Faire Garden’s Midsummer’s Night

The long awaited day has arrived. It is June twenty third, the eve of midsummer. For it is now that the sun embarks on the long descent into the darkness and cold of winter. While we consider solstice the “official” beginning of summer, it was not so in times of old. The calender then marked out summer from May 1st through August 1st — making solstice the midpoint, or Midsummer. Solstice marks our official beginning of summer, but it technically is the beginning of the end of summer. Let us think not about that now. This is the night of dancing, bonfires, and rituals of all sorts but we are focusing on the fairy celebrations believed to happen this very night. Hypericum, St. John’s Wort, shown above, is associated with this day for many reasons. In fairy lore, this plant was said to offer protection from the fae’s darker side, which could include the forced dancing of any human caught spying on magical parties until they passed out from exhaustion. Hmmm. One has memories, however distant, that this fate might have actually happened to us a couple of times. It was not blamed on the fairies though. And we had no hypericum in our going out bag.
Elf leaf is another name for lavender, used in elfin magic. It does suggest a wand with its shape. There is lots of this special plant grown in various beds here.
Elfin thyme, to carry on that theme is spreading well, making a comfortable cushion for dreaming of nice fairies tonight.
Manners are very important at all times, offerings of gifts is always seen as a friendly gesture for humans as well as wee ones. These fruits from the garden should please even the most finicky of palates.
Regular readers may know that we follow an early to bed, early to rise rhythm. Just in case we fall alseep too soon to witness any magical moments during the midnight hour, we have asked Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo to also set up shop in the fairy garden area. They willingly agreed and have decorated themselves in proper head gear, ox eye daisy chains, for the occasion. They don’t get to attend many festivals, being sentinels of the plants and flowers here, and rejoice at the thought of revelry and refreshments. The happy couple is resting in a bed of thyme and claim to be experienced fairy watchers. Whew, that is a relief to know there is quality back up in this important endeavor.
The rock with the hole all the way through that we found at the beach recently is ready, along with an intact horseshoe that was dug up while planting the vegetable garden. Luck all around.
Mrs. Bongo Congo, she is the brains, Mr. B-C is the brawn, has set up the lucky holey rock so she can see clearly through the aperture. She claims to know her way around the Canon PowerShot A720 too. Good deal, maybe she can give me some pointers.
Bonfires have an important place in the traditions on this night. Fires were lit across the land, to mimic the brightness of the sun. People jumped over the blazing fires in hopes of long life, long love and any other powers such an act might bestow. Previously we had set up a blue bowl with water for swimming, but now realize that the fire pit needs to be ready. We added a lavender wand for fragrance to the wood pile. When the Faire Garden clan meets here for the yearly day after Thanksgiving fiesta, our after dinner fire bowl has herb bundles tossed in from the offspring’s offspring while making a wish. The fairy babies might enjoy doing that as well.
Darkness creeps across the land. The hour is drawing near for magical and mystical goings on.

The clouds are gathering, not for rain, but for mirth.

What is in this shot? It was taken just after the first one, but this time there are two little white dots in the sky. Honestly, as shown by the poor attempts at arrow drawing, these bits of light were not manually added with fancy computer technology. The talent for that is sadly, but honestly lacking here. Could this be the first of the out of staters flying in? It has been rumored that some Austin delegates might show up to teach the local Tennessee fae some new tricks. All are welcome, from every locale. Come one, come all, we have been waiting for you!

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.”

Peter, act 1, Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie

It is really getting dark now. We had best all take our places, hidden but able to peek out from our leafy shelters.

The fairy gazebo is looking sort of eerie. That thyme smells so yummy, it is making me sleepy. It is well after my bedtime………….

Oh my, it is morning already. Where did the night go? We had better investigate the scene for evidence.

But we mustn’t forget to gather the morning dew before any of it evaporates.
Midsummer day’s morning dew has been collected over the ages from leaves and flowers for its magical healing properties. Before the sunrise people dragged sheets across the fields, collecting dew, which was then used for healing.

It is difficult to collect morning dew during a drought. There has to be some moisture present in the soil and foliage, and we have very little. There will be no sheet dragging, more like cotton ball dabbing, to collect the precious liquid.

What’s this? Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo look like they had an exciting night.
There appears to be some sort of glittery substance around and about.

The remains of a fire with little Verna Birdfoot moved from inside the gazebo to the ring of stones lining the firepit is noticed. There is more of the glittery stuff here also.

