Friday’s Florals: Forget-Me-Not- True Love

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Good morning from a grey and wet spring morning here in Hastings.

This week I have found this photo of the delicate forget-me-nots. They are such a delicate flower and the blue colour is so pretty.

One of my  favourite programmes is the Antique Roadshow.  In particular jewelry (there are some really lucky people out there).  In particular I love hearing about how the Victorians would use flowers to convey meanings.  I have read a lot of books written in the late 1800’s, towards the end of this era and flowers play a large part in them – whether it be to collect flowers, or to receive bouquets, heavy with meaning. So I did a bit of research this morning and found this website:

http://www.victorianbazaar.com/meanings.html

For centuries, flowers, herbs and various plants have given much pleasure to people of all the nations, because their beauty has the unique ability to bring cheer when someone is ill or downhearted, their fragrances can be used to make lovely perfumes, delicate foliage can be used for certain medicines and foods, and pungent smells can bestir mood.

In fact, they have been so outstanding in this regard, that there is no wonder that mankind has attached significant meanings to them… actually going as far as to formulate a language all their own called “floriography.” This “language” was particularly utilized during the Victorian era; however, flowers well into past generations have had religious and symbolic meanings, and still do today.

For example, there were references given to flowers, herbs and plants in Biblical times, and during the Middle Ages, herbs were even believed by some to have magical powers. Therefore, they were given a place of honor in the royal floral gardens. The use of these floral “gardens” existed well into theVictorian era, and helped to create the elaborate list of meanings to describe these beloved flowers.

History relates that during the reign of Queen Victoria, in England, which lasted from 1837 to 1901, (known as the Victorian era) the language of flowers was as important to people as being “well dressed.” For example, the recognizable scent of a particular flower, plant or perhaps a scented handkerchief sent its own unique message.

Flowers adorned almost everything… hair, clothing, jewelry, gowns, men’s lapels, home décor and china, and stationery, to name a few. A young man could either please or displease a lady…by his gift of flowers. Flowers would convey messages of love or dislike depending upon which ones were given, their sizes how they were held, or also grouped together. They had a silent meaning of their very own, and could “say” what was not dared to be spoken. Even the manner in which flowers were sent had a special meaning. A flower presented in an upright position represented a “positive thought; whereas one presented in the opposite direction had a negative meaning. Too, a person could say “yes” by offering a flower with the right hand – the left hand “no.”

Dictionaries were written to explain this language to all, and were especially used by “lovers.” One could learn that “ROSES” symbolized love, in general, but each variety and color had each, his own meaning. The “LILY,” generally symbolized beauty, but it also has many varieties, thus many diversified meanings. Consider the quandary that could have developed if lover’s used two “different” dictionaries— with each possibly having its own connotation. There could, potentially, be some real misunderstandings! So, we see the importance of acquiring accurate information in this regard.

Those of the Victorian era liked to make up bouquets. Tussie-Mussies were generally very well liked gifts. These were small bouquets of flowers wrapped in a lace doily and tied with satin. The intrigue of secret messages sent this way, became a popular pastime.

It all seems to complicated to me – I couldn’t imagine young men today spending time on working out the best bouquet to send – unless they send a photo of a flower to their girlfriends on their cell phones.  As for wearing flowers on our clothes and hair –  where would we attach them?

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Friday’s Florals: Hebes

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A New Zealand native plant, hebes are very popular in our gardens.

Hebe /ˈhb/[1] is a genus of plants native to New Zealand, Rapa in French Polynesia, the Falkland Islands, and South America. It includes about 90 species and is the largest plant genus in New Zealand. Apart from H. rapensis (endemic to Rapa), all species occur in New Zealand. This includes the two species, H. salicifolia and H. elliptica, that have distributions extending to South America. The genus is named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe. There are differing classifications for the genus and some botanists include Hebe, together with the related Australasian genera Chionohebe, Derwentia, Detzneria, Parahebe, Heliohebe and Leonohebe, in the larger genus Veronica (hence its common name ‘Shrubby veronica’).

