English Puja Flowers

One of the items for worshipping Lord Krishna is flowers. By offering flowers at the time of puja (pooja) the Lord becomes pleased with the devotee, and the devotee becomes happy at seeing the Lord’s form decorated. Although at this time of year in England flowers can be thin on the ground, and although it is true that I am no gardener, still there seems to be just enough to offer some kind of flowers each day.

Looking back through the entire year I can only be satisfied at the plentiful gifts that nature has provided. From Spring right through Summer to late Autumn there’s a variety of flowers in England in a wide range of colours and shapes.

For my own personal puja I use flowers for four different purposes. The first is petals for offering to the divine feet (esha pushpanjali); second is flat or trumpet-shaped flowers for sitting places (idam asanam); third is smaller flowers for decoration (idam alankaram); and fourth is flowers for offering as part of the arati ceremony (idam pushpam).

When I was in India I would buy pink lotus and small, white jasmine flowers: beatiful form and stunning fragrance. Here in England the flowers are of different forms and fragrances but beautiful nonetheless. Lord Krishna accepts them with delight as long as we offer them with love (Bhagavad gita 9.26)  Here are just some of my English puja flowers:

Potentilla. Very abundant and long-flowering. Good alankara or decoration.

Buddleia, named after Reverend Buddle. Short flowering but very fragrant

The all-charitable, ever-abundant Marigold

Petunia, very good for asanas or sitting places

Fuschias or ‘Lady’s Ear Drops.’

Orange Ball Buddleia. Extremely short flowering period but great while it lasts!

Valerian. She reminds me of my childhood in Cornwall. Please don’t call her a weed.

Cherry Blossom. Along with the crocus and daffodil, the first flower to come after the cold weather.

Busy Lizzy. Colourful and abundant, easy to grow.

Winter Hebe growing right now. A splash of colour in the cold months

Snap Dragons. No English garden should be without them

Lobelia: Vey small, delicate flowers for decorating Krishna

Srila Prabhupada’s favourite, and so very fragrant. English, too!

In the depths of winter, these Snowberries can still be offered to Krishna.



Filed under Gardening, Journal, Ritual

7 responses to “English Puja Flowers

  1. bhk Michael R. Lorek

    Thank you so much for this overview on offerable flowers. I am very happy to have a large garden, and feel now inspired by your article to add some flowers you mentioned to please Lord Jagannatha residing in my house. Also I feel very fortunate having roses in bloom throughout the year, even in winter. Krishna is so merciful.

  2. Sita

    Beautiful flowers and beautiful pix.Thanks for showing us English flowers.

  3. Suzie

    Don’t forget Lavender! I believe it was also one of Srila Prabhupada’s favourites. Only Krishna could have dreamt up such a fascinating scent!

  4. dusyanta dasa

    Hare Krishna.
    I suppose it is inevitable that i respond to this subject as i spent 10 years at Chaitanya College and then Bhaktivedanta Manor producing flowers for all aspects of Deity worship and more.
    By the time i was at the Manor we were producing flowers all year round and there are an abundant species of flowers not mentioned.
    Those devotees who may remember the 1980s at the Manor may remember the overwhelming opulence of flowers.We planted well over 1000 rose bushes ,which have all disappeared,including lovely small roses for the small Deities.Each year i would be involved in a meeting with the Head Pujari and arrange flowers of the right colour and time for specific festivals and colours.
    We also produced an abundance of flowers for festivals,Ratha Yatras and visiting devotees needs.Each year on Janmashtami we would pick huge amounts of garland flowers and have a steady stream of devotees turn up at my house and make garlands all day and night for Srila Prabhupadas Vyasa-Puja.I made one of the most amazing garlands from cornflowers in three clours that had been plaited together and was over 2metres long.And i put it around Srila Prabhupadas neck for His Vyasa Puja.Also we started a tradition of offering over 1000 flowers every Sunday.
    The stories i remember just concerning flowers are amazing and i relish them all.The Manors garden looked stunning in those years and we had well over 50 hanging baskets,5@14x60ft Tunnels,2@14x120ft and 2@18x120ft Tunnels full of just flowers.
    Just the rose garden alone was magnificent and i personally chose every single bush,clour co-ordinated the planting into formal gardens,and replaced poor plants until one year in 1987 we had a poor spring until early june when the weather became glorious and the rose garden was un believable,nearly embarassingly abundant and heady with aroma.Those were the days my friend.
    In Winter we planted Hyacinths and Bulbs in September ready for Christmas flowering through til the Spring.In one field that we called Vrindavana field we had ,Dahlias,Gladiolii and Chrysanths ,it was just a festival of colour and fragrance all year round,i loved those days at the Manor.
    We planted 1000s of bulbs,tubers,corms and loads of trees,acers especially and some figs,apples and greengagers, mostly all disappeared .
    The Vegetables is another story.
    But i would support anyone wanting to grow produce for their Deities and families,it is the most satisfying service to do.There is an unlimited amount to learn and you never know it all.Hope thats not to long Kripamoya.
    your servant dusyanta dasa.
    PS always available for tips.

  5. Bhakta A

    Hyacinths are my fave English flower, together with English roses…mmm!

