Columbines


“I am that flower, — That mint, — That columbine.”

William Shakespeare — Loves Labour Lost Act V, Scene 2

The ‘columbine’ holds significance- in pantomime, a ‘columbine’ refers to the sweetheart of Harlequin. The term ‘columbine’ is derived from its Latin source – ‘columba’ which means ‘ a dove’. In fact, closely related to the religious connotation of the flower ‘columbine’, the term ‘columbarium’ (derived from it) signifies a ‘dovecot’ or a ‘niche for a sepulchral urn’.

Columbine is the symbol of foolishness, based on the flower’s resemblance to a jester’s cap and bells. It was considered bad luck to give this flower to a woman. Fallen spurs of the columbine looked like the Virgin Mary’s Shoes and received that name. They were said to have sprung up where Mary’s feet touched the earth when she was on her way to visit Elizabeth. The spurred flowers resembled the tiny doves and came to represent the Holy Spirit. The flower also symbolized the innocence of Mary. The petals of the Columbine symbolize the gifts of the Spirit.

Skirting the rocks at the forest edge
With a running flame from ledge to ledge,
Or swaying deeper in shadowy glooms,
A smoldering fire in her dusky blooms;
Bronzed and molded by wind and sun,
Maddening, gladdening every one
With a gypsy beauty full and fine,—
A health to the crimson columbine!

Elaine Goodale, Columbine.

How are things growing?


The garden is very white, entirely unintended.  The columbine has come beautifully this year.  The last two it struggled as a result of getting wind born spray meant to control the dandelions in the lawn.  They don’t bother me, but hubby insisted.

There are a few Lily of the Valley left after the front was replanted.  The Anenomes are huge this year, possibly due to the winter kill thinning them down to much smaller clumps.  I love the hint of mauve toward the centres.

The Icelandic Poppies are blooming profusely, almost all of them are white.  Once the blue and purple Delphinium start blooming they will compliment perfectly.

I am so pleased with the little Violas I picked up at the greenhouse this year.  They are vibrant little bunches that bloom, and bloom and bloom, not getting leggy at all.  They are so sweet, a long time favourite.  It brings to mind my grandmother’s garden and the long beds of pansies along the walk to the front door.  Every time I visited while they were in bloom I would beg permission to pick a bouquet.  Some times, not too often, she would say yes.

The flower beds are not entirely white, there are patches of colour here and there.  Only one of four bleeding hearts survived.  I think the application of herbicide mentioned earlier contributed greatly to the demise of the one in the front garden.  The survivor at the back fence is flourishing.  I am a bit concerned about it however, as an equally large Delphinium is crowding it out.  We’ll have to see how they get along this summer.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, purple is my favourite colour.  I am thrilled with the very dark purple, almost black columbines that I planted last year and returned healthy and robust this year.  Late tulips in the front garden are almost the same colour.  Things definitely are growing well!

And…the chives are blooming!