive - staying in a high-class Tripoli suburb - 34 months later.

Gordon Brown, prime minister at the time, had written to Col Gaddafi before Megrahi's release, urging Libya to "act with sensitivity".

Beard Tongue and Snapdragons

Snapdragons, like many garden flowers, have a long history of enjoyment. Children love opening the jaw of the flower and watching it snap shut. Opening the dragon's jaw in just the right place is a skill passed down from parent to child just like the love of gardening. The Latin name for snapdragon is Antirrhinum majus. "Anti" in Greek means "like," and "rhinos" means "snout."

Snapdragon flowers are available in every color but blue. The erect spikes are covered with buds which open from the bottom to the top. The gradual opening of the buds provides color for an extended period of time.

Snapdragon classifications are based either on flower form or height. Height falls into three categories; dwarf, medium or tall. Dwarf plants have a dense, bushy habit producing numerous flower spikes. They grow just 6 to 15 inches tall and are perfect plants for use in a low border or containers. Mid-sized varieties grow 15 to 30 inches tall and are used in borders (either alone or with other annuals) and as cut flowers. Tall varieties will grow 30 to 48 inches in height. They make a wonderful plant for the back of the border as well as for cut flowers.

Snapdragons flower best in full sun or light shade and should be planted in rich well drained soil. Prepare the soil by breaking up large clumps of soil and amending heavy soils with compost or peat moss. The root system is quite fine and can easily be damaged by deep cultivation. A layer of organic mulch around the plants will conserve moisture as well as prevent weed growth. Tall varieties of snaps need to be staked to prevent breakage. Staking should be done early in the season. Tie the stem to the stake as the stem lengthens with soft cloth.

Dwarf varieties to look for at your local garden center include the 'Floral Carpet' and 'Floral Showers' series. Both varieties grow 6 to 8 inches tall with the traditional "dragon jaws" flower form. The 'Pixie' mixture grows 7 to 9 inches tall with a butterfly type flower. Mid-sized plants include the 'Liberty' series. These plants grow 18 to 22 inches tall with "dragon jaws" flowers. The 'Madame Butterfly' mixture grows 24 to 30 inches tall with the double azalea flower form. The 'Princess' series grows 16 to 18 inches with traditional flower form. Tall varieties include 'Bright Butterflies' mixture. This "butterfly" flowered variety grows 24 to 36 inches tall. The 'Rocket' series grows 30 to 36 inches tall with traditionally shaped flowers that are excellent for cutting.

The purple flower is a Hardy Beard Tongue or Penstemon 'Prairie Dusk' released in 1990

Saturday, June 4, 2011


O give me not red roses,
That early dews have wet!
They speak to me of kisses
That are remembered yet.

O bring me not white roses,
That summer winds have drest!
For once I placed white roses
Upon a quiet breast.

But bring me purple pansies
If so you wish to please,
For them I have affection;
For pansies are "heart's ease".

by Louisa Cooke Don-Carlos.

The Pansy

Pansies, Johnny jump ups, violas and violets

Violets have been cultivated and used in cooking and medicine for thousands of years. They are low-growing Perennials that are closely related to Pansies, and spread readily in the right conditions. They make an attractive and useful ground cover in shady situations, such as under trees. Wild Violets are prone to being thought of as a weed, as they spring up all over the place and are difficult to control.

Violets have fragrant flowers that are borne on stalks that rise from the leaves. Their leaves are dark green and oval, kidney shaped, or heart shaped. The flowers can be white, blue, purple, and rarely, yellow. Violets flower in April and May, and prefer rich, moist soil and partial shade. They self-sow readily and also spread by runners, and they may need occasional thinning.

Violet leaves and flowers are often used as garnishes in chilled soups and for a festive touch in punches. The petals can be candied and used to garnish cakes, fruits, and pastries. The leaves are tasty enough to be eaten alone, but also work well when added to green salads.

The pansy or pansy violets are a large group of hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. Pansies are derived from Viola species Viola tricolor hybridized with other viola species, these hybrids are referred to as Viola × wittrockiana or less commonly Viola tricolor hortensis. The name "pansy" also appears as part of the common name for other Viola species that are wildflowers in Europe. Some unrelated species, such as the Pansy Monkeyflower, also have "pansy" in their name.

Pansies, Johnny jump ups and violets all are related and, for most people, pansies rule in the spring for their hardiness and in the fall.

Violas are perennial; they typically reseed themselves. Gardeners may plant them annually, however, to be sure they get a steady show of blooms. Some violas are biennials, blooming every two years, or lasting two years before the plants die off. The spots, blotches and lines on many species draw bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. These markings give pansies their "face." Some varieties have heart-shaped leaves; others are more oval. Today's varieties come in many colors, with blends of many different colors.

The Viola. Violetta. Violets, the Ancient Greeks grew them for Demeter. Romans used them in weddings. Augustine of Hippo mentions in his "City of God": "the wedding bed, decorated with flowers, often with saffron-dyed sheets and violets after the fashion of the wedding bed of Jupiter and Juno." Homer said they were in the Garden of Calypso. Shakespeare wrote them into the bank where Titania sleeps in "A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Rams Horn

The Rams Horn on Facebook