Flower Poetry Fridays: Flower Glossary Part 1

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney, where each Friday during the past year a new poem was posted from her The Voice Of Flowers. Last Friday we enjoyed the last installment of her poems.

At the end of her 1845 book of flower appreciation, she offers a “Glossary of Flowers Mentioned in This Volume”, which will be reproduced here in three parts.

Today’s flowers, from A to D, is the first part of the flower glossary. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3.

Glossary: Flowers A through D

ACACIA, . . . Concealed love.

Almond, . . . Hope.

Amaranth, . . . Immortality.

Amaryllis, . . . Beautiful, but timid.

Anemone, . . . Anticipation.

Aspen, . . . Tenderness.

Aster, . . . Love of variety.

Bluebell, . . . Health.

Box, . . . Constancy.

Buttercup, . . . Riches.

Cactus Speciosissimus, . . . Perfect beauty.

Calla, . . . Magnificent beauty.

Camella, . . . Unpretending excellence.

Carnation, . . . Pride and beauty.

Cereus, . . . Long life.

Chamomile, . . . Energy in adversity.

Chrysanthemum, . . . A heart left to desolation.

Clematis, . . . Mental beauty.

Columbine, . . . Desertion.

Convolvolus, . . . Worth sustained by affection.

Cowslip, . . . Winning Grace.

Coxcomb, . . . Fashion.

Crown Imperial, . . . Pride of riches.

Cypress, . . . Despair.

Daffodil, . . . Uncertainty.

Dahlia, . . . Elegance and beauty.

Daisy, . . . Beauty and innocence.

Daisy, Mountain, . . . Meek loveliness.

Dandelion, . . . Coquetry.

Flowers and their meanings.

Each flower produces some kind of emotion or feeling with their colors, shapes and smells.

Giving a flower to another is a gesture of that emotion from one to another. Like, red roses for love and yellow roses for friendship.

The most curious meaning attached to a flower in this part, for me, was Columbine. . . Desertion. So, who are you gonna give those flowers to?

Gotta love Coxcomb. . . Fashion and Camella. . . Unpretending excellence!

Flower Poetry Fridays: Farewell To The Flowers

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney, where each Friday during the past year a new poem was posted from her The Voice Of Flowers. This installment is the last poem in the series.


Go to your peaceful rest,
    Friends of a brighter hour,
Jewels on youthful beauty’s breast,
    Lights of the hall and bower.
Well have ye done your part,
    Fair children of the sky,
We’ll keep your memory in our heart,
    When low in dust ye lie.

Your gladness in our joy,
    Your smile beside our way,
Your gentle service round the bed
    Of sickness and decay,
Your rainbow on the cloud,
    Your sympathy in pain ;
We’ll keep the memory of your deeds
    Until we meet again.

Rest, from the blush of love ;
    Rest, from the blight of care,
From the sweet nursing of your buds,
    And from the nipping air ;
Rest, from the fever-thirst
    Of summer’s noontide heat,
From coiling worm, and rifling hand,
    That vex’d your lone retreat.

If e’er ye thrilled with pride,
    When the admirer knelt,
Or on the lowly look’d with scorn,
    Which man for man hath felt,
If through your bosoms pure
    Hath aught like evil flow’d,
(Since folly may with angels dwell,)
    Rest from that painful load.

But not with grief or fear,
    Bow down the drooping head ;
See ! in the chamber of your birth
    Your dying couch is spread;
Go ! strong in faith, ye flowers ;
    Strong in your guileless trust,
With the returning birds, to rise
    Above imprisoning dust.

Hear we a whisper low,
    From withering leaf and bell ?
" Our life hath been a dream of love,
    In garden, or in dell ;
Yet wintry sleep we hail,
    And, till the trump shall swell,
To wake us on the vernal morn,
    Sweet friends, a sweet farewell!"

Once Autumn takes hold and brings a chill in the air our flowering friends have already begun their seasonal rest.

Isn’t it fitting that we reach the end of Mrs. Sigourney’s book by saying Farewell to the Flowers?

I know I was entertained by her characterization of our flower friends. My favorite poems were Flora’s Party and King Frost and The Garden Beauties where each flower’s true character was so well portrayed.

Spring brings the ‘fair children of the sky’ from their dusty resting places. The springing forth of flowers is truly something to look forward to after the chill and bleakness of winter.

Until then, we have our memories, and photos, of the flowers that we enjoyed so much during warmer months.

Late-Blooming Thoroughwort Attracts Butterflies

The prettiest, late-blooming plant this year for me was a new one, too. New to me, yet quite familiar.

This plant seemed so familiar, but there was something different about it. Mainly its size as it was taller than me and shrubbery-like.

Late-Flowering Thoroughwort Attracts Monarch Butterflies
Late-Flowering Thoroughwort Attracts Monarch Butterflies

The Late-Flowering Thoroughwort caught my attention partially because it attracted butterflies like crazy and partially because of its sweet scent. Photos taken 14 September 2015.

Late-Flowering Thoroughwort Attracts Cabbage Butterflies
Late-Flowering Thoroughwort Attracts Cabbage Butterflies

Similar-looking clusters of flowers occur in a couple of dozen related plants that bloom in late summer to early autumn in Central Pennsylvania. We’ve been able to spot three of them:

  • White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima, formerly known as Eupatorium rugosum
  • Boneset, E. perfoliatum
  • Late-Flowering Thoroughwort, E. serotinum

Indeed, the way to tell these similar-looking plants apart is to look at their leaves and leaf attachment, not their flowers. Unfortunately, my camera was more focused on the butterflies this day, but the first photo with the monarch shows a little of the leaf shape. Better photos showing the leaves and other plant parts will have to wait for next year. Continue reading Late-Blooming Thoroughwort Attracts Butterflies

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Winter Bouquet

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


FLOWERS ! fresh flowers, with your fragrance
Have ye come in your queenly robes to me ?
Me have ye sought from your far retreat,
With your greeting lips, and your dewy feet ;
And the upward glance of your radiant eye,
Like angel guests from a purer sky ?

But where did ye hide when the frost drew
And your many sisters were blanched with
Where did ye hide ? with a blush as bright
As ye wore amid Eden’s vales of light,
Ere the wile of the Tempter its bliss had
Or the terrible sword o’er its gate-way flam’d.

Flowers, sweet flowers, with your words of
Thanks to the friend who hath sent you here.
For this, may her blossoms of varied dye
Be the fairest and first ‘neath a vernal sky ;
And she be led, by their whispered lore,
To the love of that land where they fade no

Indeed, where do flowers come from in the cold of winter?

Mrs. Sigourney gives a higher purpose to flowers in that she aligns their sweetness with escaping the Tempter’s snares. To her, flowers are so sweet that they can help lead us to the ‘land where they fade no more’!

Love her descriptions that give such character to her flowers…queenly robes, greeting lips, and dewy feet…like angel guests.

Come back next Friday for the last installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “Farewell To The Flowers”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Ministry of Flowers

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


FLOWERS ! Flowers ! the poetry of earth,
   Impulsive, pure, and wild ;
With what a strange delight they fill
   The wandering, mirthful child ;
It clasps their leaflets close a while,
   Then strews them wide around ;
For life hath many a joy to spare
   Along its opening bound.

The maiden twines them in her hair,
   And, ‘mid that shining braid,
How fair the violet’s eye of blue,
   And the faint rose-bud’s shade,
Upon her polish’d neck they blush,
   In her soft hand they shine,
And better crown those peerless charms
   Than all Golconda’s mine.

Above the floating bridal veil
   The white Camella rears
Its innocent and tranquil eye,
   To calm young beauty’s fears,
And when her hoary age recalls
   The memories of that hour,
Blent with the heaven-recorded vow
   Will gleam that stainless flower.

The matron fills her chrystal vase
   With gems that Summer lends,
Or groups them round the festal board
   To greet her welcome friends,
Her husband’s eye is on the skill
   With which she decks his bower,
And dearer is his praise to her
   Than earth’s most precious flower.

Frail gifts we call them, prone to fade
   Ere the brief spring is o’er,
Though down the smitten strong man falls,
   Returning never more.
Time wears away the arch of rock,
   And rends the ancient throne,
Yet back they come, unchang’d, as when
   On Eden’s breast they shone.

How passing beautiful they are,
   On youth’s unclouded plain,
And yet we scarcely know their worth
   Till life is on its wane,
Then grows their love a deeper thing,
   As our lone path-way tends
Down ‘mid the withering plants of hope,
   And graves of buried friends.

Like ready comforters, they bend,
   If sorrow pales the cheek,
And to the sad, desponding heart
   An angel’s message speak,
While, to the listening mourner’s ear,
   They fondly seem to say
The words of those departed ones,
   Who sleep in mouldering clay.

