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Using Flowers to Create Peace and Serenity

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 14, 2017

In this time, many of us are seeking signs of peace and tranquility due to the tumultuous conditions we view our world is in today.  Everyday life has seemed to also become far more stressful and hectic compared to only two decades ago, causing painful anxiety for millions of people.  Technology, inflation, over population and depleting environmental concerns are just a few of the reasons why we struggle to maintain a harmonious balance with others and ourselves.  For some, exercise is their chosen therapy and for others; perhaps meditation or sleep is what works to keep them above the surface of the water.  Whatever means you implement, it is a proven fact that these activities are beneficial for our mental being and is detrimental in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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One facet that is becoming more and more popular as we continue to seek our own Zen avenue, is the accumulation of specific species of plants that are known to effervesce the spirit of “peace”. From around the earth, different ethnicities, cultures and religions have collected these plants for centuries claiming they possess some sort of healing property to induce the feeling of relaxation. It isn’t unheard of to infuse teas with lavender petals or rose hips to encourage a particular sensation so why is it far fetched that just viewing a blossom can also change our mental state?  According to experts, if you place one of these blooms in front of you for at least a half hour to an hour a day, you can actually stimulate positive hormones throughout the human body.  Ideal placement would be on a dining room table, bedroom or a sitting area of the home that you spend a significant time within.  Check out these interesting varieties of flowers and see if you might enjoy the benefits of ocular floral hypnotherapy.

  • White Poppies
  • Lavender
  • Apple Blossoms
  • Olive Branches
  • Cat Tails

Tags: Peace, Flowers as Symbols, Flowers for Emotional Health, Health

What is the Meaning of the Cowslip Flower  - Primula Veris

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 27, 2017


Fairy Land I


Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,

Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,

I do wander everywhere,

Swifter than the moonè’s sphere;

And I serve the fairy queen,

To dew her orbs upon the green:

The cowslips tall her pensioners be;

In their gold coats spots you see;

Those be rubies, fairy favours,

In those freckles live their savours:

I must go seek some dew-drops here,

And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.


William Shakespeare

(1564 - 1616)

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photo credit via www.seasonalwildflowers.com

Cowslip is a welcomed flower for New Englander’s because once the winter snow melts, beautiful clumps of yellow patches emerge from the ground telling us that spring is close by.  The cowslip, or otherwise known as “Primula Veris”, is a traditional bloom that has been written about for centuries, including the infamous William Shakespeare as seen in his poem, “Fairy Land I”.  Although the origin of the flower is somewhat obscure, the pretty petals have certainly earned a rich history behind their importance and usage.


One of the most popular beliefs surrounding cowslip is its reference to Saint Peter, the gatekeeper of Heaven.  According to myth, one day he heard a rumor that people were entering heaven through a secret door instead of being accountable to the saint at the front entrance.  He became so angry that he dropped his keys, which fell to earth and instantly grew into a plant referred to as “Key Flower”.  The key-like shape of cowslip and its multiple blooms suggest that those who find it can use the keys to sneak into the backdoor to heaven.  


Another equally interesting legend that pertains to cowslip is its association with fairies.  The flower is said to be extremely precious to fairies and is used to find their hidden treasures and gifts.  Along with the symbolism of “death”, “birth” and “doom”, the cowslip also means “adventure” and “mischief” which comes from this particular fable.  


The beautiful blooms do have outside uses other than primarily decorative as well, since the heads are sought after to make cowslip wine and a children’s toy called “toasties”.  

Tags: Cowslip Primula, Flower Meanings, Language of Flowers, Flowers as Symbols

The Meaning of the “Mimosa” Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Feb 22, 2017

I am like a mimosa tree


If only you could see

I am like a mimosa tree

My branches you can climb

My leaves will give you shade

When my spring arrives

My flowers you can see

The aroma is only for you


By Wade Lancaster

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As a previous floral importer, I have many fond memories of early mornings spent in Boston awaiting some of the most beautiful varieties of blooms from around the world.  One delivery I always anticipated was our weekly shipment from Italy that would include boxes of deliciously scented petals, specifically freshly pruned mimosa.  The electric yellow color of round balls hanging from the boughs of their dainty stems always made this such a treat and often we had a hard time keeping the product in stock for longer than an hour.  Customers stood in line to purchase bundles of the intoxicating flora that brides across the city adamantly requested for their bridal bouquets.  Although there is an increased allergen reaction due to it’s high content of pollen, mimosa not only makes a lovely additive to large floral arrangements but is also cherished because of its rich history.

