11″ x 16″, 2017
11″ x 16″, 2017
9″ x 16″, 2014
The genus name is from the Greek words elein which means ‘to injure’ and bora which means ‘food’—the name itself bears a warning about the toxicity of this plant. Species name describes the black roots of the plant. Commonly known as Christmas rose and Lenten rose to fit the Christian calendar, these early spring blooms are not roses at all, but members of the buttercup family.
Clematis var. Ville de Lyon
10″ x 13½”, 2011
On a mid-May morning in my unkempt garden a brilliant burst of red struggled free from fuzzy green confines, like a crumpled chiffon dress out of a tightly packed valise. The creased item flared its skirts flamenco-style, forcing my paints and brushes to pay it homage.
Delphinium and Larkspur
The shape of the nectary reminded ancient Greeks of a dolphin’s nose, hence the plant’s name, from the Greek word delphis for dolphin. The flower’s resemblance to a lark’s claw led to the common name of larkspur in England where numerous species and cultivars are popular in gardens and where annual Delphinium Championships are held for amateurs and experienced enthusiasts.
Various explanations exist for the Latin name of the columbine. The distinctive spurs of the flower are reminiscent of an eagle’s talons; the elongated petals, shaped like a goblet, resemble water collectors; they also suggest five doves encircling a water fountain. Clearly to an attentive observor this dainty yet complex flower calls to mind strange images.
‘Tis customary as we part
A trinket to confer—
It helps to stimulate the faith
When lovers be afar—
‘Tis various—as the various taste—
Presents me with a single Curl
Of her Electric Hair…
In Latin nigellus or niger, meaning black, refers to the color of the seeds; damascena denotes coming “from Damascus”. The plant’s feathery foliage guarding its dainty flowers has stirred the imagination to generate a host of popular names—Love-in-a-mist, Devil-in-the-Bush, Love-entangle, Hair-of-Venus, Jack-in-prison and Lady-in-Shade.