The name of this delicious flower is derived from the Greek helios, ‘the sun’, and
Purple: Please Forgive Me
Classical legend tells us that the hyacinth took its name from Hyacinthus, a beautiful youth with whom Apollo was besotted. But during a game of discus-throwing, the god accidentally struck Hyacinthus on the forehead and he fell to the ground, fatally wounded. His drops of blood were turned into hyacinths, the drooping nature of their flowers echoing his bowed head as he stooped in agony. It is said that the hyacinths were purple, and so that color’s emblem echoes forever Apollo’s tragic mistake.
A glimpse of the larkspur cannot fail to lift the spirit: it has a delicate and playful appearance with its bright, summery flowers and carries an irresistible air of frivolity. Its name invokes one of the loveliest of songbirds, and again the heart is lifted in the recollection of that bird’s joyful and seemingly never-ending melody.
It owes its name to the shape of its seed pod, which has been likened to a lark’s foot. It was once said to be beneficial for the eyes, and bathing them in the distilled water of the flowers was held to sharpen and strengthen the sight.
The larkspur is the quintessential cottage garden flower and was regularly included in the flower garden paintings that became so popular in the last half of the nineteenth century. These soft and gentle images of cottage scenes and country lanes portrayed the rural floral idyll in soft focus. In Helen Allingham’s Girl Outside a Cottage, a cluster of blue larkspur grows by the path. The painting shows a young girl just turning out of the cottage gate; roses encircle the door, ivy scrambles over the cottage walls. Country flowers and herbs were grown not only for picturesque and for medicinal purposes but also to hide the shabbiness of the dwellings.
In summer, lavender is utterly enchanting: a haze of purple shimmering in the heat, bees in a frenzy to partake of its sweet delights before the sun goes down; it is a glorious vision not to be missed. But centuries ago, when it grew only in hot climes, it was the belief in those countries that the asp made lavender its place of abode. For this