By Bobby J. Ward
An exciting survey of eighty plant genera, with a mess of references to, and extracts from, delusion and literature through the a while. This pleasant publication will motivate you to examine your personal backyard in a brand new gentle, in keeping with what William Blake or the traditional Romans stated approximately them.
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Extra resources for A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature
The determinedly uncrafty (like myself) will be content simply to know that such matters might be attempted. But I would not recommend that anyone, no matter how crafty, attempt to assuage a scorpion's bite with a handful of fern bracken. " Lots of folks are familiar with St. Fiacre, the Irish monk whose blobby little statues decorate many an herb garden. Who, however, knows as much about St. Phocas of Sinope, or St. Adelard of Normandy, or St. Urban of Langres, a protector against frosts and blights?
And Ben Jonson knew the paunce (Viola), now the pansy. Regrettably, the old folk names are rarely used in written form anymore. But Roy Vickery of the Plant Lore Society and the Natural History Museum in London has cataloged the folk names currently spoken in different regions of the British Isles and published his findings in A Dictionary of Plant Lore (1997). It was a valuable reference for me because it identified vernacular names for plants and flowers that might otherwise have gone unidentified.
The only problem with this approach is that it may necessitate frequent bookstore stops. Very often, an enticing reference directs us forcibly back to the original. Although Ward has done so much research for us, his snippets often rather urgently demand our return to the source. Reading about Tess gathering lords and ladies from a shady bank whilst chatting with Angel Clare made me spend almost an hour searching out my battered old copy of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which I then reread with renewed pleasure and a new eye for its floral references.
A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature by Bobby J. Ward