‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens; to which are wills are gardeners; so that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce; set hyssop and weed up thyme; supply it with one gender of herbs, or distract it with many; either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry; why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.OTHELLO, I, iii.
NOTE: I am working on a detailed diagram of my own backyard Shakespearean theme garden as an example of how to place and label the plants and herbs listed below.
Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre Of barren ground; ling, heath, broom, furze, anything. The wills above be done! But I would fain die a dry death.THE TEMPEST, I,i.
Pet.:--Nay, come, Kate, come. You must not look so sour. Kate:-- It is my fashion when I see a crab.THE TAMING OF THE SHREW II, i.
... that all their elves, for fear, Creep into acorn-cups And hide them there.A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, II,i.
When daffodils begin to peer, With heigh! The daxy over the dale Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.THE WINTER'S TALE, IV, iii.
Daisies & violets
When daisies pied and violets blue And lady-smocks and silver-white And cuckoo-buds of yellow-hue Do paint the meadows with delight.LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST I, V.ii.
The flower-de-luce, mentioned often in Shakesepare, is one of great historical import. We would not call it a lily as Perdita does, but an Iris, the fleur-de-lis that is the emblem of France. Louis VII adopted it as his battle insignia during the First Crusade, in the twelfth century, when he was looking for a place to ford a river. The wild iris he saw in the distance, the water-loving iris pseudacorus, gave him a sign that there was a shallow, wet place where his army could cross. What sayest thou, My fair flower-de-luce?HENRY V, V.ii.
Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle; Mild as a dove, but neither true or trusty; Brighter than glass, and yet, as glass is, brittle; Softer than wax, and yet, as iron, rusty; A lily pale, with damask dye to grace her, None fairer, nor noe falser to deface her.THE PASSIONATE PILGRIM
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.SONNET XCIV.
To gild refined gold, To paint the lily.KING JOHN, IV, Ii.
Hark! Hark! The lark at heaven’s gate sings, Anf Phoebus ‘gins arise, Hist steeds to water at those springs On chalic’d flowers that lies; And winking Mary-buds begin To ope their golden eyes.CYMBELINE, II,iii.
First, good Peter Quince, say what the play Treats on. Then read the names of the actors, And so grow to a point.MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, I,ii.
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell; It fell upon a little western flower, Before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound- And maidens call it love-in-idleness.MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, II, I
Where often you and I Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie.MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, I,i.
The primrose path of dalliance.HAMLET, I,iii.
Look, where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou ow’st yesterday.OTHELLO, III,iii.
I am that flower, That columbine.LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, V,ii.
If music be the food of love, play on; That strain again! It hath a dying fall. Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour!TWELFTH NIGHT, I,i.
Lavender & Savory
Here’s flowers for you: Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram.WINTER'S TALE, IV, iii.
Rosemary, Fennel, Rue
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts… There’s fennel for you, and columbines— there’s rue for you; and here’s some for me. We may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays. –oh, 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.HAMLET, IV, v.
But she’s best married that dies married young. Dry up your tears, and stick your rosemary On this fair corse;ROMEO & JULIET, IV, v.
She was the sweet marjoram of the salad.ALL WELL THAT ENDS WELL, IV, v.
... for though the camomile, the More it is trodden on, the faster It grows, yet youth, the more it Is wasted the sooner it wears.KING HENRY VII, II, iv.
I knew a wench married in the afternoon As she went to the garden for parsley To stuff a rabbit.TAMING OF THE SHREW
I know a bank whereon The wild Thyme blows.MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, II, i.
I'm a Sturbridge, Mass., resident and lifelong Shakespeare devotee, teacher and stage director. If you're interested in my volunteer Shakespeare Garden services or have something to add to the site, I encourage you to contact me by email by clicking here . I hope to hear from you soon!