Posted – Friday 17th March 2017. To serve as an update on my sweet – and purely innocent – Belladonna Babe.
I’m feeling excited as we race forward to the Spring Equinox; with longer, warmer days ahead and the promise of late-night walks in the dimsy. I’m sniffing wafts of warm, heady scented summer breezes and I’m feeling intoxicated already – for three reasons!
My Belladonna Babe has survived her Winter sleep and now she is pushing forth also – growing noticeably bigger everyday that passes. She is so beautiful and green – and lush – and will soon need replanting especially as she has sprouted two small ‘off-shoots’ – or sisters as I like to think of them. Together they have just about outgrown the confines of their small clay pot. Daily, I will them to grow more strong – more powerful. “Grow, grow, grow…” I whisper sweetly to them.
The tallest and strongest sister is growing well-away – but her diminutive siblings have catching up to do – and need their own independent space to thrive. I feel now is the time to separate them and to further encourage them – I have given then individual names.
For inspiration – I turned to an ancestral photograph that hangs on my parlour wall. The canvas is positioned high up over some french-doors – and because this is a Victorian house with high ceilings – the three sisters benevolently smile down at me from their elevated position up in ‘the gods’ – where spiders weave their clinging webs about them.
The Sisters have such kind, familiar faces – I feel like I have known them all my life; this side and next – and back through the mysterious tunnel of time from whence I came. Collectively I call them ‘The Three Graces’ – individually they are from left to right – Jane, Mary and Margaret – and they were all born in the ancient stannary town of Tavistock in West Devon – on the edge of Dartmoor.
It was only on a recent trip to my birth-land – following my father’s death in January – that I rediscovered their beautiful faces. I can’t thank my inspiring cousin adequately enough in three ‘simple’ words for having shared them with me but here they are – “THANK YOU SHARON!”
For me – the three sisters represent my faith and belief in the unseen – therein connection with my deceased father and so on and so forth…
I adore everything about the composition of the photograph – the angle of light – the dry-stone wall overgrown with ivy – and I especially admire their long, black garments. Their embroidered waistcoats, pin-tucked blouses and their hair so elegantly pinned atop their smiling heads. I feel like they have come home – or is that me! It’s only a cheap, modern canvas picture but it works like a mirror.
You may well ask why I should wish to name three potentially lethal plants after three such benevolent beings?
Well, It is my argument – for example – that a length of string or a knife have the potential to do harm also, but for most people they are simply useful tools that we handle throughout our daily lives.
Even when choosing a nice new shiny car – people are drawn by the aesthetics and performance – yet they are buying something that has the capacity for destruction also. No one bats an eyelid at the availability and procurement of these three things. Although I concede – that Deadly Nightshade can’t be compared to mere objects because it is a living, breathing entity – its potential for use or misuse are no different. From the time of the Romans – Belladonna was used to open eyes and enable clear vision. Although it is rarely used for this purpose today – metaphorically it still dose the trick in my eyes!
Atropa belladonna is a magical, all-seeing plant; she is good at listening and keeping secrets too.
Nowadays – her medicine, Atropine – is good for an ailing heart – so what better endorsement can there ever be for it’s broader cultivation than that.
For my purposes – its cultivation is purely for its inherent, natural beauty; it is as innocent and as beneficial – and as powerful as that! Mary and Margaret are my chosen names for my tiny specimens – but the tallest and strongest – has to be Jane.
P.S. I have notified my grown-up sons that while their three infant sisters are residing in their small clay pot on my kitchen window sill – it is not to be mistaken for Basil or the like…
Bravo Sweet Belladonna! May you grow more lovely with each and every day that follows. Keep you posted . . .