Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Floral Friday

The first narcissus has flowered, very early.  Usually the snowdrops come first, but not this year.  The seasons are all mixed up these days.

“They miscontrue the time of year
it’s early for these to appear.”


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Yesterday was perfect weather for the Autumn Garden Show in the Botanic Gardens, and there were many interesting things to see.  I liked the nostalgia of Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men.  Didn’t see Little Weed.

Ben and Bill

Jenny Gillies’ floral creations were on show:

Fuschia and Poppy

Watering can and Iris

Many groups had displays, including the Christchurch Community Gardens’ Association

Christchurch Community Gardens’ Association

The Canterbury Horticultural Society had a stall where you could buy an attractive posy for just $5.  Next to them was this collection of teapots with teabag trees.

Teapots with teabag trees

“So much to see and all for free
some open air, some in marquee.”




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Floral Friday

The first cyclamen flower has emerged.  I love the way its petals unfurl.  This sign of spring is especially welcome as temperatures have been low this week.

In times past the cyclamen signified maternal love.  Perhaps that’s why potted versions are often on sale just before Mother’s Day.  I’ve read that the cyclamen, together with the columbine, was one of the flowers of choice for Leonardo Da Vinci at the beginning of the 16th century, and he covered the margins of his manuscripts with it.

In antiquity the cyclamen was recognised for its therapeutic virtues, due to the presence of cyclamine, a bitter substance with purgative powers.  Its root provides a basic remedy in homoeopathy for depression and feelings of guilt.  The roots which are enjoyed by pigs once earned the European cyclamen the nickname of ‘pig bread’ or ‘sow bread’.

The name cyclamen, which is identical in Latin and English, is transcribed from the Greek word kuklaminos, derived from kuklos, meaning “circle”.  It refers to the round and flattened shape of its tuber.  There may also be an allusion to the nicely curved shape that the flowers take.

“This flower unfolds all in a round
as it emerges from the ground.”

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Floral Friday

This Fairy Rose was planted in 2002, and continues to provide pretty flowers over a long period each summer.  It’s a shrub rose, first bred in 1932, is the ancestor of modern flower carpet roses, and is easy to care for.  Mine gets a good prune in July and no other attention except water if the weather is exceptionally dry.

“There’s absolutely nothing scary
about this easy care pink fairy.”

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Floral Friday

Just one late hollyhock is flowering now.  As the others died off I have spread their seeds, and there are tiny hollyhock plants in many spots.  I hope they will survive the winter and flower in spring.  In the meantime I’m enjoying this latecomer.

The ancient Egyptians made wreaths of hollyhock which were buried with mummies, indicating that in that culture, the plant had connotations with the circle of life, leading the dead into their new lives.  It’s likely the hollyhock came to Europe from the Middle East with crusaders returning from the holy wars, around the year 1500, and it quickly became a staple of mediaeval gardens.  During the Tudor era, hollyhocks were used to prevent miscarriages, by steeping the blooms in wine.  Difficult labours were soothed by ingesting hollyhock shoots, and babies used to chew on them to soothe the teething process.

“Just now there’s one lone hollyhock
next summer there could be a flock.”

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Floral Friday

This origanum plant is flowering profusely despite being almost smothered by mint and emerging bulbs.

Its name comes from the Greek oros a mountain, and ganao joy and thus means ‘joy of the mountains’.  Greek legend tells that Aphrodite, goddess of love, found the herb growing at the bottom of the ocean.  She took it to a mountain top to bring it close to the sun, and it became associated with warmth and love and the banishment of sorrow.

Aristotle reported that after catching snakes, turtles used to eat origanum, which led to the idea that origanum was an antidote against snake venom.  Greeks and Romans used to put it into bath water to deodorize, to stimulate the tired body, and to purify skin.  Apparently it’s a repellant for ants, as well as being a fundamental ingredient of traditional pizzas.

“If pizza you want to embellish
this herb will give it extra relish.’


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Floral Friday

These Japanese anemonies are elegant and colourful.

Also known as Windflowers they are an herbaceous perennial, a member of the buttercup family, and they prefer partial shade.  Several plants were given me by a friend some years ago, but only one survived, probably because they got too much sun.  This flower is actually a native of Hupeh province in eastern China, but it was grown in Japanese gardens for centuries, hence the confusion.  Robert Fortune (1812-1880) introduced it into Europe in 1844, having discovered it running between the tombstones in a Shanghai graveyard.

“It’s pink or white, but never lemony
the charming Japanese anemone.”

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