Hebe has four perpendicular rows of leaves in opposite decussate pairs. The flowers are perfect, the corolla usually has four slightly unequal lobes, the flower has two stamens and a long style. Flowers are arranged in a spikedinflorescence. Identification of Hebe species is difficult, especially if they are not in flower. The plants range in size from dwarf shrubs to small trees up to 7 metres, and are distributed from coastal to alpine ecosystems. Large-leaved species are normally found on the coast, in lowland scrub and along forest margins. At higher altitudes smaller-leaved species grow, and in alpine areas there are whipcord species with leaves reduced to thick scales.

Hebes are grown in many gardens and public areas; they attract butterflies. Hebes cope with most soil types, and can be propagated easily from both seed and cuttings. Wild Hebe hybrids are uncommon; however, there are many cultivated hybrids, such as Hebe × franciscana.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebe_(genus)

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Copyright Raewyn Forbes

Friday’s Florals: Cyclamens

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Cyclamen is Medieval Latin, from earlier Latin cyclamīnos,[6] from Ancient Greek κυκλάμινος, kyklā́mīnos (also kyklāmī́s), probably from κύκλος, kýklos “circle”,[7] because of the round tuber.[8] In English, the species of the genus are commonly called by the genus name.

In many languages, cyclamen species are colloquially called by a name like the English sowbread, because they are said to be eaten by pigs: pain de pourceau in French, pan porcino in Italian, varkensbrood in Dutch, “pigs’manjū” in Japanese.

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Most cyclamen species originate from the Mediterranean, where summers are hot and dry and winters are cool and wet, and are summer-dormant: their leaves sprout in the autumn, remain through the winter, and wither the next spring. Cyclamen purpurascens and Cyclamen colchicum, however, originate from cooler regions in mountains, and their leaves remain through the summer and wither only after the next year’s leaves have developed.

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Flowers

Flowering time may be any month of the year, depending on the species. Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen purpurascens bloom in summer and autumn, Cyclamen persicum andcoum bloom in winter, and Cyclamen repandum blooms in spring.

Each flower is on a stem coming from a growing point on the tuber. In all species, the stem is normally bent 150-180° at the tip, so that the nose of the flower faces downwards. Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Stargazer’ is an exception to this; its nose faces upwards. Flowers have 5 petals, bent outwards or up, sometimes twisted, and connected at the base into a cup, and five sepals behind the cup.

Petal shape varies depending on species, and sometimes within the same species. Cyclamen repandum has petals much longer than wide, Cyclamen coum has stubby, almost round petals, and Cyclamen hederifolium usually has petals with proportions between the two.

Petal color may be white, pink, or purple, often with darker color on the nose. Many species have a pink form and a white form, but a few have only one color, such as Cyclamen balearicum, which is always white.

The dark color on the flower nose varies in shape: Cyclamen persicum has a smooth band, Cyclamen hederifolium has a streaky V, and Cyclamen coum has an M-shaped splotch with two white or pink “eyes” beneath.

In some species, such as Cyclamen hederifolium, the petal edges at the nose are curved outwards into auricles (Latin for “little ears”). Most species, like Cyclamen persicum, have no auricles.

In most species, the style protrudes 1–3 mm out of the nose of the flower, but the stamens are inside the flower. In Cyclamen rohlfsianum, however, the cone of anthers sticks out prominently, about 2–3 mm (0.08–0.12 in) beyond the rim of the corolla, similar to shooting-stars (Dodecatheon).

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Cyclamen are commonly grown for their flowers, both outdoors and indoors in pots. Several species, particularly Cyclamen hederifolium, are hardy and can be grown outdoors in mild climates such as northwest Europe and thePacific Northwest of North America.

Hardiness

Cyclamen species range from frosthardy to frost-tender.

The most frost-hardy species, such as Cyclamen purpurascens, Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen coum, and Cyclamen cilicium, tolerate temperatures down to −20 °C (−4 °F). Cyclamen hederifolium has even survived prolonged freezing and temperatures down to −30 °C (−22 °F).

Others, such as Cyclamen repandum, survive temperatures down to −14 °C (7 °F), but not prolonged freezing below this temperature.

Others, such as Cyclamen graecum, tolerate frost as low as −4 °C (25 °F) for a few hours.

Others, such as Cyclamen africanum, Cyclamen persicum, and Cyclamen rohlfsianum, only tolerate mild and brief frost.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen

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Friday's Florals

Floral Friday: Not your normal coloured hibiscus

https://nowathome.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/floral-friday-stapelia-leendertziae/

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Copyright Raewyn Forbes