Saturday, July 6, 2013

Flowers for all seasons find a place in our hearts

The blossoms that bloom in the spring -- tra la -- here on a lovely street in La Jolla, Calif.



And nearer to the river's trembling edge
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranked with white
And starry river buds among the sedge
And floating water lilies, broad and bright
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley
(more Shelley in italics below)

 Daffodils show their stuff in Montana's spring.
When words don't seem adequate, or cannot be appropriately summoned, a flower or bouquet communicates.
Flowers say "I love you," "I'm sorry for your loss," "congratulations," "I miss you" and "I was a jerk. Please forgive me."
We use and enjoy flowers at weddings, birthdays and graduations.  They ease the pain at funerals and memorials, bringing a lightness and beauty to the somber scene.
FOR CENTURIES, flowers, herbs and plants have given pleasure to people of all the nations.  One of my most vivid flower memories is of a long-ago hike in the Balinese rain forest.  Bruce and I came upon a cremation ceremony, about 50 people dressed in beautiful garlands and gowns.  They asked us to join the processional, and gave us flower petals which we dropped on the ground behind the departed.  They carried her to a pyre, bedecked in flowers, deposited food and flowers at the base, and set the thing ablaze.
Because their beauty has the ability to bring cheer when someone is ill, recovering 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 effect a mood.
Orchids at the entrance of La Jolla Shores Resort.

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
green cowbind and moonlight-coloured may,
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
Was the bright dew, yet drained not by the day

Flowers have been around much longer than man.  Honeybees and hummingbirds were enjoying flowers long before FTD.  Poets and playwrights have celebrated flowers.  Many people have a favorite.  My mother's was the gardenia and it is mine today.
In the world's great museums, flower portraits abound -- even before the Renaissance.  Monet's lilies and Van Gogh's sunflowers are universally beloved.
 Succulents offer color, blooms and an attractive lure for hummingbirds.
In fact, so deeply do we honor flowers that we have formulated a language about flowers called "floriography." This "language" was particularly utilized during the Victorian era. Flowers well into past generations have had religious and symbolic meanings, and still do today.  There are references  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 the Victorian era,and helped to create the elaborate list of meanings to describe these beloved flowers.
 A bloom of a camellia entices the photographer in
our town home courtyard in San Diego.

And wile dorse, and ivy serpentine,
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
And flowers azure, black and streaked with gold,
Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

History tells us that royals have long used flowers and inspired their subjects to do the same.  During her long reign in England -- 1837 to 1901 -- Queen Victoria believed that a flower in the lapel or on the jacket was part of the attire of a properly dressed person. In the Victorian era, flower shops came into favor and, particularly around Covent Garden, where Eliza Doolittle first meets Henry Higgins, flower girls vied for customers as the wealthy people came and went to dinner and the theater.
An ornamental willow leafs out at High Chaparral in Big Sky Country.
ON A COLD day in February in 1989, my late sister Robbie and I attended the Bolshoi Ballet in the Soviet Union, shortly before its fall and the dismantling of the wall.
We were impressed that people with little money found enough coins to buy flowers in the lobby and throw them on stage as the dancers took their curtain call.
Only months before her death, Robbie, spent two days in northern California creating dozens of bouquets for our niece's wedding.
At Robbie's memorial, we made certain that flowers were part of our eulogy to her.

The Maritime Museum includes many vessels
in San Diego Bay.

COMING WEDNESDAY: A celebration of the wonders of water. Lakes, rivers, streams and the majestic Pacific Ocean find a place in our blog as we honor the beauty of water and its hypnotic effect on our psyche.
As summer unfolds, we explore travel, photography and a very special child.
Remember to explore, learn and live. And check out our posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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