Goodness, who is sleeping in the moss at the feet of the maidenhair fern in this trough planter?

And who is resting on the bench in the fairy gazebo in the shot taken by Mrs. Bongo Congo? (Click to enlarge and see for yourself).

“Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:It fell upon a little western flower,Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound, —And maidens call it love-in-idleness.”

Oberon, scene i A Midsummernight’s Dream by William Shakespeare

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
Puck, final act A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Many thanks to you faithful readers for following this little saga. Much has been learned about this magical date and the celebrations that have been practiced for centuries in all parts of the world involving the sun, the night, and creatures real and mythical. The days will become shorter, the light’s angle will soften, and we will remember well the events described here, real and imagined.
post script: The Shakespeare letter opener shown above belonged to my dear departed Aunt Elizabeth, my mother’s sister. Although childless, she was beloved by many for her inspired teaching of English Literature at Norman (Oklahoma) High School for most of her adult life. She was given many gifts pertaining to Shakespeare by her students, including this statue of his form as the handle of a letter opener that is one of my personal treasures.

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42 Responses to Faire Garden’s Midsummer’s Night

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances I will be having fairies dancing in my head all day. What a delightful post.

  2. tina says:

    Much has been learned and great storyteller you are! Your aunt would be proud.

  3. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Absolutely enchanting! I’ve waited for days for this post. 🙂 Your preparations were delightful, as are your photos. (I especially like the photo of your garden in the approaching dusk! Magical!) I’m sure the fairies had a wonderful night.

  4. Rose says:

    Frances, I have been looking forward to this post for weeks, and you did not disappoint! I was spirited away into a magical daydream while reading. Too bad you fell asleep and missed the festivities; perhaps someone sprinkled pixie dust over you? 🙂

    Love that letter opener; it is indeed a treasure. It reminded me, I wonder if Queen Mab attended the party?

  5. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    What a fun post! I love the evening photos of your garden. They are so atmospheric. There are too many mosquitos here now for me or fairies to linger in the garden at twilight.

  6. Brenda Kula says:

    Oh, I loved every word! Where did you learn all this interesting lore? Such a beguiling tale. And guess what? Both my daughters graduated from Norman, Oklahoma High School! That is where I was first married and had my kids. Went to college myself at OU. I absolutely didn’t know where fairies came from. I’m so glad to know it’s from the essence of innocence!
    xoxo, Brenda

  7. Skeeter says:

    Wonderful Post!!!
    I will be in dream land all day today!

  8. Jean says:

    This has been such a great saga and I thank you for all the work that went into it.

    Like daughter, like mother, LOL…you did your aunt proud!!! She is looking down with a big smile.

  9. Gail says:

    Frances, you are a delight! It bears repeating…your children and grandchildren were/are surely fortunate to have you tell them bedtime stories!
    You never disappoint and always inspire.

  10. Frances, says:

    Thanks, Lisa, there are worse things to be dancing in one’s head than fairies.

    Hi Tina, thanks so much. She was my only aunt, my immediate family was very small, and we were close.

    Nancy J., such kind words make my heart smile, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed the story.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I am happy you were not disappointed after waiting so long. Thanks for hanging in until the big finale. Queen Mab must have been there, for my dreams have been bordering bizarre recently. ;->

    Hi MMD, thanks. Like myself, the fairies probably always wear long sleeves and long pants in the garden, no matter the temps. The evening photos were fun for me, never sure how they will turn out until they get loaded.

  11. Frances, says:

    Oh Brenda, how wonderful to find a connection to my aunt. She would have been long gone when your daughters attended, she passed away in 1983, the year after retiring from teaching, much too soon. Google searches turn up the most interesting things. I tried lots of different wordings on the searches and enjoyed learning. There was more written on this subject than you could imagine, from lots of different angles. Thanks for reading.

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. Dreamland is a good place to spend a day!

    Hi Jean, thanks for the kind words. There was some effort put into this post, more than most in fact. I always wanted to please my aunt when writing. We corresponded from the time I could hold a pencil, we lived in Tulsa, about an hour and a half away from Norman. We kept in touch through all my moves until her death in 1983.

    Why Gail, how kind of you to say such things. I have always been a big talker, in school the teacher called me motor mouth. ;->

  12. Lisa in CA says:

    Frances, this was truly a delightful post. Thank you for sharing a bit of your gardens Fairy Magic with us.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This was the masterpiece of all your pictorial-story posts. There is no comparison; you brought magical mysteries, and the enjoyment of them to a new level. I learned from it and was engrossed by it.

