Monday, 2 July 2018

July Days

 These are two of the July  pages from the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. Note the Bee-Orchid on the left hand page........just like the one I found in the cut-flower garden.


 July is named in honour of Julius Caesar, July usually contains some good hot days and these are sometimes referred to as Dog Days. At this time of year Sirius, the dog star, rises at the same time as the sun and was thought by the ancient Romans to give the sun extra heat.

From the poem by Sara Coleridge..........

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

Gillyflower is an old name that seems to have been given to a whole group of fragrant flowers in the 14th-16th centuries. One definition says that the name means 'July flowers', derived from the French, juillet , (jillyflowers) This would make sense as French was the language of the Royal Court and was widely spoken. As time passed the name was used for mainly just for Pinks, forerunners of Carnations and the 'clove gillyflower' was Dianthus caryophyllus.

Another lovely page of illustrations, this time  from the Illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewin. This highlights the importance of stinging nettles for butterflies.

 July 15th is St Swithin's Day and everyone knows about the weather on that day being the same for the next 40 days......supposedly!

St Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain.
St Swithin's Day, if thou be fair
For forty days, twill rain no more.

There was also a belief about the ripening of apples. It was thought that if it rained on the 15th the Saint was christening the apples and there would be a good harvest. In many areas no one would eat an apple before this day but after the 15th windfall apples could be used for jam making.

There is a total lunar eclipse on the 27th between 8.45pm and 9.30pm. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow across the moon. Full lunar eclipses are sometimes called 'blood-moons' because the moon takes on shades of red and orange.

Many thanks for comments on Saturday, I will answer the questions on tomorrows post - promise.

Back Tomorrow


  1. I didn't comment on yesterday's post because your remark about everyone returning to normal but you moved me to tears.
    It reminded me of when my mother died and I felt in a completely different world from everyone else and couldn't understand how people could carry on as normal.
    Not the same situation but I ache for you and hope that the sunshine soothes you in the black moments and that occasionally you can lose yourself for a while in “a good murder”!
    Thank you for today's post. I now know how to pronounce gilly.
    How lovely that the bee orchid was in this month's Country Diary
    I hope Florence is feeling better. Sue

  2. I had all these Edwardian Country Diary books and gave them away. Now look for them in charity shops as I realise how interesting they are. It’s a bit breezier here today but we really do need rain now to cool the atmosphere.

  3. Shall now go and write that eclipse on my calendar. My sitting room window looks directly out onto the moon most nights so I watch it regularly. I suppose sod's law will mean that it will be cloudy - but shall mark it just the same.

  4. Love these posts about the months Sue. I didn't know butterflies liked nettles. I wonder if that's why we don't seem to get many butterflies here......there never seem to be many nettles.

    I do hope Florence gets well soon.

  5. A lovely post Sue. That book is a favourite of mine, and oft returned to. The word "gillyflower" is so evocative and makes me think of Elzabethan England. Last year I invested in about 8 various "Pinks" including the lovely Cranmere Pool and Haytor White (love my Dartmoor roots, and there used to be a Nursery breeding pinks with lovely Dartmoor names). I put them in various planters and they survived the winter and are putting on a lovely show now.

    Now - am I wishing for rain on St Swithun's Day this year? Despite the lack of it, possibly not, as so rarely do we get a good summer. As we have our own water supply, like many of our neighbours and friends further afield in Wales, a gentle reminder to the Powers That Be, that a bit of rain wouldn't go amiss - but please, NOT 40 days and nights of it!!

    We have plenty of nettles about the place here, and Codlins and Cream to encourage the Elephant Hawkmoths. The commoner butterflies seem to be shwoing themselves, but haven't seen a Comma yet, or a Blue (though not many of those locally) and only a couple of Large Tortoiseshells and Peakcocks so far, and one Red Admiral.

  6. I love July - my favourite month but then I am biased as it contains my birthday. Luckily I was not born on the 15th or I might have been called Swithin!
    I like the word gillyflower - it reminds me of those little Victorian posies of flowers they made to add a bit of masking scent to a lady in the days before deoderant.

  7. I was born on July 15th . No I am not called Swithin .
    I had to be named Julie or my older sister did not want my mum to bring me home from the nursing home .

  8. I love these posts! Looking forward to the lunar eclipse. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  9. The lunar eclipse should give a beautiful umbra coloured moon. It will be early so still daylight but it will improve as it gets darker. The bright orange planet to the right below the moon about an hour later is Mars and worth looking for. Your Country Diary Book as some lovely drawings.

  10. We always said the dog days of August for that was when the lakes and rivers would bloom with algae and make fishing difficult.
    I love lunar eclipses. Being a moon child, there is supposed to be some effect. I don't know if we'll see it here or not. I'll have to check the websites.
    I know the name gillyflower from the Dr Who episode with Diana Rigg.

  11. I love your postings about each month and always learn something new - thanks.