<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral “scent”-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the “Punnet Square”) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it’s become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck. 

<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral "scent"-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the Punnet Square) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it's become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

<I>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck.

<i>Papaver nudicaule</i>
Papaver nudicaule

Despite their common name of Icelandic Poppies, Papaver nudicaule is native to the subpolar regions of Europe and North America, Asia and the mountains of central Asia. A distinguishing feature of the flower is its crinkly, tissue paper petals, which are a result of the petals being packed haphazardly into its bud. Upon opening, the petals unfurl, held together at the end of a curved stem covered in tiny hairs.

<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck.

<i>Rosa nutkana</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Rosa nutkana, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Named for the Nookta Sound in Vancouver where the flower was first described, the Nootka rose has long been used by indigenous people for treatment of ailments, ceremony, handmade items, and also for food. Native to Western North America, its delicate pink blooms give off a heady scent that permeates the air throughout the summer.

<i>Nuphar polysepala</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Nuphar polysepala, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Made popular by Claude Monet’s Impressionist renderings, the water lily is considered one of the oldest aquatic plants on Earth and an iconic flower. The water lily’s single bloom rests atop a “pad”, which floats on water, and opens at daybreak and closes in the evening. The difference between a water lily and water lotus is that the bloom of the lily floats, whereas the lotus blossom rises above the water.

<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck. 

<i>Paeonia</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Paeonia, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Ancient Chinese texts mention the peony was used for flavoring food. Confucius (551–479 BC) is quoted to have said: "I eat nothing without its sauce. I enjoy it very much, because of its flavor." Peonies have been used and cultivated in China since early history. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Yatsuka prefecture in Japan donated 300 tree peonies to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden “to bring peace of mind to people in the United States” after the events.

<i>Papaver nudicaule</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Papaver nudicaule, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Despite their common name of Icelandic Poppies, Papaver nudicaule is native to the subpolar regions of Europe and North America, Asia and the mountains of central Asia. A distinguishing feature of the flower is its crinkly, tissue paper petals, which are a result of the petals being packed haphazardly into its bud. Upon opening, the petals unfurl, held together at the end of a curved stem covered in tiny hairs.

<i>Lamprocapnos spectabilis</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Lamprocapnos spectabilis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

This much is clear. Scottish botanist Robert Fortune brought the bleeding heart to England in the 1840s from Asia. What’s uncertain is whether the plant’s predominant lore originated in the East or West. With striking pink and white flowers the resemble a heart, the flower is often broken down into pieces to tell the story forlorn love.

<i>Iris</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Iris, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek, iris means “rainbow”, perhaps a nod to the wide number of colors in the Iris genus. The iris captured the eye of King Thutmose III of Egypt when he conquered Syria, and soon after, he introduced them to his gardens. In Egypt, they came to symbolize the essence of life and renewal, with each of the three petals meaning faith, wisdom and valor. The “fleur-de-lis” emblem was also inspired by the flower, and adopted by Christians when Frankish King Clovis I used it to emblazon his heraldry.

<i>Rosa</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Rosa, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Chinese gardeners are credited with cultivating them some 5,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the late 1700s that they were introduced to Europe from China. Before that, roses had a stint as the emblem for the warring families in the War of the Roses, and they were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes and for their perfume. More than any flower, the rose is recognized as the symbol for love.

<i>Digitalis</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Digitalis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

A curious etymology leads us only to conclude that the name Digitalis is derived from its flowers, which are “finger-like”, but it is also known by the name fox glove. A flower flooded with fairy imagery and also rooted in Roman myth, its best known for its production of digitalin, a group of medicines used for heart treatments. The entire plant is toxic, so care should be taken when handling or displaying this old world flower. 

<i>Digitalis</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Digitalis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

A curious etymology leads us only to conclude that the name Digitalis is derived from its flowers, which are “finger-like”, but it is also known by the name fox glove. A flower flooded with fairy imagery and also rooted in Roman myth, its best known for its production of digitalin, a group of medicines used for heart treatments. The entire plant is toxic, so care should be taken when handling or displaying this old world flower. 

