Saturday, June 6, 2015

Flower Power

Several years ago, after reading The Language of Flowers, I became fascinated, nay, nearly obsessed with the meanings of flora and fauna.  The more I read, the more enchanted I became.  Back in the Victorian Era, when young lovers would court, always chaperoned, there wasn't much room for the whispering of sweet nothings.  So, these besotted admirers would create bouquets of various flowers, seemingly innocent in appearance.  However, one could easily communicate the deeper, inexpressible feelings of ardent love (cactus), passion (bougainvillea), attachment (jasmine), or hope (hawthorn).  

Interestingly, the hydrangea, a bloom featured in many summer wedding bouquets, represents dispassion.  Hmm, it might be time to re-think that one.  Perhaps something that is a declaration of love (tulips).  They are quite lovely.  It's also quite appropriate that the apple symbolizes temptation.  It goes back to the Garden.

As Teleflora and FTD would like us to know, a rose isn't just a rose.  The color of the rose communicates a very specific message.  You find modesty in pale peach, longing or missing someone in yellow, and fascination in orange.  Of course, with the hybrid blooms and color dye, we have teal, purple, and blue roses, too.  The traditional red rose will always speak of love.  Usually the true, the passionate, the eternal.  According to one website, should you receive a bouquet of mixed color roses, the sender is saying, "I don't know what my feelings are yet but I sure do like you enough to send you roses." Kind of the floral equivalent of putting your money where your mouth is, I suppose.

If there was an important message forthcoming, one would send a bouquet of irises.  An unsure admirer might send a handful of camellias, indicating that his destiny was in the hands of the recipient.  However, you certainly didn't want to receive of bouquet of thistles which represent misanthropy.  Only Eeyore makes thistle admiration tolerable.

I decided to take a stroll through my not-so-secret garden.  We have magnolia (dignity), azalea (fragile and ephmeral passion which fits as the blooms only stay around about two weeks), and hosta (hardy plant which even I can't kill).  External donations have come in the form of amaryllis (pride) and daylilies (coquetry--I adore the sound of that word).  Once the premier flower of our iris (message) garden fades away, we have asiatic lilies (chastity and purity) and a beautiful butter-cream wild rose bush (there is no traditional symbolism but I like to think of it as meaning unmerited gift or serendipity).  We have strawberries (perfection) and various types of mint (virtue and protection from illness).  We have planted oregano (joy) which I trust will counteract the basil meaning of hate (How did that happen?  Basil is a lovely herb.).  We also have some veggies growing which have no documented definition but to our family means salsa, pickles, and tossed salad.

And, one single Blaze rose bush.  Wild, low-maintenance, and resilient.  Slightly unpredictable.  A bit thorny.  It has quite a bit of character, methinks.  

Wishing you a day filled with cosmos, gerber daisies, pink roses, and pear.  I'm not sure how that bouquet looks in a vase.  Just add baby's breath and all will be well.

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