John Gerarde, The Herball, 1597 - gilloflowers (Wall Flowers), p.370.

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Date:1597

Description:The names of plants, discussed by Shakespeare.

The detail with which Gerarde describes plants, vegetables and fruit as well as flowers assisted contemporary herbalists and housewives with their gardens. In <i.The Winter’s Tale Perdita and Polixenes discuss the hybridisation of plants, which Perdita sees as un-natural . She speaks of 'carnations and streaked gillivors, which some call nature’s bastards’

‘There is an art which in their piedness shares with great creating nature’ to which Polixenes counters ‘say there be, yet nature is made better by no mean, but nature makes that mean... We marry a gentler scion to the wildest stock, and make conceive a bark of baser kind by bud of nobler race.’ He urges: ‘make your garden rich in gillivors and do not call them bastards.' (4,4, lines 79-99). He is referring to carnations not to gillyflowers, or wallflowers, which were popular spring flowers.


Full title: John Gerarde, The Herball, [colophon: Edm. Bollifant for Bonham and John Norton], 1597.
(Copy with contemporary hand-colouring.)


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Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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