This is ones of my favorite flowers part 2
The chrysanthemum is an ancient and elegant flower, cultivated for over two thousand years in its native East. The Japanese, who have made it the emblem of their emperor, consider the orderly unfolding of its petals to be symbolic of perfection. In August the blooms appear in great numbers, reflecting the ripeness of the season, the summer’s work brought to fruition. The essence of the flower is unraveled just as truth is so often revealed: at first hidden, then brought into the light.
Despite its long and illustrious pedigree, the chrysanthemum did not arrive in Britain until the end of the eighteenth century, when seeds and plants were brought back from China by the ships of the East India Company. By the mid-nineteenth century, at least twenty-four varieties were being grown, and its range of forms – pompom, streaked, ragged, flamboyant or prim – and immense palette of colors, from crisp white to burnt umber, made it a favorite Victorian flower.
The cypress is a sad and melancholy tree, tall and tapering, reaching up into a dark sky. Its dense evergreen foliage permits no light, and as the sun sets the tree casts long shadows upon the ground like strange phantoms. Its name derives from the ancient Greek tale of Cyparissus, a young boy whose favorite companion was a tame stag. When Cyparissus accidentally kills his beloved stag with a hunting javelin, he prays to Apollo that his mourning might be perpetual, and in answer to his prayers, the god turns him into a cypress. The tree’s association with grief and mortality is an old one and comes from the East, where burial grounds are thickly planted with them, and in Biblical times its sweet-smelling wood was used to make coffins and its branches to line graves. It is also said that the cypress, once cut, will never flourish or grow again.
Forget Me Not
The name of this pretty and delicate flower, which enamels riverbanks and garden borders with its miniature sky-blue petals, speaks of the human longing for loyalty and lastingness. Its name comes from a German folk tale about a couple who, on the eve of their marriage, take a walk by the banks of the Danube. The young bride admires a cluster of flowers, and her fiancé goes forward to pick them for her but falls into the river. Before he is carried away by the turbulent waters, he throws the flowers at the feet of his betrothed, crying, ‘Vergiss
The forget-me-not is native to Britain but its name was not used until the nineteenth century. It caught on very quickly, almost certainly popularized by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who had traveled in Germany and would have been familiar with that country’s folklore.
Oak-leaf: True Friendship
Wild: Steadfast Piety
The geranium is a heart-warming plant, a spot of cheer on a kitchen windowsill; in its wild, true form, a gentle presence on a windswept hillside. When its flowers drop, the exposed fruit is revealed to be pointed in shape, like a crane’s bill. The Greeks noticed this resemblance to the bird and called the flower geranion, from geranos, meaning ‘crane’.
‘True friendship’ was the emblem assigned to the oak-leaf geranium, perhaps in reference to the strength and duration of the oak tree; the exquisite and skilful patterning of veins on the pencil-leaf flower brought the notion of ingenuity to mind; and the wild geranium, sometimes called herb Robert, a hardy little plant which often grows in the most difficult terrain, was also given a noble meaning; but the scarlet geranium was not so fortunate.