April 16th, 2018
Cast your mind back to the depths of your childhood. When things went bump in the night; when goblins were sure to hide under the bed and when the thick, dark woods were home to cackles of witches and armies of ghosts. When the wait for Santa Claus seemed half a lifetime, and losing a tooth was as exciting as waiting for the tooth fairy.
And who could forget the enchanting magic of the Flower Fairies? Hunting for fairies at the bottom of Grandma’s overgrown garden was a pastime that has entertained little girls since the very first book was published in 1923.
The characters were created by Cecily Mary Barker, who was born in Surrey, England in 1895. She was a frail and poorly child and often had to miss out on school lessons, so instead, she devoted her time to painting and drawing. Fairy stories were extremely popular in Victorian England, and by the time Barker’s first book Flower Fairies of the Spring was published in 1923, the reading public of a war torn Britain welcomed the heart warming and innocent tales.
All of the fairies were based on real children from the local school, where Cecily’s sister Dorothy was a nursery teacher. Barker created a whole fairy world, and an adorable cast of characters, including Rose, Zinnia and Buttercup. The tiny fairies live and sleep in a flower, and are dressed in delicate clothes made from their flower. As the flowers grow, so do the fairies and each fairy must make sure that their flower stays strong, watered and tidy.
The best time to see a flower fairy is on midsummer’s eve, when the fairies throw a ball to end all balls. As they all love music and dancing, they can party the night away. They are still difficult to spot however, because flower fairies are shy, and wary of humans, and they can disappear in an instant, with the help of magic fairy dust.
The Flower Fairies stories were a huge success with both adults and children alike. Cecily produced eight volumes in all, before her death in 1973, aged 77. Almost thirty years after her death in 2002, the books were reproduced, and new Flower Fairy stories have since been released to appeal to a new generation of girls’ imaginations.
So next time you’re out and about here in Snowdonia look very carefully into the depths of wild flowers, tall trees and overgrown hedgerows. You never know who you might find sleeping soundly in the cosy depths of a colourful flower, just waiting for a new home! Let the magic of the Flower Fairies capture your imagination and take you back to the sweet innocence of childhood.