Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Valerian. Or is that Heliotrope?

At the garden club meeting last evening, we watched a florist arrange flowers for about an hour--amazing things she did with such simple materials. Then we tried arranging the buckets of flowers we had brought.

"What's this?" someone asked holding up a tall stem topped by tiny, tight, white flowers.

"Does it smell good?" i asked. "It's valerian."

She continued to walk around with her stem and ask other women what this flower was. Someone else said, "Heliotrope."

Valerian is sometimes called garden heliotrope because of its sweet smell, even though it is not related to heliotrope.

I collect factoids--such as flower names--because it's easy for me, and because i like to be right. I do not like being wrong. The duality of right/wrong is an abyss that, as we know, can lead to war. A more skillful duality is harm/harmless. Do these words or this behavior harm someone? Or is it harmless?

It is actually harmless to call a flower by an inappropriate name. There may be a mix-up of understanding, but it is kinder--more harmless--to allow others to express their opinions. It may feel unpleasant to me, but that is a passing feeling, unless i proliferate about it and wallow in the unpleasantness. That's just me making myself uncomfortable.

Whatever its name, the sweet-smelling tall stem with a white flower looks beautiful in a bouquet.

1 comment:

  1. harmless for flower arranging but not so harmless with medicinal usage of plants. Best to use the latin names I think to assure proper medicinal usage.