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

The Symbolic Meaning of the Camellia

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Camellia Flower Lady Song


She sang the trot like she owned the narrative,

as if she was singing about her inner most secret.


-The lady who lost her lover

The place where she met him

The Place with the Camellia flower


By Dawn of Lighten

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photo credit via monrovia.com

The camellia is a beautiful flower that is delicate in appearance and prefers warmer, tropical climates to grow within instead of cold or arid environments.  The original origins can be traced back to Japan and China where it was first developed and then later taken over to Europe where it flourished in the warmer areas of the continent.  Certain places such as the Borromeo Islands are also said to have a healthy harvest of camellia varieties where their colors expand outside of typical white, red and pink shades and into variegated hues.  The foliage is equally stunning having flashy wax leaves that add to the flower’s dramatic presentation.  While its physical features have inspired the flower to be symbolic of admiration, beauty and repentance, the camellia has grown to symbolize further meanings throughout the years and across the globe.


Most famously, the camellia was brought into popularity after it was used as the focus of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, La Dame aux Camelias.  The book became such a huge success that the flower inspired renowned operas such as “La Traviata” by Verdi.  After these masterpiece’s debuted, the flower could be seen worn as lapel bouquets (boutonnières) and became quite trendy within the fashion and floral world.  One of the camellia’s biggest advocates was handed straight from the imperial designer, Coco Chanel.  


Fascinating enough, the camellia’s importance and symbolism varies depending on what country and region you happen to be referencing.  For instance, while the flower means young sons and daughters when discussed in China (also southern China’s official flower), Korea chooses to acknowledge its importance in terms of loyalty and faithfulness.  In Japanese culture, camellia’s mean “divinity” but in England, it is used as a gift to express a romantic interest from a secret admirer.  Can you guess what the camellia symbolizes in the United States?  Not only is it the state of Alabama’s official flower but the camellia means beauty, passion, longing and desire.  

Tags: Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Camellia

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 goddess, “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 goddess decided that flowering hyacinth would forever bloom wherever her 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: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Hyacinth, Flower Meanings

The Symbolism Behind the Holly Plant

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 05, 2016

The Holly Tree


Mild day in winter, week before Christmas

Turns out the tree in your front yard has been

A holly tree all along, finally showing true colors

As a taxi driver leaves the driveway and

A neighbor in a red shirt crosses the concrete

Sidewalk. The succulents to my side reach like alien

Synapses, your white car looks at me cross-

eyed, cinnabar brick damp with Peninsula fog.


By Kelly O'Connor

Holly_symbolism.jpg

photo credit via howtogrowstuff.com

The Holly Tree is one of the most popular symbols of the Yuletide spirit and is on the list of the top ten requested items for seasonal décor.  The primary reason behind this is the plants stunning appearance that exudes shockingly strong colors of green and red.  Its bright and shiny foliage is complimented beautifully by crimson red berries that dangle from the wood of the stem making this a Christmas lovers treasure when utilizing holly in centerpieces, wreaths and garland.  Often, you can find this variety planted as a bush outside residential homes where it remains true to its color year round (yes, even in New England).  Due to this desirable trait, many florists and decorators adore this hardy species because of other flowers difficulty surviving the harsher winter weather where they fall victim typically to ice and frost.  If it’s not used in landscaping, you’ll see cut branches often folded into festive arrangements, particularly when accompanied with red roses, pine and other traditional December greenery.  One thing that you want to keep in mind if you’re planning on bringing holly into your house are its prickly leaves that are sharp enough to cause wounding if one gets too close.  Perhaps this singular flaw is the reason behind its symbolic reference when not paired with the cheer and joy of Christmas.  


Holly’s hard, pointed edges are historically referenced with the idea of “combativeness” and “pain”.  The beguiling attractiveness of the plant also explains the theme of “trickery” found in religious transcripts not unlike the forbidden fruit in Adam and Eve.  The appeal of the round jewel toned orbs and the glitz of the leaves exudes the well-known lesson, “Not everything that is beautiful is necessarily a good thing.”  “Aggression” and “defensiveness” are two more synonyms associated with holly, particularly in Roman times when the redness of the berries were a sign of war and bloodshed to come.  Several battles are on record to have occurred just because a soldier spotted the tree in full bloom, triggering him to be on guard no matter who was the next to approach him.  Like many other plants possessing the red appearance of a bloom or fruit, holly is also tied to the devil meaning that he is close by and watching you.  