  6. dusyanta dasa

    Hare krishna.
    After such a glorious period of late winter weather here in Wales I hoped that a gardening update would be well recieved for all, gardeners and non-gardeners.
    The weather has been perfect here in Wales the last weeks for applying manure. We had a trailer load delivered recently from a local farm.
    The manure should always be dug into the soil by the method of taking out a trench and backfilling after a suitable amount of manure has been trodden in.A trailer load should be enough to cover a patch 5 metres by 10metres quite comfortably.
    In the Padmapurana the Goddess Laxmi is attributed as residing in the Stool of the Cow,so where there is muck theres money,wealth.
    February is still enough time to apply Cow-manure but it must be fairly well composted. If you have access to liberal amounts of Cow manure you could think about digesting it to produce your own Methane Gas and then the end product of compost is suitable for the ground, greenhouse and seedlings.
    To have a really successful garden the application of farmyard manure is compulsory,the resultant production of large amounts of Vegetables and Flowers is totally worth the endeavour and you might even win at your local Vegetable, Flower and Fruit Exhibition in the Autumn. Great example for preaching through activity and lifestyle.
    The old addage of “practice what you preach” is so applicable in Vegetarianism using animal products as fertiliser.The example of Veganism does not work on a global basis but in Vaisnavism we have the secret of Cow-Protection in its purest form.The idea is Cow-Protection and Community go hand in hand so that they both have a Symbiotic relationship with each other. In my definition of Cow-Protection and Community I believe it is impossible to have one without the other. And so Economy is produced from the combination of these two items and then comes all the other comcomittant factors.The never ending cycle is put into place for Vaisnavas to live in a peaceful, harmonious and natural lifestyle. First we have Cow-Protection and the Community depend on Land and Cows and so the Economy is created through the Symbiotic relationship.This simple lifestyle,essentially based on the Mode of Goodness for Food,Energy, Housing and Business, is the created example for preaching on how to sustain human beings without killing animals and without exploiting humans.
    All we have to do is practice it.

  7. dusyanta dasa

    Hare Krishna.
    As we all face the driest spring/summer since 1976 it poses challenging times for gardens and gardeners. Prevention is always better then cure and so the gardeners who have introduced well rotted manure and compost in the winter will now be reaping the rewards.

    No matter who we are, and where we are, we all have to eat. Its a fundamental principle and that is why as Vaishnavas we have the strong advantage of Cow protection.Unless we use animal fertiliser in our farming/gardening techniques it is impossible to sustain ourselves.The Vegan ideology is impractical to apply and soon we would all starve to death. There just isn’t enough compost to go around without animals. Especially in Agriculture.

    But with Cow Protection one of the bi-products is cow manure. This can be used in so many ways. Firstly we can use a plant to digest the manure and create useful Methane gas as a form of alternative energy without raping the planet and when this process is finished we have the perfect food for the earth,compost.

    Without using that process we can directly introduce the manure into the soil using different methods but preferably trenching the manure underground so the nutrients are available directly for the plants at root level. The manure can be used for mulching and to stop evaporation as well but the nutrients just evaporate as well being no use for plants on that level. Better to use grass cuttings for summer mulching.

    Those who have been able to introduce manure into the earth in the winter will be very aware of how this benefits the plants.If we compare different parts of the garden or fields where this has been applied the difference is noticeable through the eye and then when the crop is ready for harvest. The amount is tremendous.

    I was able to introduce a year’s worth of composted grass cuttings from last year into the plot i had earmarked for my earlies and second earlies(potatoes).The compost only stretched for half the allotted area. Now in June 2010 the potatoes with the compost look lush and vigorous whereas the others are definitely suffering from the lack of rain and goodness.

    Luckily we live next to a river and so we have been irrigating at night to help the plants grow.But it can’t be over stressed the need to introduce good rotting animal manure with straw. Its a perfect combination especially with Cow Protection. Its as good as gold.

    We are now harvesting a number of Vegetables and fruit from the garden to offer to Srila Prabhupada for His pleasure and the immense satisfaction and happiness this brings is immeasurable. We are making a garland for Srila Prabhupada and Vase flowers and Offering flowers on a daily basis and the altar looks glorious,what a wonderful Summer so far.
    Firsts this year for us to grow are Carrots, Mange Tout and a type of Chard that is red like Beetroot.The garden is producing meals everyday for the five of us including Coriander, Fenugreek, Parsley, Mint, Lemon Balm and Rosemary. Also we have made Elderflower Cordial and frozen it for year round use, just add water to taste, its lovely with sparkly water around Christmas, the taste of summer in a drink in Winter is amazing. And we are going to make Elderflower Champagne, non- alcoholic of course. Elderflower,if you like the taste,is refreshing on hot Summer days.
    As usual we have grown yellow Courgettes as well as Green to use raw in salads just grated in. And the huge patch of Corn on the Cob are just loving the hot Summer this year.

    I hope you all are getting as much out of your gardens and if you’re just beginning then the future in gardening is fabulous. Just from these tiny little seeds that we sow the most wonderful food is produced and by the way there are so many good realisations attached to gardening,and what a wonderful preaching example this is for all your friends. Invite them around and cook from the garden and offer to Srila Prabhupada and then partake with your friends and show them the practical example of Krishna consciousness that works today for us all. Its something we can all relate to and be impressed by.
    From seed to earth,growing vegetables and then harvested by hand and cooked with love and devotion to be offered with care and attention to the greatest Acharya in Vaishnavism and then put on your plate to be enjoyed and relished as Prasadam with your friends. Philosophy in motion. Holistic spiritual life. Can it get any more blissful than that?

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