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The Symbolic Meaning of Plumeria

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 22, 2018

Have you ever wanted to visit a tropical Eden such as Hawaii to walk the beaches, take in the sites and breath in the rich scent of coconuts and citrus fruits that infuse the island?  Well, here’s yet another reason to get planning on that trip!  If you enjoy learning about flowers, you’ll love the fact that a stunning species known as “Plumeria” flourishes in many parts of this frequently visited vacation destination.  The appearance of the blossom is pure perfection and sometimes gives the illusion of being too good to be true, often mistaken for a silk replication.   Cultivated from trees instead of flowers grown from plant seed, the pretty heads extend from the ends of branches in shades of white, pink, yellow and orange.  The species requires warm temperatures to reach full maturity at around 28 feet from top to base, which is why places such as Hawaii make it the ideal home for plumeria.  


Photo credit: via

Since the presence of the flower is already abundant within this region, it’s no wonder why its blooms are frequently used in common cultural and social customs.  Having the stunning properties of rich color and strong aromatic scent, plumeria is a highly demanded variety for local florists who are preparing annual events and festivities.  Leis are one item that is often seen using plumeria, particularly when there is a special occasion such as a wedding or similar celebration.  The blossoms are also utilized as hair pieces for women which can actually tell a person whether or not they are romantically involved with someone.  Worn over the right ear would indicate she is unattached while the left signals she’s already spoken for.   Wouldn’t dating be so much easier if the rest of the world followed this useful tradition?

Like many other flowers, plumeria has a strong meaning of symbolism for those who choose to acknowledge the reason. Among some traits associated with the flower such as beauty, purity and health, other meanings stand for the arrival of springtime and new beginnings.  If you have a friend who is starting a new venture, beginning a new job or moving to another area, you might want to consider gifting them with this token which will wish them luck.  The celebration of life with a newborn baby is another great way to utilize the positive spiritual antics of the plumeria flower.     


Tags: Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, lei, plumeria

Coco Movie Shines a Light on Marigolds

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 10, 2018

coco movie poster.jpg

Have you seen the movie “Coco” out in theaters yet?  If you haven’t there are so many reasons why you should grab your ticket stub now and hurry down to the cinema!  Not only is this children’s film filled with sweet sentiment surrounding the importance of family but the writers cleverly added a detail that you know I can’t resist talking about… FLOWERS!

coco marigold.jpg

If you aren’t familiar with the plot of the flick- I’ll fill you in on the basics of this deep and moving story.  Miguel is a young boy growing up in Mexico with a family who has shunned music entirely from their homes.  The practice dates back to the his great-great grandfather who abandoned his wife and child to follow his heart to become a world-renowned musician.  Of course, Miguel wants nothing more but to follow in the footsteps of the man believed to be the greatest singer/songwriter/guitarist of all time but will he defy his elders to do it?  The problem comes to a crossroads when his grandmother refuses to give him her blessing to follow his dreams, pushing the boy to take matters into his own hands.  Seeing only one way to fix this problem, Miguel travels to the “other side” in search for his true grandfather on “The Day of the Dead”- the one evening of the year when the deceased can be reunited with their loved ones.  Will Miguel meet the man who changed music forever or will he remain trapped and lose his family forever?


You’ll have to watch to find out what happens but back to the part about the flowers…

coco marigolds.jpeg

What I loved most about the film was the incredible cinematography, particularly the scenes shot with the “Petal Blessings.”  The marigold being the lucky flower chosen to signify the gesture, audiences will be pulled into the screen by the glowing, magical, orange offerings symbolizing hope to trust in yourself.  His grandmother even teaches Miguel the importance of remembering the dead with a shrine of flowers.

Tags: Language of Flowers, Flowers in the Movies, Hollywood Florist, Flower Meanings, Marigold

Tiger Lilies for the Tiger Woman

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 09, 2017

We all know that many of us choose to match our personalities with other decisions we make throughout the day.  Our clothing habits, foods, books, movies, friendships, careers all typically revolve around the true inner person that exists inside of us all.  We make these choices to confirm and celebrate the differences from those around us to better express our feelings and emotions.  It is one of the fundamental principles that we as humans possess that is exercised consistently throughout our lives.  As women, we tend to depend on this response more than our male counterparts, primarily because there is said to be a higher ability of creativity with the female hormone system.  Interesting, right?  This means that our favorite colors, styles and scents are constantly being reflected in every area where we have the option to inflict our preferences.

tiger lilies.jpg

When it comes to flowers, this is no exception and holding true to the last stat I mentioned, women tend to be pickier about what florals they showcase in and around their living spaces.  One reason is because they are trying to complement their persona with the designs seen at their local florist, which sometimes can cause a bit of confusion.  Due to this issue, many professionals in the industry are now displaying charts which give clients suggestions based on their unique personalities.  For instance, a woman who leans on the sweeter side of things is more apt to enjoy a fresh bunch of garden roses, sweet peas or peonies.  A woman regarded as slightly more intense (here’s where I lay on the spectrum) would more likely enjoy bolder varieties such as orchids, callas , lilies- specifically tiger lilies.

