At this time of year, the perennial garden in front of my log house overflows with old fashioned flowers, like Shasta daisies and echinacea and daylilies. Of all, my favorites are the black-eyed Susans, which multiply and travel throughout the garden each year. Do you know how black-eyed Susans got their name? The romantic legend springs from an old English poem by John Gay, a post-Elizabethan poet. According to the poem, Black-eyed Susan boarded a sailing ship to search for William, her beloved:
All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
and eyed the burly men.
“Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?”
Were her eyes dark, or black from crying? We'll never know. And yet, the flowers make me happy, so I think she must have been a dark-eyed lass in love, and her William came back to her, safe and sound.