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By Bobby J. Ward

An exciting survey of eighty plant genera, with a mess of references to, and extracts from, fantasy and literature through the a while. This pleasant booklet will encourage you to examine your individual backyard in a brand new gentle, in response to what William Blake or the traditional Romans stated approximately them.

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Extra info for A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature

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Fellow gardeners Nancy Goodwin, Judy Glattstein, and Bobby Wilder steered me to some literary resources. Two people, now deceased, I want to acknowledge for the advice they gave along the way of this book's creation. Indefatigable gardener William Lanier Hunt, an active nonagenarian at the time, was frequently available for lunch and long conversation and allowed me the use of books from his vast personal library. And Linda Mitchell Lamm offered continuous warm encouragement. A third great influence on this project has also passed away.

The language of flowers has an intriguing history in itself. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador in Constantinople, is credited with initiating the language of flowers in western Europe. " Lady Mary explained the meaning of the pieces she included: roses, jonquils, cloves, straw, and miscellaneous nonbotanical items. This collection of flowers in the form of a tussie-mussie reached its peak of popularity in the Victorian era. " The sentiments expressed by a particular flower could vary from language to language; in Turkish and Arabic the sentiment assigned to a flower originated not from the flower itself but from the ability of its name to rhyme with other words.

Greek and Roman architects used the leaf of acanthus, probably Acanthus spinosus or A. mollis, as a model for the designs on the capitals of Corinthian columns. Callimachos, an Athenian sculptor and architect of the fifth century BCE, was the first to create the acanthus design. Stories vary as to how the design came about, but most commonly it is told that the young daughter of Callimachos died while her father was designing pillars in Corinth. In her memory he set a basket of flowers on her grave, using a tile to keep the wind from blowing them away.

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