Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Moorland Cottage: Ch. 1 Visual Annotation – Moorland Flowers

Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.

The moorland had its little creeping scented rose, its straggling honeysuckle, and an abundance of yellow cistus; and here and there a gray rock cropped out of the ground, and over it the yellow stone-crop and scarlet-leaved crane’s-bill grew luxuriantly.

Certain flowers have always carried a meaning but it was the Victorian’s who really developed the language of flowers as a way to express their feelings; let’s take a closer look at the flowers Mrs. Gaskell mentions in this excerpt.

Creeping Scented Rose

Flower Meanings: happiness (pink); purity (white)

Known as the prickly rose or rosa acicularis, these wild roses of Northern Europe are usually shades of white or pink.

© Caroline

Straggling Honeysuckles

Flower Meaning: Bond of Love & I Love You

Honeysuckles have a sweet scent and fruit, which attracts birds. They range in colors from shades of white, yellow, red, and pink.

© Alesa Dam

An Abundance of Yellow Cistus

Flower Meaning: Imminent Death

Often called the rock rose, they tend to grow in rocky areas with poor soil. The petals are white, pink, or purplish. The halimium, related to the cistus is what Gaskell is referring too, it’s been a seperate species since the 18th century, but looks almost identical to the cistus. Halimium is almost always yellow.

© Sarag Gregg
© Sarah Gregg

Yellow Stone-Crop

Flower Meaning: None Available

Generally this flower has five petals. It’s latin name is sedum and it’s leaves retain water (succulent leaves). It’s very hardy and able to survive many kinds of climates and conditions. So while I was unable to find an official meaning perhaps it could be ‘survival’ and ‘determination.’

© Ishikawa Ken

Scarlet-Leaved Crane’s-Bill

Flower Meanings: True Friend, Stupidity, Folly, & Meeting

A ‘crane’s-bill’ is a Geranium, the name comes from the Greek word ‘geranos’ which means crane and the seed-heads have the same shape as the bill of a crane, hence it’s nickname.

© Renate Dodell


“About Honeysuckle.” About Honeysuckle. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. <http://www.abouthoneysuckle.com&gt;.

“Cistaceae : Symbolism.” 1000s of Museums Online : MuseumStuff.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. <http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/Cistaceae::sub::Symbolism>.

“Evaluation of Rockrose (Cistus spp. and Halimium spp.) for Western Oregon | Department of Horticulture Home Page.” Department of Horticulture Home Page | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. <http://hort.oregonstate.edu/eco_land/turf_management/northwest_plant_evaluations/cistus-halimium&gt;.

“Flower Symbols and Meanings.” Living Arts Originals. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2010. <www.livingartsoriginals.com/infoflowersymbolism.html>.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison says:

    More background…great:-)

  2. Summer says:

    Beautiful! Love how you cover every detail.

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s