Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Who Was the Real Ophelia?

A new piece of historical scholarship suggests that William Shakespeare might have been inspired by the tragic death of a flower picking toddler.


Ophelia, by Pagli Rajkonna

Photo: Pagli Rajkonna


There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,

love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.


A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.


There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue

for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it

herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with

a difference. There’s a daisy: I would give you

some violets, but they withered all when my father

died: they say he made a good end,—


For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

(Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)

And the great William Shakespeare is all to be construed.

Steven Gunn, a historian at Oxford University, has fished out a new clue to the Bard’s tragic character Ophelia. Last seen wandering out of-doors, passing out herbs and flowers with some arcane instructions, she seems to have gone mad with grief and is discovered drowned at the end of the play’s fourth act.

Filtering through reports of 16th Century English coroners – good fun!—Gunn found that in 1569, a two-year old girl named Jane Shaxpere “fell into a mill pond and drowned while picking flowers, called ‘yelowe boddles,’” better known today as corn marigolds.

Continue Reading

Posted by Julie on 06/08 at 03:26 PM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapePermalink

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chiefly Oleander in Zambia

Like all oleanders, Thevetia peruviana is beautiful and toxic. In parts of Africa, it’s utilitarian, too.


Yellow Oleander, a Peruvian native, grows in Zambia

Photo: Paul Stekler

Paul Stekler, “chief” of the University of Texas film department, kindly kept HFP in mind on a recent trip to Zambia. Paul spent about a week in the Luangwa River valley, advising and assisting Iskra Valtcheva and Miguel Alvarez as they filmed the Chiutiki Basic grade school. Founders Erinn McGurn and Guy Baron have undertaken several ambitious building efforts for the 1500 local students, their teachers and families and are now expanding to other school projects in the region, a ripe subject for documentary film.

But Paul generously broke from moving pictures to take several stills of “yellow flowers” for us in Mfuwe.

Continue Reading

Posted by Julie on 06/01 at 01:31 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietyGardening & LandscapePoliticsSciencePermalink
Page 3 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3