22.5.10

~Come into the Garden, Maud~



 
 The generic name of Aquilegia is derived from the Latin aquila (an eagle), the spurs of the flowers being considered to resemble an eagle's talons. The popular name, Columbine, is from the Latin columba (a dove or pigeon), from the idea that the flowers resemble a flight of these birds. A still older name, Culverwort, has the same reference, wort being the Saxon word for a plant and culfre meaning a pigeon.
The Columbine is a favourite old-fashioned garden-flower, being mentioned by Tusser (1580) among a list of flowers suitable 'for windows and pots', Parkinson, in 1629, speaks of the many varieties grown in gardens.

It was one of the badges of the House of Lancaster and also of the family of Derby. The flower is referred to in Hamlet and in one of Ben Jonson's poems:

'Bring cornflag, tulip and Adonis flower,
Fair Oxeye, goldylocks and columbine.'

---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Astringent. It has been employed on the continent, but according to Linnaeus, with very unsatisfactory results, children having sometimes been poisoned by it when given in too large doses. It is no longer used.

Culpepper tells us:
'The leaves of Columbine are successfully used in lotions for sore mouths and throats. . . . The Spaniards used to eat a piece of the root thereof in a morning fasting many days together, to help them when troubled with stone. The seed taken in wine with a little saffron removes obstructions of the liver and is good for the yellow jaundice.'


These ghostly beauties are back in abundance, having self seeded like mad last year.
I found the reference above attributed to Mrs. Margaret (Maud) Grieve from her book A Modern Herbal, and dated to the early 1900's. I love their gentle fragrance, she likens it to fresh hay.
 I've always called them Columbines rather than the Latin name, but I am taken with the Saxon name, and since theirs' is the blood that runs in my veins, from now on I'll think of them as Culverwort.

KAI, did you plant your seeds, and have they grown?

8 comments:

  1. They look so fresh and pure. White and green always remind me of spring.

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  2. Love the white. I have a yellow Columbine sitting with me here on my desk, so beautiful.

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  3. No luck. Well, you've seen my mangled mess of a property. Weed farm.
    Tonight, J was out armed with a spray gun just bustin' all the weeds he could. He has ordered a truck load of soil to overseed the lawn with...! Next stop, landscaping. So if you could help when the time comes, I'd so appreciate it. I'm flower stymied. :D
    I love Columbine, morning glories, sweet peas...and rambling roses. :D
    xxoo Kisses to you and FATHAH.....xo!

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  4. BTW, your garden makes me envious everytime I see it!!!! Your peaceful birdsong filled, green and lush and tree laden property is making me jealous. SO!!!!

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  5. How beautiful they are. We call them Grannies' Bonnets! x

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  6. Beautiful photos, Sheila. I love columbine, they remind me of my mother and childhood. I really should plant some.

    Hugs,
    Donna

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  7. I love columbines. They have a special significance for me. When I was little, and living in N Devon, we had lots of columbines along the edge of our very long entrance lane, and my dad and I used to play a game we called "Peep behind the Columbine", hiding behind the flowers, then jumping out and "scaring" each other and shouting "Peep behind the Columbine"!!!

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  8. How lovely!
    I wish I could see your yard!!
    :D

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Thank you for visiting. It's always good to have company!