We have passed the Equinox and the nights are drawing in. The bees and butterflies are making the most of the glimmers of sunshine, feasting on the nectar of ivy flowers as they well know that the weather is turning and winter will soon be upon us. I have always been fascinated about the traditional and ancient uses of Herbs.
Ivy, Hedra helix L. an evergreen native herb which, in ancient times, symbolised eternal life, loyalty, devotion and undying desire, for it’s well known habit of attaching itself firmly to a wall or tree.
Bay, Laurus nobilis, was also considered a symbol of eternal life. The Greek generals wore a laurel wreath in the belief that, by doing so, they could cleanse themselves from the bloodshed. . The Romans, adopted the Bay as a symbol of victory. The latin ‘laureate’ means crowned with laurels, a synonym for bay, hence Poet Laureate.
And Myrtle, Myrtus communis, a personal favourite, for it looks good all season long and is so useful in the kitchen. In ancient times, and this tradition has returned, was the symbol of love, marriage and fertility. The Myrtle wreath was often worn by brides and bridegrooms. In Wales it was believed that the destruction of the Myrtle is tantamount to killing love and peace.
So these three herbs, Ivy, Myrtle and Bay when arranged in a vase to brighten the home in winter symbolises happiness, love, devotion and longevity.