Bluespiral's blog

New Addition to my Flowers in Art and Literature blog
Posted on Oct 14, 2018 9:11 AM

The new entry is the genus, Silene, where I hope you will find a link to Jean Cotelle's (1646 - 1708) Gardens and Gods, among other aspects of Versailles and gardens of that period, from the perspective of the painter. I found it while searching for Silene coeli-rosa 'Blue Angel' - hope you enjoy traveling along with me looking for Blue Angel in 17th century Versailles.

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Music in the Garden
Posted on Jun 21, 2018 6:46 AM

In this murder mystery/love story, is a haven of peace, solace and joy: a grape arbor within an old-fashioned Turkish garden, under which a family gathers to share their lives as time moves along. This scene will come to a song, "Don't stir my heart with sorrow and tears", sung by brothers and accompanied by the oud.

Possibly the oud originated 3500 years ago in Persia and is the predecessor of modern stringed instruments as we now know them. Modern Turkey is geographically located within the same place occupied by Persia so long ago. So, to me, when I listen to this music, I'm listening to 3500 years of history - maybe the same music heard by ancestors of these characters in the same place?

And how old might the concept of the garden as haven be? Perhaps the garden of Eden in the bible? 'Garden as Haven' is another theme going back into forgotten time and still very much alive in the hearts of gardeners everywhere. I just think this garden, with its grape arbor over the brothers and their music, is too beautiful not to share. Hope y'all enjoy it. - Scroll to 1:06:28

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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?

- - - - - - - - -
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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Requiem for a Venerable Old Foster Holly and Contractors
Posted on Aug 15, 2014 9:47 AM

Her branches lie butchered on the ground beneath a ragged skeleton of trunk and a few mangy twigs on top. Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens' grew improbably to a gorgeous, thick stature, under white pines, besieged by deer, critters and vandals and dumping, with never any watering besides Mother Nature's rain. I realize the contractor currently in the process of tearing down a collapsing ruin and rebuilding a new sturdy structure in its place had no choice, as the accessway it now straggles upon is only 15-16' wide on a steep slope, with nowhere else to work.

So much beauty, gone after surviving such impossible conditions for 20 years - the loppers must only have taken a few minutes.

If you get a chance to plant a holly, I can't recommend this one enough. It's flowers are self-pollinating, in contrast to most other hollies, among which a plant is either female or male, but not both.

October 26, 2017

My garden, as well as anything else we own outdoors, is now going into its 4th year of vandalism. All my garden dreams are now trashed, with no hope of whoever is doing this stopping. So, I would like to thank Frenchy21, for making me laugh and for staying hopeful, for her wonderful avatar of a helmeted mouse, contemplating its next charge upon a piece of cheese in a mousetrap:

Frenchy21, thank you - may those of us who love gardening never give up our dreams, even if we can't be allowed to garden on our own plot of dirt. Keeping up with this vandal is not gardening - it's maintenance a la Sisyphus and Torquemada.

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The Shining and Glowering of the color Orange in Flowers in Art
Posted on Jul 9, 2014 5:36 AM

The internet has allowed me to appreciate flowers in painting, and I hope this will be as much fun for readers as it has been for me to take a journey with the color Orange through the following webpage: - - where we note various hues of orange, apricot, peach etc. in contrasting hues of blue, including darkening sky violets and clear day-turquoise. Please forgive errors, and all corrections, answers and comments will be welcome. The following remarks are in order of the paintings as they occur on the above noted webpage.

Edmond Van Coppenolle (Belgian, 1846 - 1914) - #3 wallflower?

Jean-Baptiste Robie(1821-1910) #1, #4 wallflowers; #5 peach/apricot shadows in roses?

Louis Letsch (German, 1856-1940) #2 orange-shadowed hearts in purple violets

Julien Stappers (1875-1960) #3 zinnias (not reason for this note, but while I'm at it...)

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Hans Zatzka
-- #1 - bad scan here, but still the apricot tribe travels magically from copper bowl through flowers, in contrast to the turquoise sky.
-- #4 - turquoise
-- Elsewhere, look at how orange travels from tulip to copper bowl, against contrasting hues in darkening sky:

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Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746) - Orange is traveling through marigolds, picoteed poppies, carnations and two I can't identify. Can anyone identify the one that looks like a tassel flower (Emilia?) and another toward the top that looks like a globular cluster of orange/scarlet rayed flowers? Charcoal clouds gathering among darkening turquoise-y sky contrast dramatically.

Otto Eckmann (1865-1902) - Orange, Scarlet and Black-Crimson blaze through 5-leaf creeper, dahlias and orange-ish vertical stones(?) of possibly some castle wall hanging over some possible Bulgarian gorge lol.

MAX CARLIER ( 1872-1939) - not too fond of foody still lifes, but oranges do have their place in this note.

David de Noter (1818–1892) - #2 nasturtiums, contrasting with a nebulous shrubbery in right-background that looks like some purple-leaved shrub going rust-orange in fall. Does cotinus do that in full sun?

Siegfried Detlev Bendixen (1786-1864) - Orange begins its journey on this canvas in the vase - is that Abutilon (Flowering Maple)? Below the pot, brown burns in the poppy and the orange goes chocolate in another flower to the right and back, for which I'd love to have an identification. The earthenware pot darkens with orange at the base, just above an orange-tinted, beige/cream table (ecru?).

Ellen Ladell (British, ?-1853) - Butterfly wings set the clear orange theme, which tints the brownish woodsy background (umber?), as well as carrying the dusky red rose far away from clear pink.

Georges Antonio Lopisgich, ( 1854 - 1913) - This one is what got me started on this blog. The blues dissolve in mist, while the heart of the far right rose has been thickly slathered with a furnace-bright orange, from which the light of this canvas seems to emanate.

Jan Frans van Dael (1764-1840)
-- #1 - nice contrast between orange rim of primrose and blue of lilac.
-- #2 - Coppery orange reflects from flames of tulips and vase/bowl, while mingling with yellow-ish nasturtiums.

Adéle de LAPORTE (1842 - 1870) - Can anyone identify that tiny orange flower extending on frail stems from the vase at the lower right? If I remember correctly, Anagallis arvensis has a blue phase and an orange phase - are we looking at the orange phase of A. arvensis?

Cornelis van Spaendonck (1756-1840)
-- #1 Few flowers "do" orange better than the Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis), at the top of this arrangement. (One of my favorite plays of orange against blue is Van Gogh's Vase of Fritillarias - )
-- #2 - another flow of orange from anemone(?) and poppy to ecru of box and copper of vase

Leopold von Stoll (1828-1869) - This painting is one of my favorite paintings, and orange deserves all the drama here afforded. Beginning with the "crest" of the ginger at the top, like some exotic bird, orange then echoes in the sage (Salvia splendens 'van Houttei'?) to a dahlia and then revs up with a black dahlia, but cools down with flowers in various blues from lilac to turquoise. All of these blues moil about with clouds and sky above, hinting at some great event to come. The orange ginger and salvia, along with the black dahlia, would amount to far less if not for that white phlox between them.

Аукционное, неизвестный художник - foody still lives - See squash and orange-ish tints in grape and corn leaves.

Olga Koudacheff -
-- #1 Orange flecks in the carnations contrast with blue in their stems.
-- #2 Orange informs these pelargoniums.

Georg Albert Dorschfeldt (1898-1979) - wildflowers? Orange in poppies near top and possibly in Anagallis arvensis again.

If you got this far, thanks for reading this and I look forward to answers to my questions or any other ruminations.

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