Blossoms That Queue

….or Getting Your Blooms in a Row

As I reviewed the photos I took of our spring garden yesterday morning, I began to notice a pattern. There seems to be several plants in bloom with flowers that line up like shoppers in a queue, or clothes hanging on a line. There’s not much I like better than a row of like things; a complete set. (Now don’t be diagnosing me folks.)

Solomon’s Seal

When I was younger, Solomon’s seal blossoms reminded me of Jill’s bloomers (Jill of “Jack and Jill went up the hill” fame) which were exposed when she tumbled down said hill. They still do. The scientific name for Solomon’s Seal is polygonatum. At first glance this word looks like it might have something to do with ‘many’ (poly) ‘gonads’ (gonatum) but Wiki tells me the name is derived from the Greek ‘many knees’. It is without a doubt the most pleasing fragrance in the garden right now. Not to be confused with the strongest fragrance which is the lilac. I’m not too fussy about the smell of lilacs.

Are they white or are they blue bells? Only your florist knows for sure!*

I was calling these flowers lily-of-the-valley but now think that they are actually white bluebells. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as white bluebells. The oxymoron** appeals to me and always reminds me of Dad joking about unripe blueberries saying with his devilish grin “d’ose blue berries are white because they’re green!” The bluebell blossoms are a little less organized on the stalk, more higgledy piggledy, like daycare kids holding a string waiting to cross the road. Also sweet smelling. The flowers, not the daycare kids.

Bleeding hearts.

I suppose I can see why these are called bleeding hearts (lamprocapnos spectabilis) but here is the colour confusion again. Is blood not red? Are these hearts not dripping white? Is albino blood red or white? So many unanswered questions. Now this scientific name makes sense to me. Lamprocapnos. Lamp caps. They do remind me of Chinese lanterns and caps from the time of Genghis Khan.

*a reference to an old Clairol hair colour ad which said “Does she or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”

**is this truly the correct use of the word oxymoron? Is the white flower really contradictory or is it just unusual? Only your linguist knows for sure. Email your opinion on the matter to

© Judy Parsons 2016

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