Magic Words and Little Frogs

Words are such amazing, delightful treasures, aren’t they? Little jewels of glorious shape and sound and nuances of meaning.

Did you know that the botanical name of these marvelous flowers, ranunculus, means “little frog”, from the diminutive of the Latin rana, frog?

It’s true, they don’t look like frogs, but many species of the genus, which includes buttercups, are often found near water. This feminine, romantic version, which we all love to photograph, is called a Persian Buttercup.
One of the first things that D and I discovered in common was that we had both studied Latin. I found it quite enjoyable but didn’t foresee using it. In fact, I do. Nearly every day. All our horticultural plant images must be correctly identified by Latin name.

(So, thank you to the nuns at St. Maur’s Academy in Yokohama.)

And one always gains a deeper understanding of a word by looking up the derivation, most often Latin based. Try it next time you come across a word you don’t really know. Latin roots can give a fascinating glimpse into the history of a word and impart subtle shades of meaning.

But even without that, ranunculus – and words – are just jolts of pleasure, aren’t they?
Perhaps too much pleasure – about 400 photographs this week so far!

The charming and inherent waywardness of ranunculus make them ideal for an arrangement like this. But even their curvy stems require support and what makes it work is a japanese device called a kenzan:

These belong to my Mother, from her ikebana (flower arranging) classes when we lived in Japan. I love the ones designed for individual stems. They are weighted and quite heavy.
And, of course, in English a kenzan is called…a frog.
And a frog in Japanese is called kaeru, which means “return”, and they are considered bringers of luck, safety and wealth. Kaeru amulets are carried in the coin purse or wallet where they will “return” all that is spent. Mine is tiny and ceramic and green and has lived in my coin purse for many, many years.

I love frogs so much. Last year I posted this to promote Save the Frogs Day, which this year falls on April 30th, and is what inspired today’s post. Many amphibian species are at great risk of extinction. What is at stake is far more than the survival of many exquisite creatures – they are sensitive barometers of the health of numerous ecosystems and their dwindling populations could have irreversible consequences.
Well, you are patient, my friends, and I’ve taken much of your time, but, lastly, for the most amazing little frog portraits ever, visit this incredible collection by Japanese photographer Sakura.
Have a lovely, warm and sunny day!
– g


  • This is a beautiful post with some gorgeous eye candy Georgianna! I think frogs are soo adorable too!

    April 13, 2010
  • How magical Georgianna! I've delighted in every single one… like ripples in a pond! x

    April 14, 2010
  • Oh the are beautiful.
    What a lovely colours!
    I love frogs to in my garden there about 20 of them i think.
    The brown one are coming now and a vieuw weeks later the green ones comes.
    I love it!!!
    A frog day is a wunderful idee and i make a post of it on 30 april
    Have a wunderful frogie day

    April 14, 2010
  • Dear Georgianna,
    Each and every photograph more beautiful than the other. I can not pick a favorite.

    We have very large toads living near our pond, but sadly, not many. We do hear them late in the evening, a perfect lullaby

    April 14, 2010
  • How gorgeous Georgina.
    Love the softness here.
    The frogs are amazing creature.

    April 14, 2010
  • Georgianna,
    This group of photos is some of the prettiest I've seen this spring. I adore the soft pastel colors and your special touches in each one. What an eye you have for beauty!


    April 14, 2010
  • These are all so gorgeous!!

    April 14, 2010
  • Georgianna,these pictures and these flowers are wonderful!

    April 14, 2010
  • I adore ranunculus and you capture them so well! It's fun stopping by here and learning bits of information about you and about the meaning of words and such. Thank you for delightful treasures. ♥

    April 14, 2010
  • Its so amazing to read this lovley post…Thanks so much for sharing, too. And i´m so happy that you visit us so often…love to stay in contact…have a lovley thursday, too…cheers and hugs…Ines

    April 14, 2010
  • I love all the beautiful photos you share!


    April 14, 2010
  • i scanned through this post very quickly, because i am going to save it for saturday morning when i get up before everyone else.

    i am going to make myself a mug of hot cocoa with coconut creamer.

    then i am going to read your post like i read my victoria magazine, slowly and deliberately, and take in every detail.

    and i'm not going to use my laptop. i'm going to sit at my desk and read it on my very large imac so i can enjoy the pictures even bigger.

    thank you for making my saturday mornings so beautiful!!

    April 14, 2010
  • all the layers of the ranunculus are so romantic and lovely. you photographed them perfectly.

    April 14, 2010
  • These photos are so lovely. You definitely have a special talent for capturing beauty. Your blog is such an extravagant treat!

    April 15, 2010
  • "persian buttercup" is such a delightful name ! I love ranunculus, their colours are gorgeous and I like the way they have a mind of their own through their stems :)

    April 15, 2010
  • Georgianna, this is such a beautiful post and ranunculus is one of my favorite flowers! Loving these photos so much! It's too bad that we can't get ranunculus here in Malaysia. Have a lovely merry happy day and love to yoU!

    April 15, 2010
  • Georgianna,
    After a very stressful couple days these images bring me joy and a sense of peace..Now,I am going to sleep with these soft flowers in my mind.
    Thank You.

    April 15, 2010
  • Thank you for a lovely post, your blog is where I go when my heart is heavy and I need something beautiful… Love from London x

    April 16, 2010
  • Many thanks for your beautiful comments, dear friends. Thank you for visiting! xo – g

    April 16, 2010
  • What a beautiful post!!
    Lovely words and beautiful pictures!
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

    April 17, 2010
  • you did not disappoint me. beautiful images as usual. i didn't know you had lived in japan. how wonderful to have had that opportunity.

    it's so nice to start my day like this…. thank you!


    April 17, 2010
  • This is now my official favorite post of yours. I cannot believe the beauty, the light, the talk of etymology, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't get to indulge it much with all the hubbub with being a Mommy of four, but, ahhh… words. Words, ranunculas, and frogs. My fave fave post. You delight. You truly do. Blessings friend and thanks for all your kindnesses.

    April 17, 2010
  • Oh wow what a gorgeous post! I do love all of your ranunculus captures. It's such a beautiful and romantic flower and you did a great job capturing that. I was so busy during the week (with my new job) that I didn't see this until now. Have a wonderful weekend! xo

    April 17, 2010
  • Your pics are candy to my eyes (did you say this in english?) every time. And these kind of flowers are one af my favorite sorts. Have a nice week my dear and I'm really looking forward for your next photo series. caro

    April 21, 2010
  • What beautiful & breathtaking photos of Persian Buttercups! Your images make me feel so happy! :)

    April 21, 2010
  • What a lush series of images and words! It's such a pleasure to read through your posts!! I love these flowers, I had no idea they were related to buttercups :)

    I'm a big fan of Sakura too, their photostream is so full of colour and light!

    April 21, 2010
  • This post is perfection. I've been savoring it for a while now. I keep coming back again and again. I do love ranunculus and did not know their Latin name. I did, however, know about kenzan. I also didn't know – or at least didn't remember that you went to school in Japan. I'd love to hear stories of that some day. And now, I am wondering if the lovely typewriter in your photo is your mother's old Coronoa?

    April 24, 2010
  • Many, many thanks! Relyn, the typewriter is an old Corona. I dated it from the serial number to 1920. My grandmother bought it in the 1950s for my sister who was 2 or 3. It's a traveling/portable model, very petite and it was like a miniature one for my sister to play with. It's in full working order and absolutely charming. :)

    April 24, 2010
  • OMG these shots are just gorgeous. Truely my favorite flower.

    May 1, 2010

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I value my relationship with each of you and do my best to respond, although with travel and location work it might take me a little while.


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