    My favorite photo was the daisy headressed couple. My favorite read was about Great Aunt Elizabeth. I sure do remember her garden. We used her flowers to color with.

    Much Love,

  14. Titania says:

    Hi Frances, You have posted a very enchanting saga. I loved and enjoyed every bit of it and I am sure you did too while having the fun to concoct the story. The fairies must have had a splendid time while the words still linger on.

  15. garden girl says:

    Frances, what a fanciful and enchanting post! The evening photos are wonderfully atmospheric.

    DH and I were experimenting this weekend with taking late evening garden shots. At dusk and even after dark is a wonderful time to capture some really interesting photos. Loved this post.

    I stopped at home for lunch between clients, and now I’m off to finish my work day in a garden that is perfect for fairies, and to have a conversation with the very protective house wren who’s nesting in one of the birdhouses there. She scolds me the whole time I’m there in spite of my periodic reassurances that I won’t bother her babies.

  16. DP Nguyen says:

    What an amusing post! I laughed and enjoyed experiencing the beginning of summer!!!

  17. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa in CA, thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed our trip into fairyland. Do come again!

    My dear Chickenpoet, I’m so glad you remember her. She had the gift of being able to teach something that she passionately loved and spark that passion in her students. The outpouring at her funeral of former students was something that will always stay with me. Thanks for the kind words, my dear one. love.

    Oh Queen Titania, that is wonderful praise, thank you so much.

    Hi Linda, so happy you enjoyed this post. There is a lot to learn about my camera, reading the manual would help, wouldn’t it? But fooling around with the settings at night can give some fun results. Hope you and Mrs. Wren come to an understanding. I tell the birds who chatter at me that I am their best friend in this garden, doing my utmost to protect them.

    Thanks, DP. Bringing a laugh is the highest compliment.

  18. Annie in Austin says:

    If my name were really Gossamer Moonshimmer, I’d be resting my wings at Faire Garden right now, Frances, where people know how to celebrate and there’s sparkly stuff and soft mossy beds.

    My Midsummer’s Eve was a bummer…Philo and I need to watch some version of the play tonight… with some mead, perhaps?

    Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo are an absolute hoot.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  19. Pam/Digging says:

    What a fun midsummer’s night fantasy, Frances. Celebrating the solstice seems a more popular activity for northern and eastern gardeners than for any southern gardeners I know. Or so it seems from the blog reading I’ve been doing. Maybe because we’re just hunkered down at this point, waiting for fall.

  20. brokenbeat says:

    we whispered in the dark as the wind whistled through the trees. felt the power of something special building force in the rustling leaves. in one maple branch fireflies formed a circle with their light, flashing in unison to show a fairy’s form in the night. from the branch she descended, her wings lit like dancing fire, and she perched herself on a toadstool holding in her arm a silver lyre. we held our breath and looked on as willingly she played for us a tune of gentle harmony. we were delightfully subdued to be graced as such that we bowed until the ground our noses touched. with a glowing smile she returned the grateful jesture then bounded off into the fold in hopes of more adventure. i turned to grinning wife and we both began to cry. we hugged and calmly gazed up at the midnight sky. a tear rolled off wife’s chin to fall softly on some thyme and from where the drop had landed the herb seemed to come to life. it first sprouted slender stalks from its fragrant mound which quickly budded with sparkling flowers that spread along the ground. our ankles were surrounded with puple wands of thyme and we knelt to smell then picked a stalk not knowing what we’d find. as we raised the flower wand it didn’t come up to easy for attached to it at its root was a friendly looking fairy. while giggling he tapped my nose and pixie dust covered my face. i sneezed something fierce and he laughed and flew away. then wife sneezed, then me again, the fairies all in stitches. one laughing so hard he popped a button on his britches.

    okay, okay. i have to stop, otherwise this comment would be beyond reasonable length, if it’s not already. thank you, mom, for allowing my imagination to wander. you are brilliant and you should know that. much love.

  21. Frances, says:

    Dear Annie, I am so sorry about your bumness and wish you could flutter your wings up here. But it is only slightly cooler here, mid nineties and a terrible drought, the plants are looking droopy even with lots of hand watering. It just isn’t enough. Mead sounds like the answer. Cheers!

    Hi Pam, I do remember the hunkering when we were in Houston. All gardening activity was done at daybreak, still sweating like in a sauna. It is hot here, but the fairies and gardener have acclimated to it, seeking shade during the hottest part of the day. Thanks for the kind words. I don’t really know about regions where the solstice is celebrated more, but Europe seems to be very into it.