<i>Leucanthemum vulgare</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Leucanthemum vulgare, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

From ancient Greek meaning "white flower", L. vulgare, also known as "ox-eye" or "moon daisy", is found among rolling meadows and open fields from late spring to autumn. This flower of "patience" doesn't just get by on its good looks. For the culinary adventurous, unopened buds can be marinated and eaten like capers. 

<i>Rosa nutkana</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Rosa nutkana, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Named for the Nookta Sound in Vancouver where the flower was first described, the Nootka rose has long been used by indigenous people for treatment of ailments, ceremony, handmade items, and also for food. Native to Western North America, its delicate pink blooms give off a heady scent that permeates the air throughout the summer.

<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral “scent"-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the Punnet Square) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it’s become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

<i>Rhododendron</i> ‘George Lindley Taber Azalea', La Grange, Georgia, 2017
Rhododendron ‘George Lindley Taber Azalea', La Grange, Georgia, 2017

George Taber was a famed businessman and horticulturalist who left New England to work the land of the South, particularly north Florida. Credited with making satsuma, a freeze-resistant orange variety, a Florida household name, he eventually established Glen Nurses, which led others to do the same in the area, and the ’Baker County grown’ tagline soon became synonymous with horticultural excellence.

<i>Narcissus</i> ‘Tahiti’, La Grange Georgia, 2017
Narcissus ‘Tahiti’, La Grange Georgia, 2017

Thousands of cultivars exists, but one thing is certain. The first narcissus, or daffodil, or jonquil, whichever you prefer to call it, marks the arrival of spring. Famously, the youth Narcissus fell in love with his reflection and is turned into the flower, but what many people don’t realize is that narcissi are one of the most popular garden plants in Islamic culture, often thought of as “eyes” thanks to the fears of one ruler, a fact noted in the writings of Khalil Gibran.

<i>Camilla sasanqua</i>, La Grange, Georgia, 2017
Camilla sasanqua, La Grange, Georgia, 2017

For a long time in Japan, this flower was prized more for its seed oil and leaves, the latter which was used to make a tea. When it was later imported to the West in 1820 via Captain Richard Rawes, it was finally appreciated for its beauty. Several cultivars have since won the Royal Horticulture’s Award of Garden Merit.

<i>Convallaria majalis</i> 'Lily-of-the-Valley', La Grange, Georgia, 2017
Convallaria majalis 'Lily-of-the-Valley', La Grange, Georgia, 2017

In the Christian tradition, the Lily-of-the-valley came to symbolize Mary's tears at the cruxifixction of Christ, as well as Eve's following her and Adam's banishment from the Garden of Eden. 

In Latin, 'majalis' means "of or belong to May" which may explain the Victorian's entry for this bloom into the Language of Flowers to mean "happiness" since it signals the end of winter. 

<i>Rhododendron</i> (subgenus <i>Azalea</i>), La Grange, Georgia, 2017
Rhododendron (subgenus Azalea), La Grange, Georgia, 2017

All azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas. There are over 10,000 different types of azaleas, but far fewer number are actually available to purchase. All North American species are called Native Azaleas and are deciduous, or drop their leaves in the fall.

<i>Hemerocallis fulva</i>, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016
Hemerocallis fulva, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016

Persistent wherever planted, so much so that some people consider the flower a weedy or invasive species. Flower petals of some species of daylily are used in Chinese cuisine and sold as gum gum or golden needle.

<i>Magnolia grandiflora</i> 'Little Gem', Tampa, Florida, 2016
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem', Tampa, Florida, 2016

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date to 95 million years ago. The magnolia is also the unofficial flower of the South. 

