5.01.2008

ranunculus reverence

as romantic as roses or peonies, but not nearly as commonplace, ranunculus are among my most favorite flowers. they are the many-petaled glorious beauties of spring ~ so this is certainly the time of year to give them some full attention.
brilliantly colored flowers on strong stems are ranunculus' chief attraction, and they are indeed special. they most often come in multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper thin petals ~ looking like an origami masterwork.

ranunculus (r. asiaticus) excel in southern and western gardens, and make terrific container plants everywhere. i have planted several in pots on my deck and although the wind is giving them a beating, they are still standing strong. they also make long-lasting cut flowers {up to 7 days once cut} and open a whole array of creative options for arrangements. bulbs are widely available in fall at retail nurseries in mild-winter climates, or in fall and early spring from mail-order catalogs. you can purchase seeds of certain varieties or even some that have already started at a nursery.

i was intrigued to find out the roots of the name, being as how ranunculus is kind of an odd word, so i dug out of stearn's dictionary of plant names that in latin "rana" means frog and ranunculus is a small frog. but the flower doesn't resemble a frog at all. so how could the two have been connected? i haven't found a reasonable explanation {yet} but here's one interesting connection that i like from the story of the asian prince:
'in fairy tales frogs are apt to change into princes and it was an asian prince in just such a story who gave his name to this flower, which grows naturally in swampy ground. the prince was so good-looking that he was loved by everyone. he also had a beautiful voice but this was his undoing. he loved the open country and sang delightful songs in the presence of nymphs. he did not have the courage to declare his love to them and this haunted him so much that he died. after his death he was changed into the flower with delicate tissuey petals which bears his name.'
according to the victorian language of flowers, a bouquet of ranunculus means "i am dazzled by your charms"

well, dear ranunculus, i am dazzled by your charms, most profoundly. and to you dear blogging friends: what are some of your favorite flowers?

7 comments:

tangobaby said...

Well, now ranunculas, of course!

Actually, I really love little flowers, like forget-me-nots and lily of the valley. And real garden roses in yellow and peach.

Rebecca G said...

ranunculus is one of my favorites too! I was so excited last spring when i learned the name to go with those jillion-petaled beauties! I guess now the secret's out ;)

xoxxo r

studio wellspring said...

tangobaby ~ lily of the valley are one of my all time faves! there's a sweet little song i used to sing all the time when i was a little girl & i even planted them in my own lil' girl garden that my parents let my sister & i have along side their grown-ups garden. and i have some just popping up out of a little pot on my deck right now. ;o)

studio wellspring said...

hi darling rebecca ~ so good to hear from you! secrets this good rarely stay secrets for long. ;o)

Relyn said...

Actually, I adore ranunculus - especially yellow ranunculus. They are so voluptuous and delicate at the same time. Rather like an amazing feat of engineering. Other than that, I adore flowers, especially old-fashioned ones like would grow in a fairy-tale grandmother's garden. My favorite likely depends on which one I am looking at at the moment. I love lilacs, roses, grape hyacinth, Casablanca lilies, and lily of the valley - all for their scent and beauty. I love snapdragons and honeysuckle for the happy memories they conjure. I love lavender for all you can do with it. I love parrot tulips and orchids for their exotic beauty. I think wisteria is the most beautiful of all flowers. I love happy faced pansies and marigolds and nastursiams for their easy of growing and usefulness. I adore gardinias for the glamour they evoke as well as their beauty and scent. I could go on....

Thanks for the chance for some happy musing. Have a great weekend.

studio wellspring said...

oh relyn i would so love to visit your garden.... it sounds entirely delightful!

Stitch 'n Dye said...

How beautiful to see all those beautiful pictures of one of my favourite flowers - ranunculus:)