Chirnside writer’s words flourish again

THE words of a noted Chirnside writer have been brought back to life thanks to a Borders man with a shared passion for flowers.

‘The Wildflowers of a Berwickshire Bard’ has just been published by the Berwickshire Naturalists Club and will bring the poems of George Henderson, who passed away in 1864, to a whole new audience.

Henderson lived in Berwickshire at a time when smallholdings, common land and wetland were giving way to large farms with the new steel ploughs and with money for drainage schemes.

Henderson and his family were caught up in the pain of this transition which involved the ‘Lowland Clearances’, something which affected wildflowers just as harshly as the people on the land.

It was the way George Henderson described the drama of this period which impressed the man responsible for the new book, Hawick’s Michael Braithwaite.

He commented: “When I read George Henderson’s poems for the first time they made a deep impression on me, especially for the love he lavishes on the wildflowers that I cherish so much.

“So during, the winter snows, I researched their background and traced prose writing by Henderson that complements the poetry.

“I have chosen extracts from his poems and notebooks to illustrate the different landscape elements of Berwickshire and their wildflowers and have sought to interpret what he writes from my own viewpoint to try and help people share the passion of a botanist.”