Perry's Perennial Pages

Garden of the Month,  July 2002

Well Dressings 

I find most are unfamiliar with this exquisite floral craft, art and tradition, pretty much unique to Derbyshire in central England.  Dating back to as early as 1350 and the Celtic traditions of blessing the wells, the association of most with religious themes dates to the revival of these in the early 19th century.  Several towns create these very perishable and temporary works of art, usually each June and July, and viewed only one or two weekends.  These panels, made of moist clay, have elaborate designs composed of 10,000 or so flower petals, seeds, pieces of bark, or other natural materials.  Each of the whole panels as shown below may be 8 feet high and 10 feet or so wide.  Individual close up photos, as above, may only be about one foot wide.  Notice you can even read the time on the church clock, made of various seeds.

For a quick overview, check out the Slide Show.

church and pond, panel, Tideswell

church and pond, closer

church, very close

pond, close

Bakewell scene

Youlgreave scene

Youlgreave design

Youlgreave, coat

Youlgreave, chariot

more details at a well dressing history site

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