Sunday, May 6, 2012

Two Birds with One Flower

Herewith our first Columbine to mark the day (yesterday), when our plants migrated from basement and sunroom back out into the wilds of our backyard. A while back I discovered the merits of domestic recordkeeping, thus using a private blog. Such records are easily indexed and therefore forgotten things are rapidly retrieved. I can therefore now report that our plants went indoors on November 11 and spent six months in Egyptian exile as it were—well just six days shy of six months.

I discovered something wonderful about this plant today. It belongs to the genus Aquilegia, derived from the Latin for “eagle” but is known as Columbine, derived from the Latin for “dove.” (Well, all right all of you dyed-in-the-wool democrats. A pigeon.) These two names—and I have a third as well, but let it be hidden for the moment—derive from different aspects of the flower. The Aquilegia all have what are known as spurred petals, thus petals with a spike, and that formation reminded those who did the naming of eagles’ claws. The small inset, with thanks to Wikipedia (link) shows those spurs—the up-pointing green things. Calling this plant a dove probably comes from the beauty of the flower when it is open, as shown above. The third name no doubt comes from the way the flowers look when they’re just resting: Granny’s Bonnet.


  1. Lovely little pigeon! As I was scrolling down I was surprised to see one of my pictures. The house that door belongs to has been sold and refurbed. They've not done away with the door nor the tree, thank goodness, but everything looks much tidier these days. It was strange to think back again to the time when I took those photos, forever on the look out for wrought iron, funnier yet because I thought and spoke of it only yesterday when Malcolm and I went to see the Matisse exhibit at Beaubourg. Among forgotten things, I'd forgotten just how much I love Matisse and one reason might be his paintings of French windows with wrought iron arm rests! I loved your title too: Weavings of nature and of man! Lovely!

    1. One aspect of that collection, Michelle, is that among so many, the pictures lose their unique qualities -- which, however, emerge in full force when they are taken individually...


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