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 Special Flowers, Plants and Societies

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Fri 27 Apr 2018, 16:22

Certain plants have dedicated collectors breeders and associations, often with an interesting history. My own obsession - not manic but devoted - is currently with auriculas. First happened on in a wrecked neighbour's conservatory,  the only time I heard the ancient great grandma of that somewhat disorderly home, speak, was when she saw me, as an opened mouthed dot, admiring the beauty of a single auriculum high on a broken shelf in full flower,  neglected yet coping. (Rather like me and that gran both were in  war time.)
She said it was a plant favoured by Victorians who had frames made for each pot like a picture and that they loved to paint and draw them. Until I returned here to live, I had not seen another though I had searched all my life; primulas and primroses and polys, yes but none with fleshy leaves and such lovely flowers. Then, on a TV visit to a flower show, there they were - and in very special displays, objects of huge competition.
Auriculas so it is said were brought here by textile workers from the continent  to the Midlands and East Anglia and  is indeed still special. In the nineteenth cent. competitions were held at inns and announced by a copper kettle hung outside - a copper kettle being the prize. That old gran once  silently gave me a copper kettle but without explanation. I have it still...... I wonder now.

Tuips, dahlias and orchids all have fascinating histories and there must be  so many more; praises be to those who  nurtured them for us to so enjoy.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Sat 28 Apr 2018, 20:47

It's not very original of me, I know, Priscilla, but your post made me think of Ophelia's speech from Hamlet 
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts..."
My own variant of gardening is as I think I have said before like damage limitation, trying to keep the weeds at bay.  I had a few daffodils come through this year though dandelions are the yellow flowers that grow with alacrity for me even when I haven't encouraged them.  Mare's tail comes through profusely too.  One of the reasons I was thinking of foraying into corset making was that my back aches when I try to garden.  There is a shrub called I think a viburnum fragrance (it is autumn flowering) in the front garden which dates back to a former next-door neighbour having given the shrub to the couple from whom my parents bought this house all those years ago - my neighbour's wife had cancer of the breast in the days when not much could be done about it and the lady who lived here was very kind to his wife so the shrub was given as a way of saying thank you.  It is a bit invasive though - as are the grape hyacinths which are another type of flower which flourishes here.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Sun 29 Apr 2018, 23:38

The Wiki 'History of Flowers' entry relates Confucius mentioning that The Emprerof China had 600 books about roses. A book being one of those flat strip jobs? I really don't know. Or perhaps it could be a raised eyebrow remark meaning the Emporer had far too many on the subject when he ought to concentrate  more on the sort of stuff that Confucius approved; I am not into that thread.

Many specialists get intense about cultivating flowers in new colours for their type and in turn neglect some that should have been preserved -  roses in particular. Sports however do produce interesting variations. I bought a winter weeping flowering cherry tree bred from a sport - most beautiful flowers all winter but it  had clearly  not read its label and so spreads its  pink show stridently up to the heavens.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Mon 30 Apr 2018, 21:47

@Priscilla wrote:
Certain plants have dedicated collectors breeders and associations, often with an interesting history. My own obsession - not manic but devoted - is currently with auriculas. First happened on in a wrecked neighbour's conservatory,  the only time I heard the ancient great grandma of that somewhat disorderly home, speak, was when she saw me, as an opened mouthed dot, admiring the beauty of a single auriculum high on a broken shelf in full flower,  neglected yet coping. (Rather like me and that gran both were in  war time.)
She said it was a plant favoured by Victorians who had frames made for each pot like a picture and that they loved to paint and draw them. Until I returned here to live, I had not seen another though I had searched all my life; primulas and primroses and polys, yes but none with fleshy leaves and such lovely flowers. Then, on a TV visit to a flower show, there they were - and in very special displays, objects of huge competition.
Auriculas so it is said were brought here by textile workers from the continent  to the Midlands and East Anglia and  is indeed still special. In the nineteenth cent. competitions were held at inns and announced by a copper kettle hung outside - a copper kettle being the prize. That old gran once  silently gave me a copper kettle but without explanation. I have it still...... I wonder now.

Tuips, dahlias and orchids all have fascinating histories and there must be  so many more; praises be to those who  nurtured them for us to so enjoy.

