There are more than 70 species of Papaver. Poppies mainly grow in the Northern hemisphere. One of my favourites was cultivated by Artist and gardener Sir Cedric Morris – Papaver Rhoeas – Cedric Morris. He was a keen poppy hunter and scoured the Suffolk countryside for variations in the common field poppy. He bred a range with a smoky-grey sheen to the petals, but the Ladybird Poppy (Papaver Commutatum) comes a close second.
No-one is entirely sure how the plant got its name. Its scientific name is Digitalis. The flower looks like a thimble and can be fitted over a finger (Latin name – Digitus). Then there is a fairytale about a fox, who placed the flowers over his paws like gloves, to sneak up on its prey. The Anglo-Saxon name for foxglove is ‘glofa’ (the glove of a fox).
A rose-pink sunflower. Helianthus is derived from two Greek words, ‘helios’ meaning sun and ‘anthos’ meaning ‘flower.’ There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding the sunflower, from Greek to South American. I rather like this one retold by a blogger called Hesaraghatta:
The story of the sunflower
This story is from the Greek Mythology. The story of unconditional love that was never returned.
Apollo was the son of Zeus, the king of all Gods and Men. Apollo was the Sun God. He had a palace in the eastern direction and would ride his chariot of Gold and Ivory everyday in the skies from East to West. In the evening, he would end his journey at the far sea on the western end and would come back home on his Golden boat. He was admired by one and all as he was believed to spread love and life to every being. He was known for his youthful and manly beauty. He had golden hair and was the most handsome person that anyone had come across. He was loved by all and a water nymph called Clytie was immensely in love with Apollo. She would watch him with unblinking eyes as he moved across the sky. He looked all the more handsome to Clytie.
Unfortunately, Apollo ignored Clytie and never returned her love. Apollo was in love with Daphne, the beautiful daughter of a water God. Unfortunately for Apollo, Daphne did not return his love. When Apollo tried to forcefully convince Daphne, she asked her father to help her. He in turn, turned her into a plant. Apollo was heartbroken and his sorrow knew no bounds. Clytie continued to watch Apollo as he passed through the sky. She sat on a rock for nine days without food and water and just kept looking at Apollo as he passed in the sky. Eventually, she was turned into a flower, which came to be known as the Sunflower.
It is believed that even to this day, the Sunflower keeps looking at the sun from the moment the sun rises till he sets.
Here Sweet Peas are climbing;
(Here’s the Sweet Pea Rhyme)
Here are little tendrils,
Helping them to climb.
Here are sweetest colours;
Fragrance very sweet;
Here are silky pods of peas,
Not for us to eat!
(Cicely Mary Barker)
These Sweetpeas are called Lathyrus odoratus ‘Matucana.’ They were growing in the National Trust – Sissinghurst Castle gardens.
I have been growing some Heirloom Sweetpeas. They have proved to be relatively hardy following the recent heatwave. The plant has produced delicate, sweet-smelling flowers compared with the other scorched plants in the garden. There are all kinds of sweet pea from novelty, to highly scented. As the fairy poem points out, they are not edible.