A Study In Arrogance: When Coleus Becomes Political

DSCN7636

Trying to rid myself of the RNC’s frenetic vibes this week, I turned my attention to doing something productive.

I researched COLEUS.

I wanted to find out the names of the three varieties that are growing profusely in pots on our deck.

At the beginning of the summer I planted six different types of coleus in pots, but three died within weeks of planting.  So I thought that next year I’d plant more of the ones that grew, if I could figure out/remember the name of each type.

But, of course, in the process of my research I found more information about coleus than I’d anticipated.  Coleus has a long history.

# # #

For instance, did you know:

# # #

DSCN7638But my research, inspired by a desire to rise above politics, ended when I discovered the most ridiculously depressing fact about coleus.  You see, in the language of flowers coleus means: “How dare you address me that way?!”

That is, the plant means ARROGANCE.

And it was upon learning this that I found myself circling back to my thoughts about the Tangerine Tornado + the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.  I couldn’t believe that I was researching a plant whose meaning embodied all that The Donald represents, when my goal was to avoid thinking or hearing on the news about his nonsense.

DSCN7639Yet here I was doing something good, trying to make the world a better place through learning, only to find myself tripped up by arrogance.

Now how defeating, and oddly metaphorical, is that?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

52 thoughts on “A Study In Arrogance: When Coleus Becomes Political”

  1. Oops! Forgot to add sources for clever descriptions.

    “Tangerine Tornado” is Dana Carvey’s The Church Lady’s nickname for Donald Trump.

    “Nattering Nabobs of Negativity” is speech writer William Safire’s description of the news media, said in a speech by Spiro Agnew.

    But you knew this already, right? 😉

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      1. nancy, it’s synchronicity for sure. I’m better informed now, but not all that pleased with what I learned. Or maybe I am. This made for a good blog post! 😉

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    1. Kate, if only life was that simple! I couldn’t stop laughing when I discovered what coleus meant in the language of flowers. So timely, just when I was trying to get away from things.

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  2. Your conclusion is further proof that all things are connected. which is a little deeper than my Friday morning mind is prepared to handle. Therefore, I am going to remain at the shallow end for a while longer and simply admire your plants’ lovely color.

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  3. Aren’t coleus rather invasive as well? A neighbor, long ago, planted coleus in a mutual flower bed and every spring I still find sprigs of it coming up into my own flowers and shrubs. Arrogant and invasive…sounds applicable to me.

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    1. Deb, I’ve only planted coleus in pots so I don’t know if it’s invasive… but it is a kind of mint… and mint never goes away once you plant it… so I think you’re onto something here. Smart thinking, my dear. 😉

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  4. I’ve been reading lately how watching/reading the news is bad for your mental health (I knew that already). I made the mistake yesterday of reading an article about how every food you might eat is bad for the environmental or cruel or destroying whole cultures. I’m avoiding the RNC like the plague. And now, it’s dangerous to just research a little about a plant? Not even a plant we eat (like how the quinoa fad has destroyed the South American food chain).

    Perhaps it is safest to unplug entirely (at least until after November) and not let anyone even tell you the news.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zazzy, I consciously attempt to avoid most politically-based news during presidential election years. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my head, but this year with The Donald’s loud mouth + ugly visage everywhere it’s impossible to do. As evidenced by my little research project leading me back to thinking about plants & people with bad character. 😦

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      1. Agreed Ally. If it isn’t something he’s said or done, it’s someone commenting on or parodying something he’s said or done. I’m getting robocalls from him now. I hate politics in general but this campaign is just nauseating.

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        1. And the sad part is that technically the campaign won’t start until after next week when the DNC officially picks its candidate. Not looking forward to any of what’s to come. *meh*

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  5. Oddly metaphorical to the nth, Ally!
    I had only known about the hallucinogenic properties and the carpet garden. I am fond of coleus, particularly the dark purple against the lime green, with their bit of red or pink flower at the end of summer, they’re so striking. Arrogance somewhat deserved, hm? Alas, bunnies love coleus so I haven’t done any since I’ve lived here.

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    1. joey, learning about coleus was to be my escape from political reality, but then… I love the colors of coleus, too. I put them in pots so that I can move them around the deck as needed, depending on sunlight and my design whims. I only knew about calling them “painted nettles” because my octogenarian aunt, a master gardener, called them that.

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      1. I need more, larger pots. Sincerely. I could line the drive, cover the patio…
        I’ve come to prefer having the herbs in pots, and now I haven’t got pots enough for showy things.

