Bluespiral's blog: Flowers in Art & Literature

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 7:41 PM

I've often thought it would be fun if a Plant Files could have a category for paintings, poetry, etc. where a given flower has been celebrated. So, hopefully as days pass ahead, I'll be adding to this. Hopefully this will be self-explanatory, but let me know if not. Any corrections or thoughts or comments would be most welcome. Am starting with begonia today -



Bourgeois Begonia**, By Audrey Stallsmith contained this quote:

"And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;"
from "The Glory of the Garden"*** by Rudyard Kipling



Arthur Chaplin (French, 1869-1935) - Flower still life, oil on panel, 29,8 x 34,9 cm. 1906

In this painting, the reflection of moonlight on the roses seems to resemble the albedo effect of moon and sun light on planets. Doesn't the way the tiny forget-me-not flower arcs into the night sky suggest a meteor?
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signed M Rittershoffer 1888
(but could be Rittershofler; or first name could be Medard; originally I found this as painted by Alexandre Debrus)

This is a still life of pink roses on a hill overlooking a river in the moonlight, with pollen from the top rose's anthers wafting throughout the painting like gold fairy dust. In the aftermath of the vandalism upon our roses this year, this is a painting to soothe the loss.


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Henri le Sidaner

-- A Pavilion in the Rose Garden, Geberoy 1931

-- The White Garden in the Moonlight, Gerberoy circa 1925 - 1930
----- Well, who knows if there are any white roses in this one? If I recall correctly, Sidaner evolved through styles of impressionism to symbolism, among others, so maybe he was more after the effect of a white rose in the moonlight than a recognizable rose. In many cases, white alba roses can fill their vertical space, very much as in this painting.

SILENE (syn Agrostemma, Lychnis, Viscaria etc.)

cross-posted from Ask a Question forum ( The thread "Silene coeli-rosa 'Blue Angel'" in Ask a Question forum :

I have had difficulty finding seeds for this plant under the above name, and to see a cascade of blue down our slope from Blue Angel is a major garden wish of mine.

Evidently, this plant might be currently sold under different names. Is it possible that Silene coeli-rosa is the same as the following possible synonyms? -
-- Agrostemma githago
-- Lychnis githago
-- Silene githago
-- Viscaria oculata


There also seem to be quite a few other names that also may be this same plant. See

and See

Have all these names applied to Silene coeli-rosa at one time or another? Which one is currently accepted?

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It has also been known as Corn Cockle - possibly a wildflower found in European fields of grain and much loved especially in childrens' gardens

ps - in my search for Agrostemma githago, rendered in a painting, I found a publication (exhibition catalog?) entitled Gardens of the Gods, by Jean Cotelle 1646 - 1708 - [url=file:///home/chronos/u-aadcbdbf212cd7d77806f72d05cc503ff806d20e/Downloads/press_kit.pdf]file:///home/chronos/u-aadcbdb...[/url]

Now, who would have thought to find Agrostemma githago in those fancy, humongous gardens at Versailles in the 17th century? The website shows this corncockle in a diagram (said to be a summary for upper parteres) for a blue garden, growing among:

Delphinium pacific 'Giant Black Knight'
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Bloom'
Limonium sinuatum 'Royal Dark Blue'
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria'
Salvia uliginosa
Salvia patens 'Blue Angel'
Alstroemeria alba
Antirrhinum 'Rocket' ff Blanc
Cosmos blanc*
Agrostemma githago *Ocean Pearl* (Silene coeli-rosa currently accepted)
Ageratum Mexico blanc
Cosmos rose**
Lobelia x speciosa *Starship Deep Rose*
Ageratum Mexico rose
Astrantia major *Rosea*

Have fun.

pps - An inexpensive source of bulk seeds for this plant under the name of Viscaria oculata 'Blue Angel' is at -



Jean-Leon Gerome (French 1824 - 1904), The Tulip Folly

-- In the 1600s, tulipomania hit the Netherlands, and it's been said that a tulip could buy 12 acres of land and livestock and whatever remained in the kitchen sink. When the tulip market crashed, economic reversals were devastating - see Imho, tulip prices have been getting too pricey again, so it's worth noting that a frugal alternative for tulip lovers these days could be to sow seed of species tulips. Seed exchanges, like , are great sources of bulb seed and might be worth a try this fall.


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