Anne Shirley’s love of flowers is very evident throughout all the Anne of Green Gables novels. In fact, it might be said that Anne never encountered a flower that she couldn’t find the beauty in.
Summer is a time of abundant flowery, and some of the lovely greenery that Anne so loved flourish during this time of year. Here are some of Anne’s favourite flowers and their practical uses:
"Oh, look, there’s one little early wild rose out! Isn’t it lovely? Don’t you think it must be glad to be a rose? Wouldn’t it be nice if roses could talk? I’m sure they could tell us such lovely things."
Anne’s absolute favourite summer flowers are roses. Wild roses were abundant in Avonlea and the beautiful Scottish roses that grew at Green Gables grew every year in splendid white blooms.
Roses have many uses. You can use rose hips to make a variety of jams, teas, syrups, soups and more. Rose petals can be used for potpourris, infused oils, bath salts, teas, and natural skin cleaners among other things.
"Outside in the garden, which was full of mellow sunset light streaming through the dark old firs to the west of it, stood Anne and Diana, gazing bashfully at each other over a clump of gorgeous tiger lilies. The Barry garden was a bowery wilderness of flowers which would have delighted Anne’s heart at any time less fraught with destiny."
Lilies also hold a special appeal for Anne. She and Diana first met each other in the Barry garden, surrounded by Mrs. Barry’s flowers, like the marvelous tiger lilies. In her own garden, later in life, tiger lilies were a prominent fixture.
Lilies can help regulate heart rate and Lily roots and bulbs can be used for medicinal purposes, boiled into teas to treat stomach ailments and assist women in labour. A salve can also be made to treat burns. Lily extract can also be used to treat cuperosis and or to make essential oils.
"What is the name of that geranium on the window-sill, please?"
“That’s the apple-scented geranium.”
“Oh, I don’t mean that sort of a name. I mean just a name you gave it yourself. Didn’t you give it a name? May I give it one then? May I call it—let me see—Bonny would do—may I call it Bonny while I’m here? Oh, do let me!”
Geraniums were popular plants to keep indoors, because it was said that they would keep away flies. When Anne saw Marilla’s apple-scented geranium she couldn’t help becoming enamored and naming it, as she did with many of the plants and trees around her.
Geranium leaves can be used to make flavorings for custards, cakes, and jelly. The dried-out leaves are also perfect for potpourri. Fresh leaves are good for teas, which aside from tasting good, can be used to help ease anxiety. Geranium oil can be used to make an astringent and can be diluted with water and used topically to help clean the face or used in a bath. And a compress can be made from dried geranium herbs to treat ailments like bruises, cuts, scrapes, and eczema.
The latter, however, were supplied before Anne reached the main road, for being confronted halfway down the lane with a golden frenzy of wind-stirred buttercups and a glory of wild roses, Anne promptly and liberally garlanded her hat with a heavy wreath of them. Whatever other people might have thought of the result it satisfied Anne, and she tripped gaily down the road, holding her ruddy head with its decoration of pink and yellow very proudly.
Buttercups are abundant in Prince Edward Island from May until September. Like much of the wild beauty around her, Anne was enraptured by them.
Buttercups may be lovely, but they are better for looking at rather than being used for anything purposeful. They can be poisonous if eaten or irritate the skin if they are rubbed against it.
But an August afternoon, with blue hazes scarfing the harvest slopes, little winds whispering elfishly in the poplars, and a dancing splendor of red poppies out flaming against the dark coppice of young firs in a corner of the cherry orchard, was fitter for dreams than dead languages.
Wild Poppy oil can be used as a cooking oil or salad dressing oil. The flower itself can be eaten, or used in bake goods such as cookies. Unlike opium poppies, wild poppies are not a narcotic, but when brewed into teas they can help with sleep, anxiety, and mild pain like headaches. The dried flowers are also useful for making essential oils or poultices for a variety of skin ailments.
This post was inspired by The Anne of Green Gables Treasury book.
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