Bemusements and puzzles

You may well wonder what on earth I am doing, posting a picture of the The Observer’s Book of Wild Flowers on an embroidery blog.

Well, I want to do a sort of illustrated border around William with “Planta Genista”, which I am told is the Common Broom, intertwined with roses. Broom, for the Plantagenet kings he served unflinchingly for sixty years or so, roses for the garden the Victorians transplanted him to when they dug him up.

However, I have a bit of a quandary.

I would like to create the wreath myself, and spent more time than I like online, turning up pictures of bushes or else someone else’s border designs, so I thought I’d consult paper instead. Where I find “Broom” and “Furze” – and “Needle-Whin”, which I have never heard of, but carries the name “genista anglica”. And any one of those – or none – could also be the thing I know as “Gorse”.

I may find myself fudging that one slightly…

As for the roses?

Dog roses, I think. They are the roses William would have known, their simplicity may help me to balance the very spiky broom, and I think that pale pink and white will make great use of the pink and cream of the castle.


  1. Mam says:

    Have you thought of your heraldry books?

  2. I admire you for all the attention to detail you pay for your work. Actually, this kind of research is very rewarding – we learn so much parallel to stitching!
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Sue Jones says:

    E F Step says: “The Broom is sadly liable to be confounded with the Furze by the non-botanical ramblers…The Broom rarely puts on any prickles at all… Cytisus scoparius is our only native species.” (Wayside and Woodland Blossoms, First Series, 1905.)
    Certainly the pink dog rose is a pretty option. The field rose (Rosa arvensis) is similar, but white, if that suits your scheme better. Both very good old flowers.
    I love old books like these, one can get distracted for hours and emerge with a head full of bizarre facts, quotations and splendid language.
    Happy planning!

  4. Carolyn Foley says:

    I think you are wise looking at books rather than illustrations on the web for this research. Good luck.

  5. Lin says:

    Interesting research and those little books are fabulous. xx

  6. The Observer illustrations are a lovely source to draw from aren’t they? I tend to find paper is often a more helpful source than the www, but perhaps that is because I have many, many shelves full of books! I look forward to seeing what design you come up with and wonder what colour you will use for the background of your border.

  7. You have come across some unusual words in your search.

  8. Karen says:

    So easy to lose a few hours online… you can’t beat a good book.