Friday, March 18, 2011

The name of the rose. And the daisy, hyacinth...

Spring is about to spring here in Boston, after a particularly harsh winter. Last Saturday we moved our clocks one hour forward, and for the past two days the temperatures have been mild. Today I bought a blue hyacinth to celebrate the season. It hasn't bloomed yet, but soon it will, diffusing its delicious, heady fragrance.

Here's a list of flower names in Italian.

La rosa. Rose, also a woman's name.

La margherita. Daisy, also a woman's name.

Il crisantemo. (cree-zahn-TEH-moh). Mums, chrysanthemums. Associated with death and All Souls Day in Italy, do not give as gift.

Il garofano. (gah-ROH-fah-noh). Carnation.

Il giacinto. Hyacinth, a man's name, no longer common.

Il glicine. Wisteria. Love it.

La ginestra. Broom, a yellow flower among the first blooms of spring. The title of a famous poem by Leopardi.

L'azalea. (guess)

La gardenia. (guess again)

Il giglio. Lily. Not a personal name.

L'iris. Also a woman's name, no longer common.

La lavanda. Lavender.

La magnolia.


L'orchidea. (ohr-key-DEH-ah). Orchid.

Il papavero. Poppy.

La peonia.

Il tulipano.

La violetta. Violet, also a woman's name, no longer common.

(in the picture, a vase of flowers by Giovanna Garzoni, a 17th century artist famed for her still lifes of flowers and fruits, who had great success during her lifetime and made a good living from her art work)