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Who remembers, as a child, picking daisies and, while plucking away a petal at a time, reciting “He loves me, He loves me not”? This flower-child activity is something that must be rooted in the nature-worship of the Romantic Poets. 

Blake, Wordsworth, and Tennyson all immortalized certain flowers in their poetry. These titans of the Romantic Period dedicated their lives to individuality, love, and a deep reverence for beauty. They also left behind poems that will last forever. These lines of verse are wonderful inspirations for choosing spring and summer bouquets. 

So, what were some of the Romantics’ favorite blossoms?

  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Wildflowers
  • Lilies

(Pixabay)

The Romantic Movement (late 18th and early 19th century) was characterized by a worship of nature, great emotion, and love of bucolic beauty. William Blake (1757-1827) was well known for his masterpiece of poetry (accompanied by paintings) called Songs of Innocence and Experience (1789). In “Ah, Sun-flower!” he wrote: 

 “Ah Sun-flower! weary of time, 

Who countest the steps of the Sun: 

Seeking after that sweet golden clime 

Where the travelers’ journey is done. 

Where the Youth pined away with desire, 

And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: 

Arise from their graves and aspire, 

Where my Sunflower wishes to go.”

  • The sunflower is one of the friendliest flowers and is sure to brighten anyone’s day; it’s also a popular summer favorite. Did you know that young sunflowers actually turn their heads toward the direction of the sun? What a romantic gesture of nature! Turn to Chelsea Flowers for the perfect Bright and Colourful bouquet complete with sunflowers and roses.
  • After reading Blake’s “The Pretty Rose Tree,” one must long for roses in May:

“A flower was offered to me, 

Such a flower as May never bore; 

But I said, ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’ 

And I passed the sweet flower o’er.  

Then I went to my pretty rose tree, 

To tend her by day and by night; 

But my rose turned away with jealousy, 

And her thorns were my only delight.”

  • A popular tree that blooms in summer and is covered with “roses” is the elegant Rose of Sharon and is actually known as a “Common Hibiscus.” It was collected long ago in Syria and is native to China but now blooms all over as a transplant. 
  • Wildflowers are always common in spring and summer and are definitely bouquet-worthy! There’s nothing more quaint than a simple arrangement of hand-picked daisies, purple and crimson clover, Echinacea (or “coneflowers”), asters, and columbine. 

(Photo: Weheartit.com)

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “The Flower” praises wildflowers (that may be considered by some as a simple weed): 

“Once in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed…”

Romance from Chelsea Flowers 

  • Lily Arrangement: with dark pink stargazers, no bouquet could be lovelier and, as Blake wrote “Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.” (For those with allergies: snip off the dusty pollen-covered anthers in the center and enjoy!)

  • Country Style Wildflowers are a terrific Tennyson-esque choice. Carnations, star-shaped Ornithogalum, Santini (chrysanthemums), and mixed greenery create a lush and vibrant arrangement reminiscent of an English country cottage.

  • Bright and Colourful: The most exquisite combination of sunflowers, red roses, and blue thistle is an ideal spring/summer present.

  • Yellow Roses: For the perfect jocund company, these do the trick!

 

For more information on the topics explored in this blog, consult the links below:

From Chelsea Flowers: