What’s a Gilly Flower?

Gilly-Flower1-196x300According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a “gillyflower, also spelled gilliflower,  any of several scented flowering plants, especially the carnation, or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), stock (Matthiola incana), and wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri). However, the gillyflower of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare was the carnation.”

I have always loved the beauty and simplicity of carnations. They have long been one of my favorite flowers, and I adopted the name Gilly Flower Writings early on for collections of my stories that were mostly just read by my parents and grandparents. The name stuck and has been something that I have always closely identified with myself and my writing.




Carnation motifs are found throughout medieval art, especially in tapestries and embroidery. Carnations are mentioned in Greek literature as far back as 2,000 years, and it’s formal name, dianthus, comes from the Greek for “heavenly flower.”

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