June is the sixth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. June was named in honour of the Roman goddess, Juno, the goddess of marriage. June is known for its large number of marriages, some consider it good luck to be married in this month.
June brings the longest hours of daylight, peaking at the summer solstice on the 21st.
The summer solstice is the time when the sun is in its glory. This is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. The word 'solstice' comes from the Latin 'sol' meaning sun and 'stice' to stand still. The actual date of the longest day occurs each year either on or within a few days either side of 21st June, but Midsummer is generally celebrated on the eve of the 21st. Summer solstice customs are also associated with a fixed date - June 24th the Midsummer’s Day. June 23rd is Midsummer’s Eve.
Also known as St John’s Eve. Midsummer Night is a time for celebration and ritual surrounding the power of the sun, fairies and spirits. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night ~ rue, roses, St.John's wort, vervain and trefoil. In Britain, it was once believed if you gathered fern seed at the stroke of midnight and rub it onto your eyelids it would make fairies visible!
In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a fire-festival of great importance when the burning of balefires ritually strengthened the sun. Balefires would be lit, traditionally using Sage as part of the fuel, from sunset the night before Midsummer until Sunset the next day. Rituals often take place around these fires.
The customs and traditions associated with Midsummer are many and varied. Wheels, representing the Sun, were traditionally set alight and sent flaming down steep hillsides at the Summer Solstice, this showing the decline of the Sun’s rays in the months to come. It was said that if the Wheel kept burning all the way down, there would be an abundant harvest, but if the fire went out, the crops would fail.
Stonehenge, an ancient stone circle in England, is the site of the most popular and important Midsummer Night stone circle celebration, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise.
June signals the beginning of a season of abundance. Fruits and veggies are bursting out!
Strawberries and Wimbledon go hand in hand. Look out for delicious strawberries at Pick-Your-Own farms, picking is great fun and the fruit will be at its freshest. You may even get a tractor ride down to the strawberry fields, something Scotty would enjoy. :)
Another berry that is quite nice right now is the Gooseberry. I love goosegogs! I remember as a little girl I would pick them from the bushes in our garden, then sit and 'top and tail' them ready for a delicious goosegog pie!
Many herbs are great now too. Mint is one of the most familiar which is known by every cook and grown by just about every gardener. There are many varieties of Mint. The the best all-rounder for most kitchen uses has to be Spearmint - wonderful used for mint sauce, or mint jelly.
Mints are easy to grow and looks attractive in the garden, it also returns every year to provide you with fresh leaves to add to new potatoes, fresh peas, and delicious mint sauce. Left to its own devices, mint will rapidly take over your garden! So, either put it where you don't mind its spreading tendency, or create a root barrier to keep it from spreading over your whole garden. Garden mints can also be added to hanging baskets and patio containers and looks wonderful in old chimney flues, for fragrance and beauty.
Many varieties of garden roses reach their peak in June, so it’s no surprise that June is known by some as the 'Rose month.'
The magic and romance of the rose are known to almost everyone.
The rose features in many flags and emblems around the world and is the national flower of England. The flower has been adopted as England’s emblem since the time of the Wars of the Roses – civil wars (1455 – 1485) between the royal house of Lancaster (whose emblem was a red rose) and the royal house of York (whose emblem was a white rose). Henry VII united the two roses into the Tudor rose (a red rose with a white center) when he married Elizabeth of York.
English maidens are referred to as 'English roses' and red roses are worn on St George's Day on the 23rd April each year. Roses were considered the most sacred flowers in ancient Egypt and were used as offerings for the Goddess Isis, goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility. Roses have for centuries been valued for their culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and aromatherapy properties.
EDIBLE ROSES ~ the Rugosa roses have large single flowers and are the most flavoursome petals of all the roses. On selecting petals from hybrid roses remember that only fragrant roses have flavoursome petals and that some can leave an aftertaste, so sample a petal before taking it into your kitchen. Ensure when harvesting petals that the whitish petal base is removed, as it is quite bitter. Rosewater and rose petal jam are common condiments made with fresh roses. Rose hip jelly and rose hip syrup may also be used in a variety of dishes. Sugared rose petals are really lovely and can be used to decorate cakes many cakes and pastries. Rose flavoured Turkish delight has been produced in Turkey since the 15th century and is known there as lokum.
The Dog Rose (Rosa canina) is a scrambling rose that is native to Europe. Widespread and common, growing in open fields, thickets, and woodland edges. A thorny plant with arching stems with hooked prickles, and large, soft pink, five-petalled flowers. The fruit ( rosehip) is a orange-red berry.
Wild roses are edible and medicinal. They are used in making jelly and jams and can also be dried to make a tea. Flower petals are great in salads adding a light flavour and beautiful colour.
During World War II, there was a shortage of citrus fruit in England, and the British government organized the harvesting of all the Rose Hips in England as a substitute for vitamin C. This illuminated the importance of Rose Hips as a superior source of the vitamin and began its worldwide popularity. Rose hips were the original rosary beads worn by Catholic priests.
The Full Moon is given a name each month representative of the season.
It is not uncommon for a particular moon to have multiple names. These special monthly names for the full moons go back to ancient cultures, who tied the full moons to hunting, weather, planting and harvesting cycles of the year.
To many the June Moon is known as the Strawberry Moon or Rose Moon ~ The first crop of strawberries is picked in June and roses are in full bloom in June.
The Celtic and Medieval Moon names for the June moon ~ Horse Moon, Dyan Moon, and 'Mead Moon.' The hives are full of honey. In ancient times, the honey was fermented and made into mead.
Native American Tribes June Moon ~ Planting Moon, Green Corn Moon.
The Chinese people have beautiful and ancient names for their Moons. Their June moon is known as the Lotus Moon.