Today I’m not going to write about food but about flowers because this morning I received a mail from Ramya from Cascading Flavours who asked me to participate in a once and never again (maybe) event that she is organizing. The theme is flowers and she want me to write about a/ or post a photo of a flower from where I live. This is a bit of a problem because where I live there are so many flowers growing wild that I have had a bit of a problem choosing one but I have decided on Chicory because it has such a beautiful colour and because it is one of my links to a remote past.
I used to teach the history of book illustration at the university and one of the special courses I taught dealt with botanical illustration from late antiquity up to our days. Really interesting and most of the time beautiful! One of the more interesting aspects of it is the continuity, many of the flowers are just the same as those that you find nowadays! And another aspect that becomes clear when you study botanical illustration is that a photograph rarely is as good as a drawing, a print or a painting when you need to actually identify a plant. You need to portray an ideal plant that clearly displays its characteristics in a very clear and easily recognizable way. I won’t go into this any further but I want to make the connection between why I choose the Chicory for this ‘meme’ and why I am writing this. On the road that leads to our house there is a high wall on one side and fields on the other and when I used to walk my older children to the school bus I always looked at the flowers growing on both sides. High up on the wall there was a beautiful plant with pink-violet flowers and on the other I used to see these bright sky-blue flowers but I never thought about what they were called, I just looked at them. But then I encountered both of them when I was teaching that particular course, first I discovered that the plant with pink flowers growing on the wall was a type of Valeriana when I began to study the wonderful drawings made by Jacopo Ligozzi at the end of the sixteenth century and then I recognized the blue flower in the botanical works of J.J Rosseau from the eighteenth century! And some of you who read my blog on a regular basis have probably realized that I’m really into things that make me feel connected to the past in a more historical context (which in itself is contradictory because I tend to live very much in the present), I enjoy to discover ties to people long gone and dead like realizing that I can look at the same things as someone who lived 400 years ago did! Or 250 years ago. Like with these flowers. So thanks Ramya for inviting me to this meme and making me remember how happy this little blue flower made me feel! And still do!
I’m sure that Ramya is happy to receive other flower contributions so do contact her about it!