The Green Man Lives On as Symbol of Spring

Green Man from the Ca' d'Zan Ringling Mansion

The Green Man originated independently in many ancient cultures.  He is believed to be a pagan symbol representing spring, re-birth and the circle of life, though he adorns many Christian churches from the 11th to 12th centuries.  With a leafy face, the Green Man is especially prominent as an architectural feature on gothic and gothic revival exteriors and in modern times as garden ornament.  Green Men vary in appearance depending on the society and era from which they spring.  Medieval images tend to have a ghastly, unsettling gaze. As popular as ever, modern Green Man is usually relegated to garden plaques or fountains and often has a whimsical or at least a non-threatening expression.

Green Man from Little & Lewis

Last month’s marking of the vernal equinox reminded me that even as we go about our busy lives, 2012 is in its second quarter. Amazing how time flies!  Not a bad time to stop and contemplate the Green Man and the cycle of life (if the garden breaking into bloom hasn’t already caused you to do so).  If my past is any indication of the future, the next time I stop to think about the seasons, it will be summer solstice when I cheer the long hours of sunlight that allow me to garden into the late evening.  For more information on Little & Lewis’ garden art.

© Colleen Miko, 2012

About Colleen Miko

Colleen Miko is a certified professional horticulturist with 20 years experience in landscape design who has designed award winning gardens for the NW Flower & Garden Show as well as HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”. Colleen is freelance garden writer and speaker.
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