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regal button Regal Lilies
Lilium regale
Family: Liliaceae
Common name: ~Trumpet Lily~

Regal lily has a story behind it. Ernest Wilson, an English collector of the early 1900's risked his life for the these lilies. He found them in the mountains of Szechuan, China.
As he and his party of hired Chinese made their way down a steep trail, a boulder fell from above and landed on his leg, breaking it in two places. The situation grew even worse as a mule train of some 50 animals came up the path from the other direction. The trail was too narrow for the mules to turn around, too narrow even for the Chinese to prop Wilson against the rock wall to let the animals pass. So they laid the collector crosswise on the path and the herd stepped one by one over his helpless body. The lilies made it back safely, but the episode left Wilson with one leg shorter than the other and a gait he called his ~lily limp.~

yellrose button Rose
Rosa hybrida
Family: Rosaceae

There is a Talmudic legend, that tells how the rose became red. At midnight before the vernal equinox, when Cain and Abel were to make their offerings to the Lord, their mother, Eve had a vision. She saw a little lamb bleeding its life away on Abel's altar, and the white roses he had planted about it were suddenly full blown and red. Voices cried about her, as in despair, but they died away and only a wonderful music was heard instead. Then, as the shadows lifted from her eyes, a vast plain unfolded, more beautiful than the paradise she had left, and grazing there were flocks watched by a shepherdwhose robe of white was so fine and shining that the eye was dazzled by it. He wore a wreath of roses which Eve recognized as having lately grown about the altar, and he struck the strings of a lute, waking entrancing harmony. Day broke, and, dismissing the vision as an idle dream, Eve watched her sons as they went forth to make sacrifice to the deity. She heard the cries of the little creatures of the flocks as they were put to death, and was glad that her children were willing to do this thing in the belief that suffering was agreeable to the author of life and love. At evening her sons were still afield, and as darkness came she went to seek them. Her dream returned to her, and she was disturbed. The fires on the two altars had burned out, and the bodies of the lambs were charred and broken. From a cave hard by sounded roarings of despair: she knew the voice for Cain's. And before his younger brother's altar lay the most pitiful sacrifice of all: the body of Abel, cold and rigid; and his blood had bespattered all the roses he had planted. Eve sank upon the body of her son, and again the vision of the night returned: she saw the shining one again, and it was Abel who shepherded in the new paradise. He wore the roses, but they were beautiful and fragrant, and, striking the harp in a triumphant measure, he sang, "Look up and see the stars shining promise through your tears. Those cars of light shall carry us to fields more blooming than Eden. There sighs and moans change to hymns of rapture, and there the rose that has been stained with innocent blood blooms in splendor."
Rose Completion, Achievement, Perfection. Meanings vary depending on the color, shape and number of petals. For example, the blue rose symbolizes the impossible, the golden rose the pinnacle of achievement, an eight petal rose regeneration.
* See Rose

rosemary button Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Common Names: ~Dew of the Sea~ ~Old Man~ ~Incensier~ ~Sea Dew~ ~Ros Maris~ ~Rosmarine~ ~Rosemarie~ ~Guardrobe; ~Rosmarin~ (German); ~Romarin~ (French); ~Rosmarino~(Italian); ~Romero~ (Mexico)

Also known as the ~Herb of Remembrance~ the Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, Portugal and Spain and brought to Britain with the Roman armies. The name comes from the Latin ros which means ~dew~ and marinus meaning of the sea.~
It was later called Rose of Mary or rosemary in honor of the Virgin Mary. According to one legend Mary's blue cloak is where rosemary got its' color. The flowers, originally white, turned blue and acquired the sweet scent they have today. When Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were fleeing to Egypt, Mary laid her cloak on a rosemary bush. Since then the rosemary became blue. Another legend says that Mary washed Jesus' clothes in a stream while fleeing to Egypt and she laid them on a rosemary bush to let them dry. In honor for the humble service they gave the Savior rosemary were made blue. Another story is that during the flight of the Holy Family the bushes through which they passed crackled, increasing the danger of detection, while only the rosemary stretched out its branches in silence. It is also said that the bush never grows higher than Christ stood and that it only lives for 33 years.
Another story of rosemary is that a beautiful young woman from Sicily was changed into a rosemary bush. At the time of this transformation, Sicily was under the domination of Circe, who caused violent volcanoes to erupt and plants to wither and die. She also enchanted the inhabitants so that they would throw themselves into the sea. The blue-eyed woman who had become rosemary held to the cliffs to remind men of the ever-renewing power of good in the world.
Another legend claims that at midnight on Jan. 5, the ~old Christmas Eve~ rosemary plants simultaneously burst into flower in celebration of Christmas. Rosemary is a Christmas green. Though now it is used to mainly season foods, during the Middle Ages it was spread on the floor at Christmas. As people walked on it, the fragrant smell arose filling the house. Rosemary plants add attractiveness and fragrance to holiday wreaths and are especially suitable for small bouquets made with dried flowers, doilies, and ribbons. One of the most beautiful and fragrant of the seasoned herbs, rosemary, will bring happiness for the coming year to anyone who smells it on Christmas Eve.
Rosemary has been the symbol of remembrance, love, and death since ancient Greece and Rome, where its use in marriage and funeral rites signified enduring affection. Greek students wore rosemary in their hair to help their memory during examinations. Traditionally Rosemary was one of the wedding herbs. To encourage couples to remember their wedding vows, it was entwined into the bride's head wreath and, tied with ribbons, was presented to wedding guests. Gilded branches used to be carried by bridesmaids and formed part of the wedding decorations and a sprig was dipped into the wine before the health of the bride and groom was drunk. Someone could be made to fall in love merely by being tapped on the finger with a sprig of rosemary. And a man indifferent to rosemary's perfume was said to be incapable of giving true love to a woman. Wreaths worn during festivals contained rosemary, and magic spells often called for it. To prevent nightmares, people put rosemary under their pillows. Hellenistic and Roman gardens almost always contained Rosemary.
It has also become a funeral flower because it symbolized the memories of loved ones. It has been placed in tombs to remember the dead as far back as ancient Egypt and was used to embalm them. During Medieval times, rosemary was believed to grow only in the gardens of the righteous. In Australia today, a sprig is worn on Anzac Day in memory of the dead. Rosemary was burned for church incense and, until recently, purified the air in French hospitals. Its Old French name was ~incensier.~ 16th century Europeans carried it in pouches and in the heads of walking sticks to ward off the plague and judges placed it on their benches to protect them from typhoid. In Belgium, children were told that babies come from rosemary plants. In Cicely, children are told that young fairies in the form of snakes lie in the branches of rosemary bushes.
Excellent in baking with scones and biscuits. Also known for its aromatic qualities where it is dried and put into pot-pourri and used as a hair rinse. Rosemary oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is said that rosemary is extremely offensive to evil spirits.
There is a belief that rosemary grows well in gardens where the wife dominates, poorly in gardens where the husband dominates, and not at all in the gardens of the unjust and unrighteous. Rosemary is a symbol of fidelity.

