Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The relationship of Nike to Veronica

“I am a kind word uttered and repeated

By the voice of Nature;

I am a star fallen from the

Blue tent upon the green carpet.”

Song of the Flower XXIII by Khalil Gibran

Currently we feature Veronica on our website, both for sale By-the-Bunch but also on our Box Lots program. Most of the flowers on offer come from a premium summer flower farm in Ecuador, that of Andean Fields, and the quality and vase-life of the Veronica is outstanding. Colors available are Pink and Blue, and the price represents excellent value.Veronica is an old and valued flower and herb, originating in mountainous parts of Europe. Veronica, along with a very similar plant called Germander, were valuable as mild astringents as well as having analgesic properties. Older varieties, especially the ones used in folkloric herbal remedies, tended to be more prostrate, featuring brilliant blue flowers. Probably its value was so great that the characteristic term “Speedwell” was given to it most probably due to its ability to aid in rapid recovery from mild illness. As flowers came to be used as romantic expressions, Speedwell or “Speed-Thee-Well” was used, frequently along with “Forget-Me-Not” which had a similar appearance to the prostrate forms of Veronica, as parting gifts for soon to be separated loved ones.

Interestingly enough, while it has frequently been conjectured that the name Veronica is derived from the woman who supposedly wiped Christ’s’ sweating brow as he labored to haul his cross to Golgotha, this is highly unlikely. The etymology is convoluted; proposing that the Latin word Vera or true, is coupled with the Greek word Eikon or image, producing Veronica or True Image – the image of the Lord! Certainly, if the incident did occur the name of the woman was unknown and ascribed to her at a much later date.

Veronica is most likely a name derived from the Greek “Bereinike”, or Berenice, a name composed of two words; Pherein, a verb meaning to bring, and Nike which is the word for Victory. Bereinike is allegedly the one and only word uttered by the man who ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver the great news of the victory of the Greek army over the Persians. The word means “I bring you Victory”, its economy of detail being the equivalent of an ancient Tweet!

In a twist of irony, while the word Nike has since become synonymous with running, speed and excellence; the meaning has come full circle in its newfound affinity with the Old English name “Speedwell”.
Modern hybrids of Veronica are developed largely from Veronica spiccata, and feature sturdy, stiff stems and dense terminal racemes of flowers. They are generally about 40cms to 50cms in height, with spikes about 10 – 15cms in length and which are often gracefully curved. Colors are deep blue with indigo tones, a strong vibrant pink and occasionally in white. Veronica can be used for strong linear accents or tucked into bouquets and low arrangements, providing eye-catching detail.

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