Monday, September 21, 2015


“Every honey bee fills with jealousy
When they see you out with me
I don't blame them
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose…..”

Honeysuckle Rose composed by Fats Waller in 1929, lyrics by Andy Razaf for the show Load of Coal.

Honeysuckle is a flower that is featured in song, poetry and film. There are girls (Honeysuckle Weeks, British film star) and streets named after the honeysuckle.

                                                      Honeysuckle flowers are sweet smelling especially during the night.

“Many of the species have sweetly-scented tubular, two-lipped flowers that are creamy white or yellowish. They produce a sweet, edible nectar and most flowers are borne in clusters. There are shrubby and vining sorts of honeysuckle.” (

A flowering plant in the family Caprifoliaceae, the species Lonicera periclymenum is native to much of Europe. The name Lonicera comes from Adam Lonicer, a Renaissance botanist. “Growing to 7 m or more in height, it is a vigorous evergreen twining climber. It is found as far north as southern Norway and Sweden. It is often found in woodland or in hedgerows or scrubland. The plant is usually pollinated by moths or long-tongued bees.” (

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine’’

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (woodbine is another common name for the plant)

The fruit is usually a red, blue or black spherical berry containing several seeds; in most species the berries are mildly poisonous. Most honeysuckle berries attract wildlife which leads to invasive spreading outside of their home ranges. The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1–10 cm long.

My own name is not a flowery name but a musical one. Beste means the melody as opposed to the lyrics of a piece of musical work.  I may have been the first Beste in Turkey. I have not heard of anyone else named Beste in my generation, whereas there are many Bestes now all younger than me. My father came up with the name after reading the poem Ses (sound, voice in Turkish) by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı (1884-1958). In a part of the poem, the poet describes hearing a ‘beste’ rising from the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Bir lâhzada bir pancur açılmış gibi yazdan
 Bir bestenin engin sesi yükseldi Boğaz’dan.
 Coşmuş gene bir aşkın uzak hatırasiyle,
 Aksetti uyanmış tepelerden sırasiyle,
 Dağ dağ o güzel ses bütün etrafı gezindi;
 Görmüş ve geçirmiş denizin kalbine sindi.

Told in my own words that will not do justice to what the poet expressed:
As if a summer shutter opened, the exalted sound of a ‘beste’ rose from the Bosphorus. Elated yet again with the old memory of a love, it reflected back from the awakened hills one by one. That lovely sound hung about each mountain. It permeated to the all-knowing heart of the sea.

                                                                                             Honeysuckle on my brother Aydın’s front lawn in Maryland, USA, winter of 2013

                                           This looks like a honeysuckle kind of street.


  1. I love the smell of honeysuckle. I wish the hills around the Boshporus weren't all hidden under concrete so birdsong and flower smells could still echo across them...

  2. If one looks it is still possible to find a lot of greenery but, day by day nature is losing.