“The Earth Laughs in Flowers”

The Judas Tree, 1909.
The Judas Tree, 1908-1909

In celebration of all that blossoms in May, I’m posting paintings by the American Impressionist Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939) alongside “flowery” quotes from Emerson, O’Keefe, Okakura and Heine along with a Tennyson poem punctuated by a listening larkspur and a whispering lily.

“The earth laughs in flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” – Georgia O’Keefe

“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.” – Kakuzo Okakura

“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.” – Heinrich Heine

The Pink Parasol, 1913.
The Pink Parasol, 1913

“There has fallen a splendid tear

From the passion-flower at the gate.

She is coming, my dove, my dear;

She is coming, my life, my fate.

The red rose cries, ‘She is near, she is near;’

And the white rose weeps, ‘She is late;’

The larkspur listens, ‘I hear, I hear;’

And the lily whispers, ‘I wait.’

Life in the Garden, 1910-1912.
Life in the Garden, 1910-1912
Lady in a Garden, 1912
Lady in a Garden, 1912

She is coming, my own, my sweet;

Were it ever so airy a tread,

My heart would hear her and beat,

Were it earth in an earthy bed;

My dust would hear her and beat,

Had I lain for a century dead,

Would start and tremble under her feet,

And blossom in purple and red.”

— Alfred Lord Tennyson


Self-Portrait, 1901
Self-Portrait, Frieseke, 1901
Hollyhocks, c. 1912-1913
Hollyhocks, c. 1912-1913
The Garden Parasol, c. 1910
The Garden Parasol, c. 1910

Featured Image: “Garden in June,” 1911

{{PD-1923}} – Artwork created before 1923 and in the public domain because the copyright has expired.