Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Letter G

The Catholic Language of Flowers


(Galium: Nat. Order, Rubiaceæ)

Thy pretty blossoms and dark green leaves attract us, but thy roughness displeases us, and we reject thee from our bouquets. Ah! thou wouldst teach us that an agreeable appearance never can be long pleasing, without gentleness of manners and kindness of heart.


(Genista: Nat. Order, Leguminosæ)

Unknown and unnoticed, the Genista bloomed, shedding freshness and beauty over the wild free heath, until at length, Fulk of Anjou adopted it as his device, and as such transmitted it to his children. Since that time, the Genista has given its name to a race of kings. It has mingled with the plumes of the brave Cœur de Lion, and graced the helmet of the haughty conqueror of Wales.
    But, alas! far from its own wild mountain air it lost its freshness and its beauty; and the sweet flower which bloomed so luxuriantly on its native heath faded and died in the helmet of a king.
    Thus it is that royalty does not always confer happiness; and the freshness of truth and simplicity is seldom known to the wearer of a crown.


(Pelargonium: Nat. Order, Geraniaceæ)

Perhaps nothing in the realm of flowers, bears more the mark of an Almighty hand, than the Pelargoniums, or Geraniums, as they are popularly called. Their beautiful forms, the delicacy, and above all, the almost endless variety of their colours, proclaim the glory of that creative Power whose resources are infinite.

Scarlet Geranium,—Beauty Without Amiability

(Pelargonium inquinans: Nat. Order, Geraniaceæ)

The Scarlet Geranium is gay and brilliant, but scentless and without variety. It seems typical of those who too well satisfied with the graces of their persons, neglect to cultivate their minds and hearts.

White Geranium,—Devotion

(Pelargonium album: Nat. Order, Geraniaceæ)

Heedless of the bright colours of its sisters, the White Geranium clothes itself in robes of snowy beauty, like devotion, which, too holy for earth, and undazzled by all that earth can offer, raises the heart in grateful love to its Creator.

Gillyflower,—Unprentending Merit

(Cheiranthus cheiri: Nat. Order, Cruciferæ)

This simple, unpretending flower, which blooms quietly among its gay companions, though surpassing them all in sweetness, brings vividly before us the image of our Blessed Lady, who, though the most privileged, was the most meek and gentle among the daughters of Israel.

Golden Rod,—Eloquence

(Solidago: Nat. Order, Compositæ)

Eloquence is as a golden sceptre, whose sovereignty none can dispute; it is a chain that binds our souls with a resistless spell; and history tells of men who ruled multitudes by the power and eloquence of their words.
    But it is to the Christian orators that we must look for the most exalted kind of eloquence; for Christianity reveals those beautiful and holy truths which alone should inspire true genius.


(Poa: Nat. Order, Gramineæ)

In the whole vegetable kingdom, there is nothing so useful, so necessary as Grass. Yet we pass it by unnoticed, and turn to admire the gay flowers that bloom around.
    Thus too often are amiable qualities of the mind and heart overlooked, while homage is paid to the more dazzling but less solid charms of personal beauty, or a pleasing address.