Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flower Fairies

 The Flower Fairy books by Cicely Mary Barker are among my favourite children's books because of their delicate paintings of flowers and trees. They are a lovely way to help children learn about the natural world although the poems that accompany the paintings aren't exactly great literature:) I still have Flower Fairies of the Summer, Flower Fairies of the Wayside and A Flower Fairy Alphabet from my daughter's childhood so I thought I would complete the set gradually. Flower Fairies of the Spring seemed the appropriate one to begin with and it seems to have done the trick as the day it arrived the weather began to warm up:) The painting on the cover is of The Crocus Fairies.

The Windflower Fairy is one of my favourites from the Spring book partly because it's a lovely painting and partly because I love seeing the wood anenomes appear, they are always among the earliest of the woodland flowers along with the celandine. Windflower is the country name for the wood anenome. In the last couple of days there are suddenly sheets of them in Ecclesall Woods where at the beginning of the week there was no sign of them at all.

The other book I've just acquired is Flower Fairies of the Trees which is my favourite of all the Flower Fairy books I think, it's only rival would be Flower Fairies of the Autumn which I have still to buy. This is the latest edition, all the original eight Flower Fairy books have recently been re-issued. The cover shows the Willow Fairy which I really love.

Another of my favourites is the Blackthorn Fairy - she should shortly be appearing in our hedgerows bringing with her the blackthorn winter. The blackthorn blossom comes before the leaves and makes it look as though the shrubs are covered in snow. The old countrymen believed that it also brought with it a spell of cold weather - I hope that isn't the case this year as I think we've had sufficient cold weather during this Spring!

My final offering looks forward to the hot, sunny (hopefully )days of summer when we shall be seeing the Poppy Fairy in the fields - not a favourite with the farmers perhaps but definitely a favourite of mine.


Kathy said...

I've always loved these books too. Charming!
Kathy xxx

Roy Norris said...

I shall look out for the Poppy Fairy D.

Pondside said...

The Blackthorn Fairy has always been a favourite of mine and I was pleased to find a print several years ago. The charm of the fairies is timeless.

Mac n' Janet said...

I love these books two, they inspired me to make a number of copies of the fairies.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I love these books too - all her paintings are so lovely. I'm slowly collecting them all.

Bovey Belle said...

I still have all these books, which I used to read to the girls. Some of the poems I still remember off by heart too! I have done some of the beautiful x-stitch embroideries and have the Lilac Fairy 3/4 finished - must get back to that.

The windflowers are out around here and I noticed for the first time last week that although 95% of them have 6 petals, some have 7 and a few 8! Check it out with yours.

HeidiInHolland said...

I too love these books. I received two vintage ones from a blogging friend after getting out of the hospital a couple of years ago. They arrived the day after I got home and I was thrilled with them. Now I might go get them off the shelves this evening and look at them again after reading your post.

Hugs from Holland ~

Unknown said...

I know we share a love of these books, simply beautiful. I happen to know that tomorrow my boys will be receiving a couple via fairy mail! Our Spring Garden gnome 'Gilly' is very well informed on the matter and assures me that Granny has requested a special fairy delivery! Granny has good taste!

Zuzana said...

Really pretty illustrations, remind me of some books I used to have as a child.;) It is always the pictures that draw my attention when I was young and many books stand out in my memory due to the beautiful drawings.;)
Thank you so much for your recent comment and very kind lats visits, sorry it takes me while to let you know.;)
Have a lovely friday and a great weekend,

Rosie said...

They do look lovely books. I like the colours of the willow and poppy fairies - so pretty:)

Ash said...

Memories....I used to love looking at hese books with my daughter when she was was my excuse to buy them having a fairy-minded little girl. Maybe I too should just get them for myself now!! :0)

Strawberry Lane said...

How wonderfully charming.

Jane said...

Beautiful Rowan, thank you for reminding me. So glad your Spring is warming up at last and hope the Blackthorn doesn't bring another cold spell to you:)

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

I have always loved these charming nature drawings. I had no idea that they had been reissued, nor that there were so many volumes. I'll have to go looking. Beautiful!

Granny Sue said...

I love her work. Just exactly what fairies should look like!

Acornmoon said...

Many years ago my publisher (Blackie and Son Ltd) owned the rights to Flower Fairies. I remember sitting in one of the offices and admiring a lovely portrait of Cicely Mary. I also remember seeing her original artwork which is now very valuable. She was very gifted, her work has a timeless appeal.

Jenny Woolf said...

I fell in love with the Flower Fairies when I bought one of the original books in a jumble sale. My daughter loved them too and so I gradually collected them all, (all in old editions, which I prefer to the slightly gaudier new ones). It made me wish that artstudents today were taught to draw like people were in CM Barker's day. A lot of the pleasure for me is the beautiful representations of everything. I'm glad you have publicised these lovely books.