Wayward and Windblown

Heading as we are into that most delirious of garden seasons, early summer, I’ve been enjoying the lovely clouds of Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) that are blooming everywhere now. My enjoyment is guilty, because naturalists blast it as a European introduction–it was brought here in the 17th century as a garden flower–that has become rampant.  It has been described as being like an “overdressed matron wearing too much cheap perfume,” and its color as “gaudy.” Gaudy? The flowers range from white to pale lavender to a soft lavender rose, and couldn’t be softer. And I just stepped out to inhale its sweet, phlox-like fragrance. Each to his own.

So I enjoy it stealthily, surreptitiously, as it personifies the beauty of wildflowers to me–wayward and windblown, clean and lacy.

The four-petaled, cross-shaped flowers of Dame’s Rocket betray its origin in the cabbage family–the “crucifers.”
A page of white and mauve crucifers from “The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe.’

The Latin name of Dame’s Rocket comes from Hesperia, the Greek goddess of the evening star. She was one of the Hesperides, nymphs who tended a blissful garden in the far western corner of the world.





In closing, I found this lovely poem called “Hesperus,” by C.S. Lewis and thought you might enjoy.

Through the starry hollow
Of the summer night
I would follow, follow
Hesperus the bright,
To seek beyond the western wave
His garden of delight.

Hesperus the fairest
Of all gods that are,
Peace and dreams thou bearest
In thy shadowy car,
And often in my evening walks
I’ve blessed thee from afar.

Stars without number,
Dust the noon of night,
Thou the early slumber
And the still delight
Of the gentle twilit hours
Rulest in thy right.

When the pale skies shiver,
Seeing night is done,
Past the ocean-river,
Lightly thou dost run,
To look for pleasant, sleepy lands,
That never fear the sun.

Where, beyond the waters
Of the outer sea,
Thy triple crown of daughters
That guards the golden tree
Sing out across the lonely tide
A welcome home to thee.

And while the old, old dragon
For joy lifts up his head,
They bring thee forth a flagon
Of nectar foaming red,
And underneath the drowsy trees
Of poppies strew thy bed.

Ah! that I could follow
In thy footsteps bright,
Through the starry hollow
Of the summer night,
Sloping down the western ways
To find my heart’s delight!

Poem from PoemHunter.com.

9 thoughts on “Wayward and Windblown

  1. I agree with your statement…to each his own. Tiger lilies grow all over New Hampshire and I love them. Their lovely orange brightens the road sides but most people just refer to them as weeds.

    1. I love them, too, and I like Queen Anne’s Lace. I sometimes think that Queen Anne’s Lace would be thought of as one of the most beautiful flowers if it weren’t so common.

      1. Another of my favorites that is looked down upon. I’m sure that people would pay a lot to have it in a floral arrangement where it doesn’t grow in there area.

      1. Oh, I’m so glad you liked it! Well, my favorite of CS Lewis, if you are in to spiritual reading, is Mere Christianity. Mr. Lewis’s ability to tap into the vague, negative-but-nebulous feelings common to all humanity, name them and bring them into the light of day is mind blowing. It’s a great book!

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