Well. I finally got this one done. It was SO nice to pick up my needle again! I'm starting on the Black-Eye Susan (for Maryland) next. In fact, I just stamped the next eight blocks and am ready to get busy stitching on them again.
This is an interesting little flower. When I consulted the 'Language of the Flowers' for RED CLOVER, it was designated 'Industry'. I'm not really sure what sort of message that sends in a tussie-mussie, but it is an interesting little tidbit! I'm often intrigued by some of the old customs. Did you know that the very first flower dictionary was written in France by Charlotte de la Tour in 1818, prior to the Victorian era? It was called, "Le Languages des Fleurs". In 1879, this work was followed up by a Miss Carruthers, and it soon became the standard for flower symbolism; also called 'floriography' or the practice of assigning meanings to flowers.
Now back in the day, this was done mainly to express feelings within the boundaries of a strict etiquette, and was mostly practiced between "sweethearts" as a means of communication. A secret language, so to speak. My favorite version is delicately illustrated by Kate Greenaway, depicting fair maidens, love and friendship, mothers and children, all in a framework of watercolor flowers. It's an old book that gets republished from time to time. I borrowed these pictures from this 1970's version .
It is possible that the 'National Garland of Flowers' project of 1893 may have been inspired by all this sweet talk about flowers and their meanings. The state of Vermont at that time, was certainly eager to adopt a state flower that would uniquely represent their state, and the following year a concurrent resolution was introduced in the Vermont House. A special committee took the matter under consideration and citizens campaigned for their favorites. Among the contenders were the buttercup, mayflower, arbutus, and posy, but when all the votes were counted, the red clover won the day as the farmer's choice and favorite.
The Vermont Secretary of State proclaimed it to be, "Both an integral part of many cultivated hayfield and a common sight along numerous Vermont roadsides, the Red Clover is symbolic of Vermont's scenic countryside generally, and of its dairy farms in particular. Oddly enough, however, 'Trifolium pratense' is not a native of Vermont, but was naturalized from Europe." On November 9, 1884 the Red Clover was officially adopted as the state flower, and became effective on February 1st, the following year.
I found out some interesting facts about Red Clover. It's sometimes called "cow grass" or pavine clover. It's a perennial herb in the legume family that can be found growing wild in meadows throughout parts of the U.S., as well as Europe and Asia. Single plants can reach a height of up to three feet tall and survive up to three years, acting more like a biennial in some regions. Seeds grow quickly in moist soil, but the mature plant is drought resistant. The flowers contain medicinal properties and are usually dried for therapeutic use to treat a variety of ailments such as psoriasis, upper respiratory tract problems, and cancerous tumors. The leaves are edible and nutritious, high in fiber, and contain a rich source of isoflavens. So it's not just another "pretty face", but one with tremendous value to the land, animals, and people.
DMC COLORS: This flower ranges in color from pale pink to a true red. Here's a nice photo of what they actually look like. I used dark pink #601 for petals; and true green #702 for the leaves; color yours the way you like.
NOTES: Images should be 4 x 4 to fit a 6.5" quilt block. This allows for a 1/4" seam allowance and a finished block that is 6 x 6-inches. To get the image: RIGHT CLICK to save it as a file, or for the size options; LEFT CLICK on the image (to flickr) and choose the 'all sizes' option link. If you are visiting my blog for the first time, and/or just starting this project, you can download the original stitch guide and color chart here as a PDF: