The Queen of Flowers - the Rose
Our 'Romancing Herb" series ends today with the Rose, the Queen of Flowers and the undisputed floral symbol of love. The Society of American Florists predicts that nearly 198 million roses will be sold for Valentine’s Day. There is so much information about roses that one could write a book about their origin, symbolism, legend and lore. So I did! Ode to a Rose is my tribute to this glorious flower.
The rose is a perfect example of beauty, romance and sensuous living. She is a vision of delight, her petals are velvet, her fragrance is divine and her delicate flavor is sublime. I've just discovered Victorian Rose tea at Baltimore Coffee and Tea, and it has become my unrivaled favorite.
For Valentine's Day, i wish you all the gifts the rose offers - love, friendship, beauty, romance and sensuous pleasures. Happy Valentine's Day!
Two days ago I posted about violets, and since then I've been working on a project in honor of this delicate flower. She has such versatility, presence and power. Her impact is really rather remarkable considering she only blooms for a short time each year. This little herb of Venus has influenced history, brought beauty and romance into our lives, and inspired Shakespeare, among others.
Sonnet 99 by William Shakespeare
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.
Violets have over two hundred folk names and most of them are reminiscent of sex or love. In addition, their leaves are heart shaped, giving them a place of honor in our Romancing Herbs series in honor of Valentine's Day!
Like the rose, the color of the violet has great significance in sending messages. Blue violets promise "My love will always be true", purple send the message, "I return your love." White signifies "I'm willing to take a chance on happiness". They also represents modesty and humility as they hide their spectacular beauty under heart shaped leaves.
One story comes from Venus asking her son Cupid if he thought she was more attractive than a group of maidens playing along the edge of the woods. He said he found the maidens to be more beautiful so she beat them until they were blue. Since then, because of their association with Venus, they have been associated with love and romance. Huh?
Another legend suggests at one time violets were white, but Mary's grief at seeing the suffering of Jesus on the cross turned them all blue. She has been associated with the modesty of the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel, the Holy Trinity, and Greek and Roman legends and lore. Athens has been referred to as the "Violet Crowned City" Napoleon returned from exile in the spring and used the violet in a secret code to determine loyalty. This tiny, delicate little flower has an endless significance in all aspects of history.
In addition to the legends, there are recipes for aphrodisiacs, love portions, candied violets, beauty products. I had planned to do the iris this spring, similar to the Rose legend and lore e-book, but the violet may win out!
My favorite use for violets is sprinkled on a tossed green salad when she first appears in the spring. She is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants. Add strawberries, orange sections, and avocado. My poppy seed dressing from an earlier blog post is the perfect salad dressing.
All parts of the orange are used to attract love! Fresh blossoms are used in bouquets and baths. Dried blossoms, seeds and dried peels are used in sachets and potpourris. The juice of the orange can be mixed with wine or enjoyed alone to increase love and lust.
The orange is one of the Aquarius zodiac herbs, particularly prized for adding sunshine during a time of year that can be filled with gray days for many of us. In addition, this golden fruit is also prized for attracting wealth and abundance! Love, lust, health, wealth, and abundance - what more could we want?
If you're preparing your shopping list for your Valentine's dinner, don't forget the radishes! In addition to their zingy flavor, they add a splash of color. This bouquet of "Easter egg" radishes includes rosy red, fuchsia, lavender, purple and white.
Radishes contribute more than simply color and flavor. They are prized for their ability to increase lust. A few radishes in a salad or as a garnish may bring the benefits of spring fever a few weeks early. It's worth a try!
Carrying a mullein leaf will attract the opposite sex. You can also determine a person’s interest by finding a mullein stalk growing in the vicinity of your intended’s house. Bend the plant in the direction of their home and if they are interested, the plant will return to it’s upright position. (The trick here is not to bend it too far!)
Note: For those of you casting spells this Valentine's day, the dried leaves of mullein can be crumbled and substituted for graveyard dust. Handy to know if you live in colder climates and the ground is frozen.
Mint has been associated with romance since the beginning of time. The first caveman grabbed a sprig to chew to keep his breath fresh before bashing his beloved on the head and dragging her off by the hair. Now you can find it in breath mints and it's used to settle an upset stomach (possibly simply butterflies from being in the presence of that special someone)!
I think of mint as the ideal honeymoon herb. It provides protection during travels, and induces lust! once the couple arrives at the honeymoon suite. Added bonus - if either the bride or groom develop a headache, due to excessive celebrating at the wedding, mint leaves rubbed on the forehead will provide relief!
These delicate little flowers, hiding innocently under their protective leaves, have been reputed to have some serious powers! In a 2003 study by American and German scientists, their fragrance was credited with not only attracting sperm, but causing the little guys to double their speed in hot pursuit! The study. called the "Lily of the Valley Phenomena" was recently declared false, stating that scents have no roll in fertilization.
Nonetheless, the Lily of the Valley has been carried in wedding bouquets to ensure fertility for centuries. The beautiful Kate Middleton carried these exquisite flowers in her bouquet and apparently they were effective! She has given birth to a prince, a princess, and is expecting another, with a rumor of twins, in September 2018!
Personally, I am relieved that the phenomena has been disassociated with fertility. I'm well past the age when that has any appeal and it is a relief to know I can safely wear one of my favorite fragrances with no concern about consequences!
Maybe? Maybe Not? NO!
This herb sends mixed messages, being prized for it's powers of both fertility and chastity. It has been called called the May Bush and also the Tree of Chastity, which implies "Maybe not!" Actually, "No!"
Legend has it that If the leaves are placed under the mattress, chastity AND fertility will result . . . Confused? I am . . . . . I can only think of one time when that worked . .
Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!