The Purple Iris: Symbol Of Wisdom

There are roughly 300 species and more than 50,000 varieties of the iris flower, beardless and bearded, the latter with a fuzzy petal that hangs down. They range from plants up to five feet tall and dwarfs of only eight inches. The bearded variety reproduces through swollen roots, while the beardless iris has a rhizome, […]

Dogwood: Symbol Of Equanimity

The dogwood tree belongs to the genus family Cornus, a French and Latin word for “horn,” which includes 30-60 hardwood trees and shrubs of both deciduous and evergreen varieties. The trees are native throughout the world and gained the name “dogwood” because dogs were unable to consume their fruits. Native Americans began planting crops, corn […]

The Bald Cypress: Symbol Of Transition

  Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina The bald cypress is a member of the Baldcypress Family, which is related to Dawn and Giant Redwoods with ancestors dating back to the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. They’re called “bald” because the leaves, looking like needles, fall off every year. The trees grow 13-24 […]

The Tulip: Symbol Of Love

The tulip story begins in Central and Western Asia when the bulbs were brought to Turkey by nomadic tribes about 500 years ago. The Turks considered them to be jewels, but it was the Persians who named them “tulipant,” their word for turban which described the shape of the flower they often wore in their […]

The Magnolia Tree: Symbol Of Endurance

“Southern” Magnolia Blossom The Magnolia genus is at least 100 million years old. Bees and butterflies didn’t exist then, so the trees relied upon beetles for pollination. Their early ancestors, one of the first flowers on earth, lived on the supercontinent of Pangaea 250 million years ago, then spread to Laurasia (Europe and Asia) 200 […]

Soil: Literally And Symbolically The “Ground”

Soils are “living” systems—a combination of ground minerals and organic matter that began to form in the Cambrian Explosion (550 mya) after a mass extinction of life-forms between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. Today, soils are to the land what plankton are to the oceans—the bottom or ground of the food chain. On average, […]

The Pansy Flower: A Reminder To Remember

Perhaps because Pansies are annuals and small, those of us who aren’t gardeners can easily miss the beauty and the message they carry. I only became aware of them when, beginning many years ago, Linda began to plant them in her garden and in a long flower box on our front porch where they greeted […]