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Originally, the plant was found to grow in Africa and Asia, preferring warmer climates as opposed to colder.  As experimentalists, scientists and botanists took specimens and cultivated them in other parts of the world, the flower began to pop up in new areas such as Australia and even America (California).  France soon joined the mimosa bandwagon and now can harvest this special variety in the hills and mountains of cities outside Nice.   The French were so excited about their new native bloom that they made mimosa a permanent part of the celebratory decorations during parades and carnival events.  Floats in particular are traditionally covered in yellow pompoms as a sign of joy and good luck sending a positive message to all spectators that attend.   


So what is the meaning of the mimosa flower?


Funny enough, mimosa is tied to “sensibility” and is often connected to philosophers or problem solvers.  It also means to literally “expand” your life whether referring to family, career or travel planning.  In other cultures, mimosa is tied to “sensitivity” and is given in small bouquets as a gesture of mourning or sympathy.  Here in the states, the pretty yellow spheres have become symbolic as the official flower to “Women’s Day”.  

Tags: Mimosa, Women's Day, Language of Flowers, Flowers as Symbols, Flower Meanings

The Meaning of the English Daisy

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 17, 2017

The Daisy

the daisy in the vase

sits by the window

with its feet dipped in water

its drooping head

drinking in sunshine


By Lea Rose

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photo credit: via gardenguides.com

The English Daisy is one of the most popular and traditional flowers of all time and to this day, remains to be a favorite for many.  Wildly grown and used as a natural romantic predictor for whether “he loves me, he loves me not,” (derived from French origin - effeuiller la marguerite) this bloom has made a considerable symbolic impact within a variety of cultures.  


The physical attributes of the flower are known for its’ daintiness and sweet appeal.  Each head of yellow is surrounded by white petals and tipped with pink at the very edges.  Being the “sister” to the white daisy, the English variety also grows in clumps, giving off several different shoots during its blooming stage.  The petals are dark colored in green and have a soft, plush texture when rubbed between your fingers.  Typically, the English Daisy blooms right before Easter, telling all that spring is close to arrive but if the weather is temperate during the fall, you might see a re-shoot of the plant before the coldness of winter sets in.


Since this flower is thought to be an older species, it’s meaning can be traced back to times during the Renaissance and probably even beforehand.  Artists sought out the flower for many paintings, particularly those with a theme of innocence and purity.  As stated before, one of the greatest purposes of the English Daisy was an efficient tool to foretell the future.  Children often played games such as “Rich man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief, Doctor, Layer, Banker, Chief” to see what occupation they would someday have by taking one petal off for each different title.  When there was one left, a girl would know what her future husband would have as a career.  Another use would be for a young female to close her eyes and rip out of clump of flowers from the base of the roots.  If she pulled out five buds, then it would be five years until she wed.  


Other depictions of the English Daisy can be connected to calmness where it is believed if you hang pictures of the flower in your home, you will attract a sense of peace and calmness for all those who live there.  “Rebirth” is another common meaning where the stems are layered on top of recently deceased gravesites as a well wish for the life after.  “Gentleness is another huge theme behind the flower and is shown by making wreaths placed atop heads as a token symbol.  

Tags: Flower Meanings, Daisies, Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers

The Symbolic Meaning of the Hyacinth

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

"Innocent Hyacinth Tinted with Mint"

Innocent Hyacinth tinted with mint

Tingèd grey hinged on stem singed

With chestnut leaves flowing, to me a fair hint


Of off-centered carousing, black eyes perusing

Wares of all sorts and stocks of all shares

The leading on of a pleasure most gracefully enthusing…


By Guy Braddock

Mar 24, 2014


The hyacinth is probably the most famous blossom associated with the end of winter in New England and the beginning of a new spring season.  Although it is customarily tied to native Boston gardening, the hyacinth actually originated in western Asia and was eventually brought to Europe where their popularity expanded across the continents.  The bulbs are typically planted in the fall and are the first to arrive as soon as the temperatures begin to raise up into the low forty to fifty degree weather patterns.  They are quite popular in flower shops and nurseries because they are available in a wide array of colors including purple, pink, peach, white and even salmon.  The hyacinth is world renowned by the largest importers of the world and has maintained one of the top five spots for most exported flower for gifts within holidays such as Easter, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.  One of the reasons is due to their incredible scent that usually registers as a sweet infused aroma.  Its ability to outlast many of its other floral companions is another reason it keeps itself in high demand.  Many believe its sturdy shape and compacted bell-like heads acquires the asset of longevity for the plant.   The petals climb up a durable stem and form a tree-like formation with several flowers blossoming one on top of the other.  