<i>Heliconia psittacorum</i> 'Bird of Paradise', Tampa, Florida, 2016
Heliconia psittacorum 'Bird of Paradise', Tampa, Florida, 2016

Common names for the genus include lobster-claws, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise. The last term refers to their close similarity to the bird-of-paradise flowers (Strelitzia). Their flowers are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles, and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts, with small true flowers peeping out from the bracts. These bracts protect the flowers; floral shape often limits pollination to a subset of the hummingbirds in the region. 

<i>Gardenia jasminoides</i>, Riverview, Florida, 2016
Gardenia jasminoides, Riverview, Florida, 2016

Sigmund Freud’s favorite flower. The gardenia is renowned for its sweet perfume, particularly heady in the humid environs where it thrives. Cultivated in China for at least one thousand years, the Gardenia did not appear in English gardens until well into the 18th century. Today, its nearly as synonymous with the South as magnolias are.

<i>Helleborus orientalis</i>, La Grange, Georgia, 2017
Helleborus orientalis, La Grange, Georgia, 2017

Legends abound placing helleborus on both sides of light and dark tales—from its use to poison a water supply during a Greek siege, to its offering for Christ at his birthWhile it’s also known as the Christmas Rose, it is not a part of the Rosaceae family, a misnomer that likely stems from Christ’s birth story. 

<i>Tropaeolum magus</i> 'Ford Hook Favorite', Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Tropaeolum magus 'Ford Hook Favorite', Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Tropaeolum commonly known as nasturtium (literally "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker"), is a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants. It was named by Carl Linnaeus, and is the only genus in the family Tropaeolaceae. All parts of Tropaeolum majus are edible. It has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress. 

<i>Paeoniaceae lactiflora</i> cv, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Paeoniaceae lactiflora cv, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Ancient Chinese texts mention the peony was used for flavoring food. Confucius (551–479 BC) is quoted to have said: "I eat nothing without its sauce. I enjoy it very much, because of its flavor." Peonies have been used and cultivated in China since early history. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Yatsuka prefecture in Japan donated 300 tree peonies to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden “to bring peace of mind to people in the United States” after the events.

<i>Hyacinthus</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Hyacinthus, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Hyacinths are often associated with spring and rebirth. The hyacinth flower is used in the Haft-Seen table setting for the Persian New Year celebration, Nowruz, held at the Spring Equinox. The Farsi word for hyacinth is "sonbol. Hyacinth bulbs are poisonous; they contain oxalic acid. Handling hyacinth bulbs can cause mild skin irritation. Protective gloves are recommended.

<i>Tulipa</i> (Red), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Tulipa (Red), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century. Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

<i>Rhododendron viscosum</i> 'Swamp Azalea', Newport, Rhode Island, 2016
Rhododendron viscosum 'Swamp Azalea', Newport, Rhode Island, 2016

Azaleas and rhododendrons were once so infamous for their toxicity that to receive a bouquet of their flowers in a black vase was a well-known death threat. In Joyce's Ulysses, rhododendrons play an important role in Leopold and Molly's early courtship: Molly remembers them in her soliloquy - "the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me".

<i>Syringa vulgarism</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Syringa vulgarism, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Lilacs arrived late to the American colonies in the 18th century, and before that were not seen in Europe until the end of the 16th century via Ottoman gardens. William Shakespeare, well know for incorporating flowers into his plays and sonnets, never mentions the lilac, however, despite them growing “in very great plenty.”

<i>Iris</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Iris, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

From the Greek word for "rainbow", which alludes to its infinite variety of colors available, the Iris serves a symbol across cultures— from Tennessee, where a purple cultivar is the state flower, to France, where the fleur-de-lis is a stylized Iris pseudacorus, or yellow Iris.