rose button Rose of Jericho
Selaginella lepidophylla
Family: Selaginellaceae
Common Names: ~Resurrection Plant~ ~Rosa Mariae~ ~Rose of the Virgin~ ~Dinosaur plant~ ~Holy Night Rose~ ~Mary's Rose~

This is a small desert plant whose branches roll into a tight ball when dry and spread out when wet.
The rose of Jericho is also known as the Resurrection flower because the plant seems to come to life after dying. Its origin is described in a very pretty legend. When the infant Jesus fled from Bethlehem with His mother Mary and Joseph, to avoid the massacre of all the young children by King Herod, they crossed the plains of Jericho. When Mary alighted from the donkey on which she was riding, this little flower sprang up at her feet to greet the infant Savior whom she carried in her arms. Flowers sprang up at all the places where the Holy Family rested during their flight to Egypt.
All through the Christ's life on earth the little rose of Jericho continued to flourish, but when He died upon the Cross all these flowers withered and died away at the same time. But three days later, our Lord rose again from the tomb, and at the same time the roses of Jericho came to life, and blossomed as a sign of the joy of the earth because Christ was risen. Because of these happenings the rose of Jericho has ever since borne also the name of the Resurrection flower.
Resurrection flower It grows in the sands of Egypt, Arabia, and Syria. When the flowers and leaves have died and fallen, the drying branches curl inwards, forming a round ball; after the roots die, the plant is blown around by the winds before lodging in a damp spot. The ball then expands again, and deposits it's seeds, which germinate. Once watered, the dried-up looking young plants soon begin to bud. The plant was thought to be favorable to nativity, and was also called the Rose of the Madonna. It was believed to have bloomed first at Christ's birth, and then closed at the Crucifixion, before blooming once again at Easter. It's other popular name is the Rose of Jericho.

rosesharon button Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus
Family: Malvaceae
The Rose of Sharon is related to hollyhock, rose mallow and hibiscus. It is mentioned in the Bible ~Song of Songs 2:1~
Rose of Sharon, or ~Mugunghwa~ in Korean, grows throughout the Korean Peninsula and is the national flower of the Republic of Korea. It is the flower of the Korean people.
In the late fifth century B.C. the three independent cities of the island of Rhodes, Lindos, Kamiros and Ialysos, united and founded a new capital city, also named Rhodes. The coins of the new capital depicted the island's main deity, the sun god Helios, on the obverse and a rose on the reverse.The coins of Rhodes had an interesting life in the Middle Ages. It was thought that the head of Helios was the head of Christ, that the rose was the rose of Sharon, and that the coins were the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas.

rue button Rue
Ruta graveolens L.
Family: Rutaceae (citrus family)
Common Names: ~Garden Rue~ ~ Herb of Grace~ ~Herb of Repentance~

Native to the Mediterranean region, the plant name can be traced back to Latin ruta and Greek rhyteé, but it is not related to English rue ~remorse~ The Latin species name, which rue shares with several other aromatic plants like celery or dill, means ~strongly smelling~ Latin gravis ~heavy~ and olens ~smell~
Known as Herb of Grace, because its branches were once used by Catholic priests to sprinkle holy water. Rue is mentioned as a culinary herb in the New Testament and was a very common spice in ancient Rome. It is a good drought tolerant plant and has attractive yellow flowers. Rue's fragrance is strong, aromatic and sweet.
Rue is the national flower of Lithuania and is known as the Herb of Repentance. It has also been referred to as the plant of patience and endurance as one rue plant could live for hundreds of years. It symbolizes virginity and plays an important role in wedding ceremonies. The bride usually wears a wreath of rue. For centuries, it has been the custom for Lithuanians to carry rue seeds with them when migrating. It was also believed that the leaves could refresh the mouth, cure hysteria, gout, relieve pain and aid with bee stings and spider bites as well as being an aphrodisiac. Although rue, is quite bitter to taste, it has been used in salads. It has also been used as a flavoring in beer, fish sauces and omelets. In Italy it is used for flavouring brandy and liquors.

Cabbage and some herbs such as sage and basil do not grow well with rue. Wives tales have been written about how rue planted beside sage can make it positively poisonous.

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Friday, January 16, 1998

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