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Symbolically, the hyacinth is dated back to the Greeks, where both the gods, Apollo and Zephyrus pined after the god, “Hyacinth”.  When Zephyrus became jealous of his fierce competition from the handsome boy, he changed the course of the wind, causing a discus to hit Apollo and kill him.  Broken hearted, the god decided that flowering hyacinth would forever bloom wherever his lover’s blood had shed as a sign for remembrance.  This is why themes such as sorrow were originally tied to the bloom although constancy and discretion are also mentioned in reference to hyacinth.  


Through the years and cultivation of the species, the eclectic assortments of colors that are now grown have brought about a new way of categorizing the hyacinth’s meaning.  Refer to the chart below to see a chart of each color and what it means.


            Pink-Bashfulness/Happiness        Yellow- Jealousy          Purple-Sadness

            Blue- Sincerity     White-Purity

Tags: Hyacinth, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols

What Is the Meaning of the Chrysanthemum Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Nov 01, 2016

The Symbolic Meaning of Chrysanthemum


Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum,

Rose,

Buttercup.

Each morning he would guess a floret that might match

Her loveliness.

And every night,

When he pulled her close under…

By Pearl

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photo credit via Flower Factor

The Chrysanthemum has a long history of importance within several different regions and cultures of the world.  Today, the flower meaning “gold” is seen in most flower shops and is used consistently within arrangements, particularly funeral pieces.  Although they can mean love, loyalty, friendship, luck and a whole slew of other connotations, mums historically have been tied to death and mourning.  In practical terms, the bloom’s impressive overall physical properties of longevity, wide spectrum of color, and year round availability is responsible for their high demand in global markets.  The chrysanthemum’s sturdy stem and large head also make them a pleasure to design with as well although the symbolic significance behind the flower is its real reasoning for being the number one flower bought for this occasion.

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According to belief in Japan, the flower signifies peace and strength of the soul to those survived by their loved ones.  Mums are continually seen throughout many festivals and are utilized in celebrations extending from religious rituals as well as weddings.  The flower became such an asset to this culture that Japanese horticulturalists were the first in the world to cultivate shades outside of its wildlife hue of natural yellow.  Thanks to their expertise in knowledge of the chrysanthemum, varieties now exist that include tones of red, white, green, gold and violet.


As travel options increased and the floral industry widened, Japan was able to share and expose their native blooms to other countries.  Slowly, mums began to pop up everywhere making a huge splash across Europe, particularly France.  In the late nineteenth century, the French became obsessed with the new species and began farming the chrysanthemum in abundance along their countryside.  Due to its fuss-free nature, the flower became increasingly popular where they even attached its significance to the holiday, “All Saints Day”, ironically occurring during the time when the flower blooms.


Japan and France aren’t the only countries that adore this stunning species either.   Australia uses the mum as the preferred choice for gifting mom with flowers on Mother’s Day and China recognizes them as one of the “Four Gentlemen” which ties into the importance of cultural artwork.  In the United States, not only does New Orleans use it as the symbol for “All Saint’s Day” but the U.S. has officially deemed the chrysanthemum as the primary flower for the month of November.   

Tags: Fall, Chrysanthemum, Mums, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols

The Meaning of the Anemone Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Oct 21, 2016


Those Pretty Anemones


I love all kinds of anemones

Simply because they remind me

Greatly and wonderfully of my earliest days

Of my childhood ...

I used to see them during Springtime…


By Mohammad Skati


The Anemone is a strong symbol for the beginning of spring and is often one of the first blooms to emerge from the newly thawing earth in some climates of the USA.  Not to be confused with the “Sea Anemone” the flower is commonly found in wooded areas and thrives within damp soil conditions with a high acidic reading.  Their appearance varies from shades of deep red all the way to bright purple, although once the bloom began to be cultivated by professional growers inside greenhouses, their colors expanded to other areas of the spectrum.  Now you can find these beauties in shades ranging from blush peaches, creams and pink.  Although the stem is delicate and will break easily if not held with care, the Anemone (or otherwise known as “windflowers”) will last longer in bouquets and arrangements compared to other seasonal varieties.  