<i>Tulipa</i> (Yellow), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Tulipa (Yellow), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century. Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<I>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Papaver nudicaule</i>
<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Rosa nutkana</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Nuphar polysepala</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Anemone coronaria</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Paeonia</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Papaver nudicaule</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Lamprocapnos spectabilis</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Iris</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Rosa</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Digitalis</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Digitalis</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Leucanthemum vulgare</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Rosa nutkana</I>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Lathyrus odoratus</i>, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017
<i>Rhododendron</i> ‘George Lindley Taber Azalea', La Grange, Georgia, 2017
<i>Narcissus</i> ‘Tahiti’, La Grange Georgia, 2017
<i>Camilla sasanqua</i>, La Grange, Georgia, 2017
<i>Convallaria majalis</i> 'Lily-of-the-Valley', La Grange, Georgia, 2017
<i>Rhododendron</i> (subgenus <i>Azalea</i>), La Grange, Georgia, 2017
<i>Hemerocallis fulva</i>, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016
<i>Magnolia grandiflora</i> 'Little Gem', Tampa, Florida, 2016
<i>Heliconia psittacorum</i> 'Bird of Paradise', Tampa, Florida, 2016
<i>Gardenia jasminoides</i>, Riverview, Florida, 2016
<i>Helleborus orientalis</i>, La Grange, Georgia, 2017
<i>Tropaeolum magus</i> 'Ford Hook Favorite', Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Paeoniaceae lactiflora</i> cv, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Hyacinthus</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Tulipa</i> (Red), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Rhododendron viscosum</i> 'Swamp Azalea', Newport, Rhode Island, 2016
<i>Syringa vulgarism</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Iris</i>, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
<i>Tulipa</i> (Yellow), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015
Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral “scent”-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the “Punnet Square”) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it’s become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck. 

Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral "scent"-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the Punnet Square) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it's become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck.

Papaver nudicaule

Despite their common name of Icelandic Poppies, Papaver nudicaule is native to the subpolar regions of Europe and North America, Asia and the mountains of central Asia. A distinguishing feature of the flower is its crinkly, tissue paper petals, which are a result of the petals being packed haphazardly into its bud. Upon opening, the petals unfurl, held together at the end of a curved stem covered in tiny hairs.

Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck.

Rosa nutkana, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Named for the Nookta Sound in Vancouver where the flower was first described, the Nootka rose has long been used by indigenous people for treatment of ailments, ceremony, handmade items, and also for food. Native to Western North America, its delicate pink blooms give off a heady scent that permeates the air throughout the summer.

Nuphar polysepala, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Made popular by Claude Monet’s Impressionist renderings, the water lily is considered one of the oldest aquatic plants on Earth and an iconic flower. The water lily’s single bloom rests atop a “pad”, which floats on water, and opens at daybreak and closes in the evening. The difference between a water lily and water lotus is that the bloom of the lily floats, whereas the lotus blossom rises above the water.

Anemone coronaria, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind." In the The Metamorphoses Ovid tells of a plant that was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis. Thus, in the Victorian language of flower, anemones were associated with forsaken love of any kind, and was used often by peasants to ward off pests and bad luck. 

Paeonia, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Ancient Chinese texts mention the peony was used for flavoring food. Confucius (551–479 BC) is quoted to have said: "I eat nothing without its sauce. I enjoy it very much, because of its flavor." Peonies have been used and cultivated in China since early history. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Yatsuka prefecture in Japan donated 300 tree peonies to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden “to bring peace of mind to people in the United States” after the events.

Papaver nudicaule, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Despite their common name of Icelandic Poppies, Papaver nudicaule is native to the subpolar regions of Europe and North America, Asia and the mountains of central Asia. A distinguishing feature of the flower is its crinkly, tissue paper petals, which are a result of the petals being packed haphazardly into its bud. Upon opening, the petals unfurl, held together at the end of a curved stem covered in tiny hairs.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

This much is clear. Scottish botanist Robert Fortune brought the bleeding heart to England in the 1840s from Asia. What’s uncertain is whether the plant’s predominant lore originated in the East or West. With striking pink and white flowers the resemble a heart, the flower is often broken down into pieces to tell the story forlorn love.

