Hedge Bindweed or Wild Morning Glory

However one refers to this flower, it’s certainly a lovely feature of fence rows, fallow fields, vacant city lots. I’ve seen it in different sizes, apparently varied varieties, from tiny and bluish to large and shaded or lined with pinkish hues.

I encountered this one on a late summer walk. Had to share this simple and casual, yet beautiful and inspiring, blossom. Hedge bindweed as a title doesn’t really do this one justice. It seems quite glorious. Since I’m not a professional botanist, I suppose I may call it what seems appropriate.

Geraniums – The Flower that Makes Us Think of Home

A clay pot filled with pretty, cheerful geraniums symbolizes home to many of us.

Geraniums seem American to me, but The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles says they are found all over the world.

I always think of them as the most domestic of plants, their bright blooms that last all year cheering family and visitors from their spots on indoor tables and windowsills, in pots on doorsteps, or nestled in flowerbeds.

Sheila Pickles associates them with the Mediterranean “where they tumble out of terracotta pots and down painted stone walls, the very color of them creating a festive mood.”

Most people purchase fresh geranium plants each spring, but I have saved the roots over winter, hung them upside down in a cool place, and replanted them the following spring. I’ve also over-wintered them as houseplants, back when I had the space.

New plants can be started from cuttings too, if one has time to do so.

They’re generally carefree and easy to grow, and reward us well with their mood lifting color, whether we select traditional scarlet red, or the myriad pinks and whites available in today’s garden centers.

Buttercups Bring Memories of Earlier Days

Buttercups are symbols of childishness and ingratitude according to The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles.

I don’t get the ingratitude part, but they do remind me of being a child, of finding true delight, amazement, boundless energy to explore woods and fields when spring pulls back the curtain of winter clouds, revealing a world of green and gold, the color of buttercups.

I remember when I first discovered these flowers, when I was about ten, hiding in a low spot in the field behind our house. I visited them there each spring, then one year transplanted some to the northwest corner of our house, where they grew reliably for years.

I also recall a kid’s book I probably still have in the depths of a closet, I think the title was Around and About Buttercup Farm.

It is said that buttercup juice blisters the skin but that it’s also been used as a remedy to cure gout and rheumatism, and, as a tincuture, to cure shingles and sciatica. (Don’t try any of those cures at home, or anywhere.)

This verse by Thomas Campbell (1774-1844) takes me back to childhood springs:

Field Flowers

By Thomas Campbell

 Ye field flowers! The gardens eclipse you, ‘tis true:

Yet, wildlings of nature! I dote upon you,

For ye waft me to summers of old,

When the earth teemed around me with fairy delight,

And when daisies and buttercups gladdened my sight

Like treasure of silver and gold.

 

 

 

 

Lilacs – Flowers of Love and Death

Lilacs are said to symbolize first emotions of love. But white lilacs have dual associations of youthful innocence and also death.

Supposedly a white lilac will refuse to bloom if another lilac in the garden is cut down. Some say it’s bad luck to bring a white lilac into the house.

I don’t know about those concepts, but to me lilacs symbolize the fairest time of year – early to mid-May, and Mother’s Day. I recall picking a bouquet many years during young adulthood, as a gift for my mother on that holiday.

Their sweet scent was a welcome perfume in the kitchen where the purple – and yes, we had white ones too— blooms ruled the dining table for days.

The lovely photo is from Sheila Pickles’ The Complete Language of Flowers.

 

 

 

 

The Library is Closed But Flowers Still Bloom

Love the lemon yellow daffodil against the sizzling pink creeping phlox.

This library flowerbed used to be more extensive but at least some of the plants still bloom as I sit in my outdoor “car” cubicle. I enjoy working outside but can’t wait to pick up new books when someday the building opens.

Ohio is supposed to begin opening businesses the first of May. Though I questioned the closings initially, now I believe we should all stay separated a bit longer to quell COVID-19 and prevent huge spikes of cases in the future.

The BBC praised Ohio Governor DeWine for reacting to the crisis while others waited, but now I feel he’s jumping the gun, falling to political pressure.

Who would think politics would enter into suppression of a pandemic, but sadly that seems to be the case.

At least the sight of these flowers is renewing my optimism, on this dreary drizzly April day.

Crown Imperial – Ruler and Protector of Spring Flower Beds

Sheila Pickles, author of The Complete Language of Flowers, describes this as the most majestic of flowers. Indeed when I first saw it in a bulb catalog decades ago, I was most impressed.

I was determined to order one but never have. It is said to give off a noxious scent. Perhaps that’s why it’s reported to protect bulb beds from rodent damage.

Ms. Pickles says it “looks down on all the surrounding flowers, as a king may look down on his subjects,” thus it’s highly appropriate name.

Forgotten Daffodils Bring Inspiration

There’s a longer post about this: on LinkedIn.

I’m finding I must remind myself of simple pleasures I’ve often skipped over in recent years in order to lessen stress.

During these days of crisis, a simple walk outside can be a wonderful way to raise spirits and build the sustenance necessary for enduring the “new normal” for as long as we must to minimize future risk from this virus.

A tour of the lawn revealed these daffodils, surviving through my recent neglect of the flowerbeds which used to bring me so much pleasure.

I’d forgotten the lovely light fragrance of these delicate blooms. They are now decorating the peak of a bookcase, scenting the air  nicely though I only brought in these three blooms.

A Great Day for a Forsythia Bouquet

But I don’t have a bush of my own so I’ll just enjoy the ones I see on the way to work and this lovely bouquet on the cover of The Vermont Country Store catalog.

L. L. Bean used to have beautiful seasonally appropriate catalog covers, but alas, they’ve let me down in recent years. The emporium from The Green Mountain State thankfully still adheres to tradition.

These graceful stems, loaded with bright yellow flowers are a lovely complement to the cobalt blue glassware. The arrangement is reminiscent of spring skies of azure and gold.

P.S. Oops, the photo showed the flowers properly centered in the frame. Don’t know why the software changed the angle. No time to fix at this moment, but will try when time is available!

Book Review of The Complete Language of Flowers By Sheila Pickles

I do love the British- At least their whimsical attitude toward gardening and home life.

This book is like a lovely museum devoted to flower lore and Renaissance and 19th Century paintings – of long ago scenes of children and adults, seemingly intoxicated by the pleasure of languishing in verdant settings filled with color and greenery.

Author Sheila Pickle should be commended for recording in such a wonderful way, the traditional symbolism and tradition of classic flower species.

I shall have to seek out her other works, including, The Essence of English Life, and Simply Christmas 

I plan to include posts referencing The Complete Language of Flowers over the next few months, with full credit to the book and its author.

If you love gardens and nature, if you long for the days when spare time on fair season days was spent, not with eyes glued to a screen, but lazing in the sunshine reflecting upon the symbolic essence of flowering plants, you must seek a copy of this book.

A first rate escape from stress.

 

A Few of My Favorite Cottage Flowers

Dianthus, euphorbia and verbena make an adorable display in this pot. I try to keep  outdoor flowers watered through September.

Our flowers this year have bloomed better in late summer than in June when they received excessive daily drenchings from Mother Nature.