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19 October 2021

The cyclamen symbolises the empathetic, devoted heart, and was therefore planted beside old monasteries and churchyards in the countries around the Mediterranean. In Japan it is the holy flower of love. We were very touched by an email a reader sent to us yesterday: 'In our wonderful childhood garden our parents had autumn cyclamen, rejoicing at their appearance in the darkening year - bright hallmarks of joy. When we left the nest, their cyclamen were duly shared to grow in our own first gardens, subsequently always moving on with us  - precious symbols of connection and continuity. As a widower, celebrating the arrival of grandchildren in his advancing years, our father continued to enjoy his little jewels - emotive emblems of mortality. Following his death, our annual autumn cyclamen would herald memories - poignant ensigns of reflection, reminiscence and remembrance. Our own children are now leaving the nest, departing with cyclamen in hand - cherished round tubers of tradition.' We haven't had time to ask this Persephone reader's permission to reprint these lines, but we suspect she won't mind. We for our part are a bit overwhelmed by this beautiful description of the circle and renewal and growth of family love symbolised by cyclamen.

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