Echoes of the Garden

A Place in the World

Love, the Truth, and a Good Defense

Since ancient times, the Linden has been known as a tree of truth and peace.

Herodotus tells us that 

"The Scythian diviners take also the leaf of the lime-tree (linden), which, dividing into three parts, they twine round their fingers; they then unbind it and exercise the art to which they pretend.”

The Germanic peoples associated the tree with the Goddess Freya, and believed that lies could not be told under its boughs. Public gatherings and town meetings were often held beneath the branches of large linden trees.

Arthur Rackham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In Slovenia, the village linden still holds pride of place. The gazebos built in the canopy of larger specimens are beautiful.

Sir Herbert Maxwell, in his book Trees: A Woodland Notebook tells us

“The root meaning of the word is "smooth," referring to the texture of the timber, which caused it of old to be in great request for making shields, so that in Anglo-Saxon lind meant a shield, as well as being the name of the tree.”

These shields were found in the Thorsberg marsh and are dated to the 3rd century CE.

By Bullenwächter (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The wood is also excellent for making musical instruments due to its fine acoustical properties.

Many people are most familiar with this tree under the name of “basswood” and its wood can be found in most craft stores. It is of such a fine grain and is so easily worked that it is used by carvers and artists the world over.

By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The inner bark is used for making baskets, rope and cordage. The outer bark can be used to make shingles for a roof.

It seems that our Noble Interest is useful from top to bottom and well respected in the general community. I've learned a great deal this week about it. Did I forget anything? Have you held a social event under a linden? I would enjoy hearing about it in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!

Join me tomorrow for Tales of love and hospitality.

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About Me

About Me

My interest in plants started young. While most of my friends were playing with Barbie or dreaming of horses, I was out in the fields of our farm creating imaginary villages and caching collected seeds, roots and herbs against winter need. When I discovered the library and field guides, I realized that I had found my passion- the interaction between plants and people. While my caching habits have switched to saving more useful plants, some things don’t change. I still …
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