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photo credit: www.vanishingtattoo.com

The symbolic meaning of the flower is tied to Zephyrus (the God of the Winds) who fell in love with a woman while he was married to another.  His wife became so overcome with rage and jealousy that she cast a spell on the girl, turning her into the flowering Anemone so that her husband could no longer be with her.  Due to this tale, the flower is often reflective of “abandonment” or “longing” and sometimes has a “jilted lover”reference.  


Another notion that is tied to the flower is its ability to ward of disease and evil.  It is unsure where exactly this meaning is derived from although the motion of the petals to close during the night is one possible theory.  Some Eastern cultures tend to disagree with this position and believe that anemones are future signs of bad luck.  As a matter of fact, the bloom is commonly seen as part of casket sprays and sympathy baskets at funeral ceremonies and burials.  


Since the flower has a wide array of symbolic meaning across the globe, it is wise to give the anemone as a gift to patients in the hospital gesturing “get better soon” or as to newlyweds to reinforce the idea of “faithfulness” and “loyalty”.  If you are unsure of the appropriateness of the occasion, be sure to ask your local floristfor help to avoid any embarrassing mixed messages about the Anemone.  

Tags: Anemone, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols

The States and Their Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

Have you ever wondered what the state flower of Massachusetts is?  It’s actually the Mayflower.  Can you guess why?  Well first of all, there’s the obvious reason of the name being tied to our founding father, Christopher Columbus who sailed the ocean blue until he landed on Plymouth Rock.  The ship he rode over on was also called “The Mayflower” making it the perfect flora from the northeast to symbolize.  Also called climbing laurel or trailing arbutus, the pretty purple blossoms are clumped together in a delicate pattern holding a sweet fragrance that makes it a favorite among many New Englanders.  Mayflower prefers sandy sediment or rocky soil that is typical where evergreens grow so if you’re taking a walk in the woods, keep your eyes peeled!

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Like the meaning and sentiment the mayflower represents to the residents of Massachusetts, people across the U.S. pay homage to a particular flower that makes them unique from surrounding areas.  Each and every state has an assigned bloom that tells a special story reflective of a historical background, a topographical attribute or traditional rite.  Check out your state flower by following the grid below!



Alabama

Camellia

Alaska

Forget-me-not

Arizona

Saguaro Cactus blossom

Arkansas

Apple blossom

California

California Poppy

Colorado

Rocky Mountain Columbine

Connecticut

Mountain laurel

Delaware

Peach blossom

Florida

Orange blossom

Georgia

Cherokee Rose

Hawaii

Hawaiian hibiscus (ma‘o hau hele)

Idaho

Mock Orange

Illinois

Purple Violet

Indiana

Peony

Iowa

Wild Prairie Rose

Kansas

Sunflower

Kentucky

Goldenrod

Louisiana

Magnolia

Maine

White pine cone and tassel

Maryland

Black-eyed susan

Massachusetts

Mayflower

Michigan

Apple blossom

Minnesota

Pink and white lady's slipper

Mississippi

Magnolia

Missouri

Hawthorn

Montana

Bitterroot

Nebraska

Goldenrod

Nevada

Sagebrush

New Hampshire

Purple lilac

New Jersey

Violet

New Mexico

Yucca flower

New York

Rose

North Carolina

American Dogwood

North Dakota

Wild Prairie Rose

Ohio

Scarlet Carnation

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Rose

Oklahoma

(Floral Emblem)

Mistletoe

Oklahoma (Wildflower)

Indian Blanket

Oregon

Oregon grape

Pennsylvania

Mountain Laurel

Rhode Island

Violet

South Carolina

Yellow Jessamine

South Dakota

Pasque flower

Tennessee

Iris

Texas

Bluebonnet

Utah

Sego lily

Vermont

Red Clover

Virginia

American Dogwood

Washington

Coast Rhododendron

West Virginia

Rhododendron

Wisconsin

Wood Violet

Wyoming

Indian Paintbrush

Tags: Mayflower, Florist Massachusetts, United States, Flowers, Flowers as Symbols

The Symbolic Meaning of Passion Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Passion Flower


Choose who will the wiser part,

I have held her heart to heart;

And have felt her heart-strings stirred,

And her soul's still singing heard


For one golden-haloed hour

Of Love's life the passion-flower.