Yes, Priscilla I did once for a lady on the BBC board a history of the "tulip" from the Ottoman Empire to Holland...but for the moment no time to expand, as I have still "work" to do at the French historyboard about the "Litus Saxonicus" (la côte saxonne)...

Kind regards from Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Tue 01 May 2018, 08:38

The First of May, so in France it's La Fête du Travail (Labour Day) but also called La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day).

On this day it is customary to give a sprig of lily-of-the-valley (muguet) to friends and loved ones, and the flowers, either in pots or as cut flowers, have been on sale everywhere for the past week. The tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers on May Day is supposed to have begun in 1561 when King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year, and he so liked the idea that henceforth he presented lily-of-the-valley flowers to all the ladies of his court each year on 1st May.

On 1 May 1886 in Chicago the American Unions began a campaign for an 8-hour working day. A strike paralyzed the factories and there was rioting and violent demonstrations. In 1889 the 2nd International Socialists meeting in Paris chose 1st May as the day to commemorate the memory of the Chicago events and to continue the fight for an 8-hour day. From 1890 the French Socialist movement adopted a red triangle to symbolise their objective: 8 hours work, 8 hours sleep, 8 hours of leisure. This symbol was later replaced by the wild rose, then in 1907 by a sprig of lily-of-the-valley. The eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France on 23 April 1919, and May Day became a public holiday called Fête internationale des Travailleurs (International Worker's Day). During World War II, the Vichy regime renamed the holiday to Fête du Travail et de la Concorde Sociale (Work and Social Unity Day) but under full German occupation the holiday was cancelled, until re-adopted after Liberation when it officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labour Day) on 29 April 29 1948.

Ever since then 1st May has been a public holiday in France and it is in fact the only day of the year when employees are legally obliged to be given paid leave (excepting of course professions that cannot be interrupted due to their nature such as workers in hospitals and public transport). Also on 1 May (and only on this day) private persons and some non-profit organisations may sell lily-of-the-valley exempt from any tax or administrative charges (hence all the roadside stalls today).

I had a pot of muguet on the breakfast table this morning but mine were gathered from the garden, and, due to the miserable weather we've been having lately, my little flowers have only just managed to start flowering in time for their own special day.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Tue 01 May 2018, 10:44

I don't know if this counts but when I was working full-time as a legal secretary one of the solicitors was given a bunch of flowers by an appreciative client.  I used to walk past a vacant lot and saw some what I thought were dandelions growing there so I picked some and gave them to him saying they showed what I thought of him (don't worry he had a sense of humour and was as capable of giving out as receiving).  Someone else piped in "that's coltsfoot". Another person told me (jokingly) I was a rotter but the recipient took it in good spirits.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Tue 01 May 2018, 13:26

I've learned a new (to me) word.  Long story short I signed in some time ago to Dictionary.com to have a "word a day" emailed to me in the hope of extending my vocabulary.  Today's word is "tussle-mussie".

Dictionary.com says of  the word 
"noun
1.
a small bunch of flowers or herbs.
2.
a cone-shaped holder for a bouquet."

and then the same source says of its origin

"There is no clear etymology for tussie-mussie “bunch of flowers, nosegay.”The Middle English form, tusemose, and the 17th-century form tussimussie, suggest an assumed Middle English tus or tusse “cluster of flowers.” Tussie-mussie entered English in the mid-15th century."


Well I'd managed to get to 60-something without every hearing of the word.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Special Flowers, Plants and Societies   Tue 01 May 2018, 16:38

I went to the weekly meeting of the U3A French conversation group today.  One lady had brought in an article covering similar ground to MM's recent post about the lily-of-the-valley in France.  I didn't chime in with "Oh I read about this on a history site yesterday".  As MM rightly said at one time the flower used was the red briar rose but later some people considered the red rose to be too akin to "the left" and communism and the lily-of-the-valley (as MM explained) replaced it.  I have a dog rose bush in the back garden but it is pink rather than red.  It was a different sort of rose at one time but I'm not sure when things went awry but the other rose was grafted on to the eglantine and was pruned back too severely at some time in the history of the bush so now I have eglantines flowering annually.
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