Tags: Language of Flowers, Symbols of Christmas, Flower Meanings, Holly

Popular Funeral Flowers and Their Meanings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 30, 2016

Flowers are a customary tradition when planning a funeral and are often one of the happier highlights to the event because of their ability to soothe onlookers with their beauty and aroma.  Quite often, you’ll notice arrangements in baskets given by friends and family, pulpit arrangements and of course, the casket covers designed in a variety of different ways.  Sometimes relatives decide to have flower arrangements reflect a personality trait or a favorite color and other times there is a religious connection to the selected blooms.  Florists also have their favorites, which are often an assortment of chrysanthemums, roses and lilies.  One reason is due to their easy, availability from wholesalers year round and the second relies on the symbolic meaning they reflect when utilized in funeral pieces.

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Certain blossoms hold certain meanings when it comes to funerals and each can represent a particular thought, feeling or sentiment that grievers wish to express.  If you’ve never heard of this practice than you’ll want to learn more about the flowers your sending and the messages they’re conveying!  Here is a list of the most popular varieties of funeral flowers used in the northeast and their meaning when implemented on this occasion.  

 

Roses

Roses are the single most requested variety used in funeral pieces because they’re large enough to take up space, strong enough to last most temperatures for the duration of the occasion, highly fragrant and have a unique meaning according to each shade chosen.  Yellow is typically the sign for friendship while pink pays homage to remembrance and kindness.  Red is probably the most universal for funerals because it symbolizes grief and love and white transcribes as purity, innocence and everlasting bonds.

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Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums (or otherwise known as spider mums and pom poms) are the oldest variety connected with funeral flowers with the exception of roses.  As they are usually relatively inexpensive, they have a substantial head that allows designers to easily create casket covers and other larger pieces for the ceremony or gravesite.  These flowers also hold a strong significance within many religions and emphasize the idea of “rebirth” and “heaven” in many cultures around the world.

 

Lilies

When it comes to funerals, lilies have a bad wrap and it’s mainly due to its pungent smell that can fill an entire room.  Wildly popular with undertakers and funeral directors, these star-like flowers make a grand presence because of their size and shape as well as emit a reflection of “grace” and “angelica”.  The bloom also holds a direct connection to the Christian religion where it is believed that grievers filled the Virgin Mary’s tomb with pure white stems of lilies.  Unfortunately, many people link the flower’s appearance and scent to death and are sometimes rejected by those who become upset by the association.    

Tags: Language of Flowers, Sympathy Flowers, Funeral Florist, Funeral Flowers, Flower Meanings

Great Book Reads About Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 09, 2016

If you share a love for both flowers and reading, you already know how fantastic it is to find a title that combines the two!  I’m not referring to gardening “How-To” manuals or floral designing guides but stories that are written to include themes and ideas related to blossoms.  Perhaps it’s a novel about an owner of a flower shop who falls in love with a customer or maybe even a “Who-Done –It?” about someone being poisoned by a lethal petal.  Whatever your tastes may be, there are a variety of options readily available from your local bookstore and library.

 

I know what you’re thinking… How do you know the page-turners from the duds when hunting for this particular type of novel?  Well, it just so happens that I recently found a list of recommended titles that are thematic of flower world and have reviewed as some of the best!  While you may enjoy one genre apposed to another, there are thousands to choose from which celebrate a passion for blooms penned after some of our most impressive literary talentsSo if you’re looking for a fabulous flower read, take a peek at these books for adults that have topped Boston florist’srecommended reading lists!

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The Language of Flowers

By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

 

Victoria has always had trouble communicating with others but when she finds she has a gift of speaking through flowers, her world of possibilities change for the better.  Orphaned as a child, she discovers that she has the ability to improve others lives and circumstances just by giving them a particular variety of blossom.  Growing confident with her talents, she discovers her capabilities even when a stranger threatens to eradicate her ability forever.

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Pretty Poison

By Joyce Lavene

 

Peggy adores her life as a florist and is excited to start the autumn season selling mums and other seasonal flowers.  Just as she unlocks the door to start a new day, she discovers a rich man bludgeoned to death by a shovel lying right in the middle of her fall display!  With time running out and a police station full of morons, Peggy takes it upon herself to crack the case and find the murderer before they find her! 

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 Florist Grump

By Kate Collins

 

Abby Knight is a local florist with a passion for posies and pansies but when her housing situation goes belly up, she and new husband Marco are forced to live with her parents who make life difficult to say the least.  It’s not until an affluent member of the community daisy turns up “pushing daisies” that the newlyweds must find the killer before the killer finds them!

Tags: Language of Flowers, Books, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Libraries

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

chrysanthemum_meaning.jpg

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

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

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

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

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