21 Feb 2017

Flower Face – Blodeuwedd

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Bruce Langridge (Head of Interpretation) has asked me to write a blog for the Garden – not sure if he knows what he has let out of the box. I thought I should start by introducing myself; my name is Cyndi Andrews and I live in a nearby local village.

I have been volunteering here in the Garden for over 10 years mainly in the Marketing Office. I feel I should point out that I am not an expert in any field –pun intended- and any mistakes that may be made are mine and not the Garden’s.

The aim of this blog is to find out alternative, colloquial names, and /or stories of the ‘blog subject’ especially any Welsh element; well we are the ‘Garden of Wales’!  Hopefully, someone other than my husband will read this blog as I need your help, so please feel free to comment in the box below. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Flower Face- Blodeuwedd

There are many places that I love in the Garden one of which is ‘Fairy Woods’. Wandering through the woods you can see fairy doors in the tree trunks, their toadstool houses and even the remnants of a fairy tea party. I think I even saw a fairy once, hidden in the dell which reminded me of Blodeuwedd.

Blodeuwedd is one of the many tales to be found in the Mabinogion. The Mabinogion is a collection of ancient Welsh legends, myths and tales.

Blodeuwedd was created by the relatives of Llew, the son of Arianrhod. Arianrhod had decreed that Llew could not marry a mortal woman; if he didn’t marry then he couldn’t own the land to which he was entitled.  The Magicians, Math and Gwydion created a beautiful woman from nine flowers amongst which were Oak, Broom, Primrose and Meadowsweet. They called their creation ‘Blodeuwedd’ meaning ‘Flower face’.  Blodeuwedd is also the ancient name for the Owl into which she was turned, after betraying her husband, Llew.

Blodeuwedd is considered by some to be the Welsh Goddess of Spring bringing warmth and new life, in the form of flowers, after the cold and barrenness of winter.

Flowers are the symbol of Blodeuwedd; they demonstrate their beauty when they blossom and their resilience when they flower again in the springtime. I feel the plants throughout the Botanic Garden of Wales display in its own way the beauty, the strength and the determination – sometimes with a little coaxing from Horti – of the plant world from which Blodeuwedd was created.

The spirit of Blodeuwedd can be found in the in the Garden of Wales and although the ‘fairy’ that I saw in Fairy Woods has flown away for the winter she is now emerging wearing her Snowdrop costume heralding once again the return of Spring. Why not send her a letter or a picture that you have drawn and post it in the fairy post box in Fairy Woods?

You see there really are fairies at the bottom of the Garden and if you are quick you might catch sight of her in the Great Glasshouse.