    Mister Brokenbeat, you are a joy. love.

  22. Crafty Gardener says:

    Frances, this is an amazing post. I love the build up to the anticipation of seeing the fairies, and the photos showing all the lovely things in the garden at different times. I’ve been waiting for your post about midsummer night and the arrival of the fairies and I wasn’t disappointed. If really loved the part Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo played. Well done!

  23. Frances, says:

    Hi Crafty, thanks. So glad your wait was not for naught. We want to thank Mr and Mrs Bongo Congo for their participation, we couldn’t have done it without them. ;->

  24. Lola says:

    Magnificent post. I was lost in Fairy Land with wonderment of a child. Waiting for the next event. Truly you are a blessed story teller. I really enjoyed the pics also

  25. chuck b. says:

    What a night, eh! I wish fairies would visit my garden too, instead of raccoons.

    Love the daisy chains.

  26. Frances, says:

    Hi Lola, thanks for those glowing words. I’m glad you returned to childhood, we all need more of that.

    Hi Chuck, so sorry about your raccoons. We are having a serious vole problem at the moment. But word has it that the contents of the cat litter box put into the tunnels will be a deterrence. We have a good supply of that stuff. Wish there was something that would work for your critters. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    Dear Frances, I loved it!! Thanks for all your hard work. Mrs. B-C doesn’t need to teach you lessons. Your photos were great.~~Dee

  28. Jan says:

    Frances, you are so clever. I have enjoyed your fairy postings so much. This was a charming tale.

    Always Growing

  29. Christopher C. NC says:

    If I had been paying more attention, maybe I would have danced naked around a bonfire last night with the accumulating rubbish pile.

    The haku leis on the Bongo Congo’s were very nice to see.

  30. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    What a lovely post, Frances! Ah… the stores that the Mister and the Missus must have after such a delightful (and apparently exhausting) evening!

  31. The Giraffe Head Tree says:

    Enchanting, Frances. I always learn something when I visit here. Beautiful photos and post.

  32. Frances, says:

    Hi Dee, thanks so much. I have done something to my camera trying to figure out the self timer thingy. The photos just aren’t as clear as they were earlier this year. Or is it the quality of the light? I have tried everything I know, except reading the manual of course.

    Hi Jan, Thanks. Glad you enjoyed them, it was fun putting it together, more effort than most of the posts too. Thank goodness for Mr and Mrs B-C.

    Yes, Christopher to naked bonfire dancing. Thanks for stopping by.

    Hi Kim, thanks. Mr and Mrs B-C are a pretty interesting couple. They do have lots of stories to tell. Maybe someday they will do a guest posting. ;->

    Hi Deb, thanks for visiting. So happy you learned something new too, always a good thing.

  33. Catherine says:

    A lovely post Frances!! So many beautiful pic’s, and an enchanting story to go along with them! 🙂 I love the first shot of the St. John’s wort…beautiful!!

  34. Noella says:

    What a delightful journey I have just been on through a night in your garden!

    I love your photo of St John’s Wort – I have never seen a picture of it before. It’s kind of special.

  35. Frances, says:

    Hi Catherine, thanks for the kind words. So glad you enjoyed the trip.

    Hi Noella, thanks for stopping by. The hypericum, St. John’s Wort is doing well in our drought ridden garden. This is the best year we have ever had for blooms and berries.

  36. Karen Hall says:

    I have just dropped by to read this post again – as it was so great – that it needs reading more than once!
    Frances – you have put so much work into the lead up to Midsummer’s night and into the event itself.
    I am sure the Fairies had the best time ever – and so did we, following your story.
    Warm regards

  37. Frances, says:

    How kind of you, Karen, thanks so much. We did spend more time on this post than most, but it was fun and a truly deserving subject, those sweet fairies in the garden. I appreciate the compliment, especially coming from you.

  38. You are having TOO much fun!! 😉 Perhaps there are too many rainy days?? At least, that’s what I’m thinking around here! Thanks for this fun saga, Frances. (However, I was wondering if perhaps it was leading towards the inception or conception of a baby B.C. ! LOL

    Hi Shady, thanks. You are right about a baby Bongo Congo. See this post:



  39. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    This was a most special posting……fairies, flowers and sprinkled magic dust?! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your gardens are lovely….I might just fly over to meet you.

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