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Grow Your Own Future

Garden Lore
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Winter is a wonderful time to reflect….and what better topic to reflect upon than gardening! Gardening is an inexact science which has been surrounded by habits, traditions, folklore and superstition. However, if you look closely you will see much wisdom intertwined throughout the lore.

This year, 2024 is a Leap Year, which gives us one extra day for gardening gain. Forget that it is the middle of winter and make the most of that extra 24-hour period. It is interesting that February is the only month of the Leap Year but also the “love” month and there is a legend revolving about that extra 29th day. It is said that in Ireland, St. Brigid suggested to St. Patrick that every fourth year, it would be a good idea for women to propose instead of the men! St. Patrick thought it was a perfectly splendid idea but then when she did propose, he refused her proposal. Hmmmm, perhaps we should spend that extra time on gardening gain rather than love!

When odd things happen in the garden it is often associated with a tale. The lowly bean has been the subject of many tales throughout the years. If within a row of green beans one plant bears white beans it means that there will be a death in the family. However, during a leap year it is thought that the bean would grow upside down. On Midsummer’s Eve, three beans would be prepared in different ways and hidden. Those who found the untouched bean would find wealth, those finding the half-peeled bean would have a comfortable life while the poor souls who found the fully peeled beans would be poor forever.


Basil is a herb that is associated with purification, love and money. Each season if you wish to be wealthy you need to place a piece of basil in each of the four corners of your home to bring wealth. In Tudor times, basil would be placed on the windowsills by young maidens to indicate they were looking for a suitor. Those men who are given a gift of basil will fall in love with the giver of that gift.

Mushrooms of course were not passed by. In ancient times it was believed that thunder and lightning engendered the mushroom. Edible mushrooms were considered food for the Gods in Ancient Greece and I am sure they must have been portabella mushrooms fried in freshly churned butter. Fairy rings were of course caused by the paths of dancing fairies and if you were lucky, and found one beside your house you would have good fortune!

Parsley is unfortunately associated with death and misfortune. If you are cooking with parsley and you happen to be in love, then you will for sure be in for a spell of bad luck. Babies were thought to be discovered in parsley beds and maidens in distress could solve their problem by chewing parsley each day for a period of three weeks.

The folklore tied to the garden is endless. It is always entertaining but also if you look closely will often find that it will also contain at least some rather useful information. 

Hanbidge is the Lead Horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email at; on Facebook @orchidhort and on Instagram at #orchidhort. Tune into GROW Live on our Facebook page or check out the Youtube channel GROW.



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