The clusters of bright red berries on the Guelder Rose bushes at Gallows Hill look fantastic in today’s sunshine. Guelder refers to a province of the Netherlands, but it is in Slavic countries where this plant is really culturally prominent. In the Ukraine the plant is referred to in songs and poems, and features in decorative art – the berries symbolize one’s home, blood and family roots, but also on occasion beauty. It is also one of the national symbols of Russia, with the famous song Kalinka named after it (click on the link below). Each berry contains a single seed, which is distributed when eaten by birds – Bullfinches and Waxwings love them.
Photo by Neil Griffin