Iris, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In Greek, iris means “rainbow”, perhaps a nod to the wide number of colors in the Iris genus. The iris captured the eye of King Thutmose III of Egypt when he conquered Syria, and soon after, he introduced them to his gardens. In Egypt, they came to symbolize the essence of life and renewal, with each of the three petals meaning faith, wisdom and valor. The “fleur-de-lis” emblem was also inspired by the flower, and adopted by Christians when Frankish King Clovis I used it to emblazon his heraldry.

Rosa, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. Chinese gardeners are credited with cultivating them some 5,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the late 1700s that they were introduced to Europe from China. Before that, roses had a stint as the emblem for the warring families in the War of the Roses, and they were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes and for their perfume. More than any flower, the rose is recognized as the symbol for love.

Digitalis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

A curious etymology leads us only to conclude that the name Digitalis is derived from its flowers, which are “finger-like”, but it is also known by the name fox glove. A flower flooded with fairy imagery and also rooted in Roman myth, its best known for its production of digitalin, a group of medicines used for heart treatments. The entire plant is toxic, so care should be taken when handling or displaying this old world flower. 

Digitalis, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

A curious etymology leads us only to conclude that the name Digitalis is derived from its flowers, which are “finger-like”, but it is also known by the name fox glove. A flower flooded with fairy imagery and also rooted in Roman myth, its best known for its production of digitalin, a group of medicines used for heart treatments. The entire plant is toxic, so care should be taken when handling or displaying this old world flower. 

Leucanthemum vulgare, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

From ancient Greek meaning "white flower", L. vulgare, also known as "ox-eye" or "moon daisy", is found among rolling meadows and open fields from late spring to autumn. This flower of "patience" doesn't just get by on its good looks. For the culinary adventurous, unopened buds can be marinated and eaten like capers. 

Rosa nutkana, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

Named for the Nookta Sound in Vancouver where the flower was first described, the Nootka rose has long been used by indigenous people for treatment of ailments, ceremony, handmade items, and also for food. Native to Western North America, its delicate pink blooms give off a heady scent that permeates the air throughout the summer.

Lathyrus odoratus, Lopez Island, Washington, 2017

In the late Victorian period, L. odoratus or sweet peas, became a floral “scent"-sation when the Earl of Radnor cross-bred and developed the sweet pea. It was also used by Reginald Punnet (of the Punnet Square) in early studies of genetic linkage. Today, it’s become the It flower of the cut flower world with more than hundreds of cultivars available in shades ranging from the palest pinks to iridescent blues, but also because of its intoxicatingly sweet scent. 

Rhododendron ‘George Lindley Taber Azalea', La Grange, Georgia, 2017

George Taber was a famed businessman and horticulturalist who left New England to work the land of the South, particularly north Florida. Credited with making satsuma, a freeze-resistant orange variety, a Florida household name, he eventually established Glen Nurses, which led others to do the same in the area, and the ’Baker County grown’ tagline soon became synonymous with horticultural excellence.

Narcissus ‘Tahiti’, La Grange Georgia, 2017

Thousands of cultivars exists, but one thing is certain. The first narcissus, or daffodil, or jonquil, whichever you prefer to call it, marks the arrival of spring. Famously, the youth Narcissus fell in love with his reflection and is turned into the flower, but what many people don’t realize is that narcissi are one of the most popular garden plants in Islamic culture, often thought of as “eyes” thanks to the fears of one ruler, a fact noted in the writings of Khalil Gibran.

Camilla sasanqua, La Grange, Georgia, 2017

For a long time in Japan, this flower was prized more for its seed oil and leaves, the latter which was used to make a tea. When it was later imported to the West in 1820 via Captain Richard Rawes, it was finally appreciated for its beauty. Several cultivars have since won the Royal Horticulture’s Award of Garden Merit.

Convallaria majalis 'Lily-of-the-Valley', La Grange, Georgia, 2017

In the Christian tradition, the Lily-of-the-valley came to symbolize Mary's tears at the cruxifixction of Christ, as well as Eve's following her and Adam's banishment from the Garden of Eden. 