We nurse them in our casement warm,
   When Winter rules the year,
And see them raise their graceful form,
   The darkest day to cheer ;
Within our coffin-lid they glow,
   When death hath had his will,
And o’er our pillow in the dust
   They bend and blossom still.

Yes, o’er our cradle-bed they creep,
   With rich and sweet perfume,
Around the marriage altar twine,
   And cheer the darksome tomb ;
They whisper to the faithful dead
   With their fresh, vernal breath,
That such his rising hour shall be,
   Through Him, who conquer’d death.

Flowers minister to us all the time.

In times of sickness we receive flowers that make us smile and feel better. In health we share good feelings with others by giving flowers.

Mrs. Sigourney observes that no matter the season of life we’re in, flowers often play a role.

Children play with them and strew their petals about — taking time to stop and smell the roses.

Life events like weddings, special anniversaries, receiving a newborn child, and happy graduations are celebrated with flowers.

Funerals and gravesides are marked with flowers to remind us of the Good News and to help take away frightening thoughts.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Winter Bouquet”.

Make Your Own Sunshine in the Darkening Days of Autumn

Tree leaves have been falling for a couple of weeks with most of them lying on the ground now. They sure have been pretty to look at but they blow around and make a mess of things.

Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves

Their bits and pieces will disintegrate into dust and before then they eject “stuff” into the air. I don’t know what it is but my running nose I blame on the leaves breaking down. There’s not a lot of things blooming right now, so the pollen that can make us sneeze and feel miserable is at a seasonal low. Is it leaf dust?

Autumn can be a bummer for those who dread winter’s cold dark days. Trading the heat of the summer for a chill in the air and lots more rain usually doesn’t help to put on a smile.

Daylight Savings Time ran out this past weekend. I wish we wouldn’t ever change the time clocks. It is so hard to get used to dusk at 5 o’clock in the evening.

Pets have to be re-trained to a new feeding time – Spring is so much easier than Fall – and any outdoor work has to be wrapped up too quickly for darkness comes fast in the afternoon.

How can you feel better when there are months of cold yet to come?

It’s all in the attitude, so try to think of these days as ones where we get to make our own sunshine. That was a saying from my grandmother that I hold close to my heart.

Go ahead, force a smile! You’ll feel better for it. :)

So, what will you be doing to make your own sunshine?

Take a little time to look around your place and do what you can to reduce clutter and clean things up. That always makes me feel better to see the place looking nice. Who wants to be stuck indoors in a dingy, dark cluttered place?

Here are a few ideas to make your indoor time a little more enjoyable:

  • Brighten up the house with some new lighting. At least be prepared with some fresh light bulbs to replace the burned out ones.
  • Get rid of stuff lying about to reduce clutter. Recycle or donate magazines and books, clothing and household items.
  • Clean out the food cupboard and find some cans of food to donate. There are hungry people in America and plenty of food drives need your help.
  • Set up a family game night or a fun-to-cook night once a week. All the participants will have something fun to look forward to.
  • Get your windows cleaned. You’ll appreciate looking out that kitchen window a whole lot more when the view is clear of dirt, dust and spiderwebs.
  • Plant some bulbs indoors, like Amaryllis or Paperwhites, and marvel at how fast they grow into beautiful flowers. Excellent project for children and adults. Take pictures as they grow!
  • Plant a couple of favorite herbs for the kitchen. A west-facing or southerly window works best to keep them fresh.

If cats are in the household for those last two ideas, good luck!

By the way a tip for cat-lovers is to make sure to provide your felines with a cat tower or kitty condo. If they have a place to call their own where they can scratch and do cat things, your life will be a whole lot easier.

At a minimum they need a scratchin’ post for them to mark with their claws, instead of using your furniture for that.

Somehow, those rope-wrapped posts are very attractive for scratching and marking one’s territory. Our cats have never clawed the furniture as they preferred to use the posts instead. A Cat Tower also provides a high place for the cats from where they can observe, feel safe, and nap in peace. What’s not to love?

Cats give me some sunshine on a dark winter day, so it’s important for me to make sure they’re happy, too.

So, recognize whatever it is that gives you sunshine on a cloudy day and pump it up.

Order Amaryllis bulbs soon for the best selection.

Keep them in a cool closet until you’re ready to wake them up, then have fun watching the bulbs grow into very attractive and colorful flowers.

