Love in a Mist, Sophie Gengembre Anderson* (1823-1903)
This is the second in my series of excerpts from Green Thoughts (1981) by the late, great writer Eleanor Perenyi. Here is some of her commentary on old-fashioned flowers:
The Victorians meant hardy annuals when they spoke of old-fashioned flowers, a term that used to puzzle me. In Little Women, Beth grows 'old-fashioned flowers,' and I always supposed this was part of Alcott's goody-goody emphasis on out-of-date virtue. That isn't the case. The sweet peas and larkspurs and pinks beloved of Beth actually were old-fashioned by the middle of the nineteenth century--having been superseded by the newer, smarter, tender annuals imported from the tropics and sub-tropics of Mexico, India and South America. The old annuals in contrast were natives of the north temperate zone, age-old denizens of cottage gardens where familiarity and the folk imagination bestowed on them their common names: love-in-a-mist, pincushion flower, bachelor's buttons, sweet sultan.
Several garden bloggers have written on the passing of Eleanor Perenyi and I have gathered the tributes here as a virtual garland for her. Please let me know if there are others to be included.
*Sophie Gengembre Anderson was a Pre-Raphaelite painter.
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