Summer is here in earnest. We’ve had a little rain and the honeysuckle on the west side of my home smells sublime.
Early morning and the perfume is strongest in the cool air. In this variety it’s the yellow flowers seem to release the headiest scent, the white hardly not so much.
This plant has been documented since the middle of the 14th century and the word is in fact a misnomer – as listed in my copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1996:705). It was thought bees sucked honey from these flowers. They can’t reach the nectar, of course, but hummingbirds do. We do have nectar-eating birds in Australia, but no hummingbirds.
Originating predominantly in China, about 40 species of honeysuckle grow in Europe and North America … not sure what mine is. I planted it not long after I moved in.
Did you know Woodbine is another name for Honeysuckle? When I was a child I knew that word as a cigarette brand. When I sang in choir that Robert Burns’ song “Ye Banks and Braes ” I imagined spirals of smoke around the roses.
Oft hae I been by bonnie Doon
To see the rose and woodbine twine.
I wonder where I smelt and saw honeysuckle for the first time? They say honeysuckle symbolises happiness.
Isn’t Keats’ image of honeysuckle flowers as thrones just right? He must have studied the flowers close up and from every angle, like a child.For the dreamy amongst us, Woodbine appears in wedding ceremonies to represent the love that clings without harming anyone. Among the French, giving honeysuckle to a partner represents generous love, and in China dreaming of honeysuckle means passion.
Honeysuckle Hero Susan Weeks was Inspector Foyle’s driver in the British TV series “Foyle’s War” … seems she was born when the honeysuckle was in full bloom.
Oops. I forgot to mention Honeysuckle Creek our famous Space tracking station. It’s 50 years since it sent out the first images of the Apollo landing to the world.
PS. This is my post for “Something Smelly” for Jenn Mishra’s Inspirational Photo Theme for Dec 16. #witsendtravel
All text (except quotes) and photos by Meg
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is Copyright © under Australian Law.