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          1. Yup. Why, just the other day, I was like, “Why don’t I border my patio with succulents?” and then I answered myself with “Because you don’t have an unlimited income and enough heat tolerance to spend 8 hours working on it.” I hate it when I’m right. lol

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  6. Also not watching the plagiarism show, it’s too scary to think about…but love the pretty flowers. I didn’t know they were of the mint family. Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Janet, I didn’t know about the mint connection before I did this research. I lurve the coleus colors and leaf shapes, so looking at the photos was a good way to distract myself from the RNC debacle.

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  7. Your coleus mimic the growth of mine, when I used to plant huge pots of them every summer. I finally stopped getting the yellow & green entirely; it always super-thrived and took over completely. The prettiest ones, the ones with the most red/purple/black, always lagged way behind.

    Coleus love to be pinched way back and do best if not permitted to flower. They can be worky, but rewarding. And yes, if you plant them over and over again in the same spot, you will get “volunteers”–surprise coleus that appear all on their own from rootlets left in the soil.

    Our weather in NEO is perfect for them–hot and dry. They don’t like wet feet and love the sun. They are pretty and last into fall. Nice and showy with no blossom drop. And they root easily in water if anyone wants to start a plant.

    (Wow. This has been more of a mini-lesson than a comment. Sorry!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, don’t apologize. I’m happy to learn all of this. I’ve never tried to get volunteers, but now that you mention it that sounds like something fun to do. I didn’t know about pinching off the flowers until I did this research, so will be doing that in the future. I can understand your logic about going with the darker ones; the one with light green leaves has doubled in size in about a week. Plus, I adore those purple/pink colors in the smaller ones. I want more of those.

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  8. I have a corner of my backyard devoted to the colourful display of coleus. It is one of my favourite spots in the yard.
    After reading your post, I quietly tried to reassure them that I don’t really believe they’re arrogant. They’re just misunderstood 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bitsfromheaven, I learned a great deal about coleus from my research and from comments here. I still like ’em, but will keep my eye on their egos. Can’t have arrogant plants trying to take back the garden. 😉

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  9. Nattering Nabobs of Negativity (Which I actually think was originally Negativism) is where I got the name for my character Nabob from. I love that phrase as it combines two infrequently used, but fun to say N words…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, my quote could easily be wrong. It’s been a long time since I was in college studying political science, and I’m too lazy to look it up now. But you get my point, TOO MUCH STUPID OUT THERE. Then to stumble over some more of it when researching… 😦

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    1. Mei-Mei, I’ve not thought much about what plants mean, but when I found this info it made me laugh, considering what I was doing. For a basic plant, coleus certainly has a lot of history associated with it. Thanks for your link and the book suggestion.

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  10. Very symbolic, I would say! Yikes. I love coleus but am having some trouble growing them this year. (probably because of the lack of sun this summer) Not really my fault.

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      1. Yes, I agree. I have affection for coleus. It grows reliably and beautifully on my patio, year after year. So I’m wondering if the association with arrogance is just an error before you know, science stepped in. I mean, at one time it was believed that we were ruled by 4 humors (blood, bile, etc).

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        1. Nancy, good point. I have no idea how the Victorians decided what a plant would represent. I think coleus are beautiful and want to do more with them next year, arrogant or not!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I can see why they were called/used in carpet gardens ( much better than carpet baggers which tend to get musty smelling after a while…and who wants to save old carpet, anyway?)
    Managed to survive last week with limited TV – hope to do the same this week. It’s surprising how the channels would rather show every second of convention drama rather than all the rather important news that is happening in other parts of the world. With luck it will be cloudy or a tad cooler so I can stand going outside.

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    1. philmouse, when I read about carpet gardens with coleus, I immediately wanted to do one. Of course with our hills, would be difficult.

      I agree with you about trying to avoid what has become an obsession with all the news channels. It’s just another political convention, newspeople. No need to stop reporting other things. Give it all a break.

      Hope a cool breeze blows your way soon.

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      1. I’m ready for fall and maybe reorganizing some plants…right now it’s just dive out, hack the hedge, and slip back inside before passing out.
        Clouds! And rain after almost 4 weeks of scorching….even a drizzle is better than a glare!

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    1. Chez Shea, coleus are beautiful and come in so many different varieties that you can plant/create whatever suits your fancy. I might not like what they mean, but I like how they look.

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    1. Stephanie, I didn’t know about coleus until my aunt, a master gardener, introduced me to them. They’re pretty, but not thrilled with their alledged meaning. 😉

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