In Latin, 'majalis' means "of or belong to May" which may explain the Victorian's entry for this bloom into the Language of Flowers to mean "happiness" since it signals the end of winter. 

Rhododendron (subgenus Azalea), La Grange, Georgia, 2017

All azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas. There are over 10,000 different types of azaleas, but far fewer number are actually available to purchase. All North American species are called Native Azaleas and are deciduous, or drop their leaves in the fall.

Hemerocallis fulva, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016

Persistent wherever planted, so much so that some people consider the flower a weedy or invasive species. Flower petals of some species of daylily are used in Chinese cuisine and sold as gum gum or golden needle.

Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem', Tampa, Florida, 2016

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date to 95 million years ago. The magnolia is also the unofficial flower of the South. 

Heliconia psittacorum 'Bird of Paradise', Tampa, Florida, 2016

Common names for the genus include lobster-claws, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise. The last term refers to their close similarity to the bird-of-paradise flowers (Strelitzia). Their flowers are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles, and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts, with small true flowers peeping out from the bracts. These bracts protect the flowers; floral shape often limits pollination to a subset of the hummingbirds in the region. 

Gardenia jasminoides, Riverview, Florida, 2016

Sigmund Freud’s favorite flower. The gardenia is renowned for its sweet perfume, particularly heady in the humid environs where it thrives. Cultivated in China for at least one thousand years, the Gardenia did not appear in English gardens until well into the 18th century. Today, its nearly as synonymous with the South as magnolias are.

Helleborus orientalis, La Grange, Georgia, 2017

Legends abound placing helleborus on both sides of light and dark tales—from its use to poison a water supply during a Greek siege, to its offering for Christ at his birthWhile it’s also known as the Christmas Rose, it is not a part of the Rosaceae family, a misnomer that likely stems from Christ’s birth story. 

Tropaeolum magus 'Ford Hook Favorite', Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Tropaeolum commonly known as nasturtium (literally "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker"), is a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants. It was named by Carl Linnaeus, and is the only genus in the family Tropaeolaceae. All parts of Tropaeolum majus are edible. It has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress. 

Paeoniaceae lactiflora cv, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Ancient Chinese texts mention the peony was used for flavoring food. Confucius (551–479 BC) is quoted to have said: "I eat nothing without its sauce. I enjoy it very much, because of its flavor." Peonies have been used and cultivated in China since early history. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Yatsuka prefecture in Japan donated 300 tree peonies to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden “to bring peace of mind to people in the United States” after the events.

Hyacinthus, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Hyacinths are often associated with spring and rebirth. The hyacinth flower is used in the Haft-Seen table setting for the Persian New Year celebration, Nowruz, held at the Spring Equinox. The Farsi word for hyacinth is "sonbol. Hyacinth bulbs are poisonous; they contain oxalic acid. Handling hyacinth bulbs can cause mild skin irritation. Protective gloves are recommended.

Tulipa (Red), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century. Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

Rhododendron viscosum 'Swamp Azalea', Newport, Rhode Island, 2016

Azaleas and rhododendrons were once so infamous for their toxicity that to receive a bouquet of their flowers in a black vase was a well-known death threat. In Joyce's Ulysses, rhododendrons play an important role in Leopold and Molly's early courtship: Molly remembers them in her soliloquy - "the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me".

Syringa vulgarism, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Lilacs arrived late to the American colonies in the 18th century, and before that were not seen in Europe until the end of the 16th century via Ottoman gardens. William Shakespeare, well know for incorporating flowers into his plays and sonnets, never mentions the lilac, however, despite them growing “in very great plenty.”

Iris, Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

From the Greek word for "rainbow", which alludes to its infinite variety of colors available, the Iris serves a symbol across cultures— from Tennessee, where a purple cultivar is the state flower, to France, where the fleur-de-lis is a stylized Iris pseudacorus, or yellow Iris.

Tulipa (Yellow), Newport, Rhode Island, 2015

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century. Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

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