So the world may roll or rest,

I have tasted of its best;


And shall laugh while I have breath

At thy dart and thee, O Death!


By Victor Daley

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Photo credit Christie Brinkley via Instagram

I used to collect Passion Flower samples and hang them from the hooks all around my apartment because I was drawn to their bright purple and chartreuse colored blossoms and their delicate branches that wove tendrils throughout the plant.  The characteristics of its weird and wild head make all the more allure and quite a conversational piece as well.  Also referred to as “Passiflora Caerulea”, this flowering plant actually originates in North America, which is rare for warmer climate loving tropicals.  The deep hues and architectural attributes also make this beauty a highly desirable decorative feature for home décor designers as well as florists who specialize in cultivating orchids.  The affordability factor compared to other similar species is also an attractive element as is their year round accessibility for ordering from high end wholesalers.  


The symbolic relevance of the Passion Flower is almost entirely circumvented around religion, specifically Catholics and Christians.  Travelers settling in the United States from Spain first saw the plant as a sign of the Crucifixion.  Due to the flower's symmetric numerical values and interesting fringed petals and tendrils, onlookers believed that the design of the flower symbolized the ten apostles, crown of thorns and cross to which Jesus was nailed to.  It isn’t really clear whether a sighting of the Passion Flower was a good or a bad omen but the gravity of coming upon one during their travels usually led to a direct visit to church for prayer.  The passion flower also bears large orange and yellow fruits, which contains seeds colored blood red- yet another indication of the weighty religious significance.   


Other areas of the world such as India believe that the Passion Flower is a symbol of the Five Pandava Brothers, a family who were all married to the same woman named Draupadi.  Again, connected by the flower’s unusual appearance, the several sepals that surround the head are said to represent an army of a thousand men while the exquisite blue hue in the center is reflective of the Divine Krishna’s aura.

Tags: Passion Flower, Christie Brinkley, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols, Exotic Flowers

The Symbolic Meaning of Heather

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 10, 2016

If you ever go to Scotland

on a summer day,

you'll fall in love with Heather

Heather's blooming along the

bay.


Raising their tiny heads to

address the day

you won't believe their beauty

They will take your breath away.


This is a magical time, Heather's

growing wild and free

looking at a field of flowers

Captivated, by their beauty.


By Heather Burns

 

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photo credit: David Kesler, Floral Design Institute, Inc., in Portland, OR via Flower Factor

Heather is an old fashioned flower that has bell-like heads, which grow in shrubs along rocky hillsides and meadows.  Due to their preferred growing conditions, this species requires very little attention and will flourish in areas that are rural and untouched by human development.  The heather species was first found in parts of Asia as well as Europe, particularly within Scotland borders.  Originally, the plant was called “hather” which translates into “open land covered with flowers” but was eventually changed to “heather” after the term “heath”.  The petals are colored in white, pink or mauve, each holding a different meaning depending on the hue.  In general, heather stands for independence, solidarity, protection and sorrow although different cultures have adapted their own symbolism through traditions and folklore.


One story describes the flower as being traced back to the early battles that took place on Scottish soil.  White blooms of heather were worn by soldiers on their chests to mean “protection” against the enemy and given by maidens to wish them “good luck”.  It was important that the flowers were white because if they were gifted in darker shades, the opposite was true.  Pink or mauve varieties were seen as “blood-shed” and “death” of fallen soldiers and would sometimes be planted near the corpses after warring had ended.  It is popular belief that not only will white heather never grow near the deceased but it is also the home to nymphs and other magical creatures.  If you’re ever hunting for fairies, stay away from the darker shades because they symbolize the bearer of bad news.


While it is true that heather surrounds several different notions of dying and feeling of being by oneself, there are other stories that celebrate the heather’s importance with immortality.   Most famously is the story of a princess who fell in love with a soldier who she was promised to marry.  Though unfortunately he was killed before they could be wedded, the princess planted only white sprigs of the plant at his grave and swore that no unhappiness shall ever come to another person who beholds the shade of white heather.  

Tags: Heather, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers

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