June

June is my favourite month, and the month with the longest hours of daylight in our calendar year. I think the reason I have loved June so much is because it is my birthday month and, as a child, I awaited with bated breath for the month to come around. Accessing the outdoors with the longer hours of daylight has played such a great part in our lives recently, and being able to get into the garden with June’s blooming plants and the birds so busy before their moult has meant a lot to me. I have never been one for dark winter nights, even if you do have a blazing fire and its warmth! Just a personal opinion!

A photograph of Caroline's Father's garden in Lichfield in 1986.

On looking up about June, I found it an interesting month. The June birth flowers are roses and honeysuckle – beautiful plants, and the aroma from both can be heady and invigorating (especially after a shower of rain). My father grew both these plants up an old factory wall at home in Lichfield, and I loved to stand and soak in the fragrances of both as the sun began to set on a warm June evening. We even had a song thrush nest in our honeysuckle – beautifully camouflaged – what a lovely way to bring up a brood, surrounded by this aroma. If my father was in the garden (which was often!), people who walked by on the pavement would stop and admire the aroma and the beauty of these rambling plants.

June is supposedly named after Juno, the goddess of marriage. It is also thought to be named after ‘Iunius’ (Juno) or ‘iuniores’ meaning ‘young ones’. In the early Roman calendar, June had 29 days, but Julius Caesar gave it an extra day!

“It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents the noses”
N.P. Willis (1807-1867)

On looking up the days of June and what is celebrated, there are some fascinating ones. I know many of you are ‘cat lovers’, so June 4th is designated as Hug Your Cat Day! June 7th is given as National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, and June 8th is Best Friend Day. June 13th is Weed Your Garden Day, with June 14th being Flag Day (as, in 1777, the famous Stars and Stripes of the United States of America was officially adopted). June 16th is Fresh Veggie Day, whilst June 20th is classed as the First Day of Summer! On June 29th you should be out snapping photos as it is National Camera Day and, of course, June 20th or 21st is the Summer Solstice. Somewhere in there is Fathers’ Day, and June 24th is also Midsummer Day – so called as it is the date midpoint between planting and harvesting. So, you have lots to get out there and celebrate!

June is mentioned in Shakespeare twice – in ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ and in ‘Henry IV Part 1’. As a final footnote, June is also a girl’s name. It was common in the 1920’s and onward, but fell out of popularity in the 1980’s. Happy sunny June, whenever you read this!

Caroline

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