go here to read a delightful journal of natural history that was kept from June 11th to July 13th in the year 1819 by Dr. T. Forster. Dr. Forster was visiting near Tunbridge Wells at the time.
It came to my notice because, in June he notes -
(June) "20th. — Fine warm weather has at length succeeded the cool. The hay is down, and in some places stacked. The Yellow Lily is in full flower; as are likewise the Pike Geranium, the White and also the Blue Fraxinella, and numerous Roses. Peony is already casting its petals to decay. A variety of Centaurea Cyanus, almost white, is common here."
From Encyclopaedia Londinensis, Volume 4 comes the words that identify the Centaurea cyanus as our Bottle of All Colors...(a larger version of the plate to the right where you can read the small script is below).
"Perennial blue-bottle is now become a common plant in large gardens, from the facility with which it is increased. The roots indeed creep so much, that it is apt to become troublesome. It will grow in any soil and situation.
There are great varieties of colours in the flowers of the common annual blue-bottle, and some of them are finely variegated. The seeds are sold under the name of bottles of all colours. They will rise in any common border, and require no other care but to be kept clean from weeds, and thinned where they are too close, for they do not thrive well when they are transplanted. If the seeds be sown in autumn, they will succeed better, and the plants will flower stronger than those which are sown in spring.
Centaurea cyanus, or corn centaury, annual bluebottle: calyxes serrate; leaves linear, quite entire, the lowest toothed. Stem one to two feet high, angular, slightly tomentose, branched at top. It is a common weed among corn, flowering from June to August; the wild flower is usually blue, but sometimes white or purple.
Our old English writers, besides Blue-bottle, which has commonly obtained, have the names of blue-ball, blue-blow, corn-flower, and hart-fickle. In the Booke of Husbandrye ascribed to Fitzherbert, it seems to be called hadods or haudad.
Some modern agriculturists speak of it under the name of huddle, which is evidently nothing more than a corruption of bottle. Dr. Stokes informs us, that it is called batchelor's buttons in Yorkshire and Derbyshire; but this is a name given to many other flowers. In Scotland it is called blue bonnets; in German, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish,korn-blume; in French, bluet; in Italian and Portuguese, ciano; in Spanish, aciano, azulejo.
The expressed juice of the central florets makes a good lake; it also stains linen of a beautiful blue, but the colour is not permanent in any mode hitherto used. Mr. Boyle says, that the juice of the central florets, with the addition of a very small quantity of alum, makes a lasting transparent blue, not inferior to ultramarine."
It is always fun to find notes hand written in books...
This later edition of Mrs. Loudon's book was clear enough to read the fine engraved script.
And isn't the cover of this book wonderful?!
Below is something I did not expect to find. The questioning mind...what fun!