Called “girasol” in French, because the head of the flower turns toward the sun.
Thank you, Mr. Blake for this poem.
William Blake : Ah! Sunflower
Ah! sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire;
Where my sunflower wishes to go.
William Blake (1757-1827) P. 1793
If you’re an old fart like me, you learned this poem from the Fug’s record, and not when you studied poetry in school. Go listen to the Swinburne Stomp, also Fuggian, if you want a good time sometime.
It’s almost the first of July, so it’s appropriate to say “hello” to the calendula, or pot marigold.
The calendula is named after the calendar, because in its homeland of Macaronesia, it may be seen blooming on almost any first day of the month. Did you know there is a Macaronesia as well as a Micronesia? I didn’t. Macaronesia consists of the Azores, the Savage Islands, the Canaries, the Cape Verdes, and Madeira. The name is Greek, for the “islands of the fortunate”.
The daylily. Every part of the plant is edible. And the flower comes in a full palette of colors. You can get them giant, you can get them dwarf. Books have been written about them, and careers built with manipulating their genes.
The hemerocallis. “Beautiful for a Day” is what the scientific name means. You can find “calli”, for beautiful, in other words. Like “callipygian”, which means “beautiful buttocks”. There are famous statues by the name. The original Greek bronze one is unfortunately lost, so we may never know exactly what the “number ten bum” of the Greeks might have looked like.
An unsung flower is the potato. We look at their backsides, as a segue from the callipygian theme.
Fort Fairfield, Maine, has an annual Potato Blossom Festival. It’s a big deal, and lasts for days. This year’s festival starts July 14th. If you’re in Maine, perhaps you owe it to yourself to attend some portion of this incredible North American Event.
The “Fioriana” flour corn is showing first tassels. Corn pollen is sacred to many Native Americans. The Navaho make a cake with corn pollen, for a girl’s coming-of-age celebration.
We close with an image of sunlit daisies.
Daisy is a contraction for “day’s eye”, the flower’s older name.