The garden of Apollo
God of light and of the arts.
His tragic lovers were transformed into plants : Cypress, laurel, hyacinth and heliotrope…
His roles were very varied. He was the God of light and drove the sun’s chariot. He was also the God of purification, the vengeful God who unleashed epidemics, the God of prophecy, the protecting God, the God medicine and, above all, the God of the arts: poetry and music.
Notoriously bisexual, Apollo had a soft spot for young shepherd, Cyparissus, who lived with a stag as his only companion. One day, he was killed accidentally by his stag. Apollo wept, wild with grief, then took pity on him and turned him into a cypress tree. This explains why cypress trees are associated with cemeteries and are evocative of tears and sadness.
Hyacinth was another unfortunate lover of Apollo who accidentally killed her when playing discus. To immortalize her, Apollo raised from the ground a flower filled with her blood: the hyacinth, the curved petals of which form the letter “Y”, the first letter in Greek of the young lover’s name.
Apollo also fell passionately in love with Daphne, a nymph of outstanding beauty, but she refused his advances. She escaped and fearing that she would be caught by Apollo, she begged Zeus to take pity on her. He turned her into a wild bay tree which thereafter became Apollo’s favorite plant.
As God of light, Apollo fell in love with the nymph, Clytie, who also loved him in return. But then he also met and fell madly in love with another delightful young girl, Leucothea. Clytie fell into deep despair and went to the desert to beseech the sun, who, taking pity on her, transformed her into a flower which eternally faces the sun: the heliotrope.