Flower Poetry Fridays: Misletoe at The Tomb of Washington

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


DARK plant of Superstition’s shade,
    Why lift’st thou here the cheerless eye,
Where reeks no Druid’s purple blade,
To stain the Christian’s hallow’d shade,
    Or dim fair Freedom’s sky ?

Sacred to orgies blind and base,
    Where human blood was sternly spilt,
How dar’st thou seek this holy place ?
Rude parasite ! whose foul embrace
    Hast wreath’d the murderer’s hilt.

Where ancient Mona’s foliage wept,
    Or drear Stonehenge was wrapp’d in gloom,
Thy earthless root had fitter crept,
Thy mystic garland better slept,
    Than near a Christian tomb.

What though in Maro’s* fabled lore,
    To Troy’s bold chief thine aid was lent,
Who dauntless trod the infernal shore,
Where sad and frowning shades of yore
    Their date of anguish spent,

Yet we, to Pluto’s dreary coast,
    Passport from such as thee, disdain ;
We seek our hero ‘mid the host,
Where wails no grim and guilty ghost,
    On Heaven’s unclouded plain.

Lo ! watchful o’er his honor’d clay,
    A nation sheds the filial tear ;
And pilgrim’s kneel, and patriots pray,
And plants of glory drink the day,—
    Why dost thou linger here ?

In war the laurel wove his crest,
    The olive deck’d his sylvan dome,
The mournful cypress marks his rest,
Dark Misletoe ! the Druid’s guest,
    Hence ! seek some fitter home.

* The Viscum Album of Linnæus, or sacred misletoe of the
Druids, is the plant which was the passport of Æneas in his
descent to the Infernal Regions. See Æneid, Book 6th.

Today, we use ‘mistletoe’ instead of ‘misletoe’.

Hanging mistletoe at Christmastime to steal a kiss lends a happy meaning to this plant in modern times.

Here, Mrs. Sigourney thinks of mistletoe as a rude parasite with a foul embrace.

Perhaps her wariness here is regarding the parasitic nature of the plant. Surviving by stealing nutrients from a tall tree.

Maybe it’s the association of mistletoe with ancient druids as their ‘mystic garland’ that bothers her and therefore not fitting to be creeping around Washington’s Tomb.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Ministry of Flowers”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: Changes During Sickness

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


I BOW’D me down amid the race of life,
And let the fever-spirit have its will.
With wrench and screw the tissued nerves it
And held from sleep the strained and burning
So that the soft-voic’d watcher’s toil was vain.
Two weeks passed by, and then His healing
Who knows the weakness of this mortal frame
Which He hath fashioned, bade me take my
Again among the living.
                           Strange and new
Seemed every wonted object. All around
Change had been busy. Boldly up had sprung,
Even to the eaves, the rich Convolvolus,
So long with patience water’d, even and morn.
Its clustering floral bells, profoundly blue,
Or crimson, fleck’d with white, thro’ the broad
Were redolent of beauty. So, methought
I’d close my books, and study with the flowers,
Where sang the bee ; and where, for aught I
Might winged angels hover.
                           Closely hid
In a dense grape-vine, was a cunning nest,
Which oftimes I had visited, to strew
Crumbs for the brooding mother. On that
When fell disease stalk’d near me with his
Intent to smite me, tho’ I knew it not,
I had withdrawn those curtaining leaves, and
Her clear, bright eye.
                           Now, all were fled and gone !
Yes, those small eggs with gladness and with
Had travell’d forth to swell the tide of love
That bathes Creation in its boundless sea.
Oh ! ever-watchful goodness, that doth work
Whether we sleep, or, ‘neath the weight of
Bow down in dreamy reverie ; while time,
Unnoted, glideth onwards, nest and flower
Confess thee. Shall the thoughtless human
So much indebted, e’er thy praise forget,
Whether beneath the sunshine or the cloud,
It takes its lesson from thy page divine ?

The lesson seems to be that while you’re sick or ‘not living’ time still moves on…”while time, Unnoted, glideth onwards, nest and flower Confess thee. ”

Little birds find how to use their wings and they fly the nest with a happy song.

Flowers bloom and share their glory. The Convolvolus that she speaks of represents the bindweeds and Morning Glory.

Don’t be sad and gloomy, for the world will pass you by as time ticks on…and on.

Smile! And be Thankful!

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “To The Misletoe at The Tomb of Washington”.

WildeHerb is a collection of wild herb and wildflower sightings.