A fun fact about tiger lilies is that these flowers can either be cultivated in specialized greenhouses or grow wildly in the outdoors.  Their color availability is as broad as the sun, giving women like me a tremendous selection to choose from.  Red, orange, yellow, white, cream-you name it and chances are, your florist will be able to find it.  Once you have picked the shade you prefer, you can move onto whether or not you’re the kind of gal who likes clumps of a single bloom species or the opposite-a mixed arrangement with many different types of florals included.  For me, I almost always go with the single variety option because of the simplicity in beauty and uniform coloring. 

tiger woman.jpg

Tags: Flower Meanings, About Flowers, Tigers, Lilies

The Symbolic Meaning of the Butter Cup

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 18, 2017

One of the first flowers we are ever introduced to as children is the “buttercup”, a bloom which most of us found popping up in our backyards in pretty patches of yellow.  Perhaps you picked a bouquet for your mother or maybe rubbed the petals against your chin to see it glow?  However you played with these beloved, tiny blossoms, I’m confident that many of you have a summer memory or two that includes the buttercup in childhood play.  

butter cup flower.jpg

photo credit via

Belonging to the “ranunculus” family, this plant often has yellow, shiny petals and a green center, which is easily cultivated in a multitude of areas such as meadows, glens and grassy areas.   Often, it is referred to as a “weed” only because it needs little to survive and can be counted on to arrive each and every spring depending on weather conditions. Due to it’s congenial growing temperament, it’s no wonder why the buttercup becomes a sought after ground cover for many landscaping designs.

Because the buttercup is so closely intertwined with children, the symbolic meaning is understandably synonymous with this theme.  Although there are variations, quite often the flower is said to represent joy, youth, purity, happiness and friendship.  It can also mean playfulness, cheerfulness and sunshine, which reflect the bloom’s happy appearance.  If you wake up from having a dream about buttercups, this can mean that you are missing some piece of your childhood and perhaps it’s time to visit the house where you grew up or call and old friend.  Another meaning can be that you are making decisions in life, which are moving you at an uncomfortably fast pace.  In this case, it’s wise to slow down and reevaluate the direction you’ve chosen.

So where do these references originate from?  Through myth and history, the buttercup has earned its reputation from a miser and a cow, each offering their unique take on why the flower remains symbolically important.  In the first example, it is said that a miser was punished for not sharing his gold coins with fairies one day while crossing a meadow.  This angered the fairies, making them poke a hole in the bag thus dropping the money to the ground.  Fearing the miser would notice, they turned the gold into yellow flowers, which hid them from his view.  The second story originates from a farmer believing that his prized cow gave the sweetest milk because she only grazed on yellow buttercups instead of grass like the others.  The blooms nutrients were said to have made her milk delicious, surpassing any heifer in town.  You may want to take this legend with a grain of salt because cows or humans should never ingest the buttercup.  The high toxicity of the plant can cause sickness and in some cases even death.  

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

The Symbolic Meaning of the Gillyflower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 11, 2017

How many of you out there have ever heard of the “Gillyflower”?  I have to admit, I was kind of in the dark about this stock flower, which not only has an interesting appearance but also holds significant symbolic meaning to many cultures around the world.  The species grows quite richly in diversity and is thought of as a traditional bloom originating in the Mediterranean.  Although it has now been successfully cultivated in other warmer regions and still continues to grow as a highly demanded import, gillyflower remains historically as one of the original “romantic” plants for lovers.


Coming from the “stock” family, this flower holds a stunning scent within every puffy bloom and also possesses the sought after trait of being a hardy crop.  While gillyflower grows in a multitude of different colors, pink, cream and shades of white are popularly used in wedding bouquets and centerpieces (different meanings apply to different shades).  Of course, the flower’s intoxicating smell is a strong seller to brides but more than that is it’s sweet yet sturdy presentation when intermixed with a variety of other species.  The fact that gillyflower is also attached to themes of “bliss” and “everlasting love” also helps to put this bloom at the top of many wedding party planner’s lists.

The symbolism of the stock flower dates back to centuries ago in England where it was used as a type of currency to buy parcels of land.  Often referred to as “clove”, people believed the blossom to be valuable, which attributes the “opulence” and “wealth” end of its meaning.  Gillyflower can also stand for accepting and enjoying the life you have been given, endless beauty, purity, adoration, a religious connection and even as a sign for the zodiac, Taurus.  In general, this flower represents a long lived life, luck and immense happiness so it’s a wonderful choice for weddings, births and special anniversaries.  

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

The Symbolic Meaning of the Blue Violet

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 07, 2017

With such a vast array of contemporary flowers available to us these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget about some of the beautiful classic species we grew up with.  Many of these stunning blooms we can still find in our backyard, one of which is the blue violet.  How many times have you come across this sweet flower and never realized the importance they hold when speaking in terms of symbolic meaning?  Generations of growers and floral enthusiasts will tell you that these pretties are quite special when considering their background.   

blue violets.jpg

photo credit via

Not only are violets the official flower for celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary but they’re also a sign of intuition and spiritual connection.  Having five heart-shaped petals typically surrounding a white center, these early spring bloomers can be found anywhere from wooded glens to grassy meadows.  While most grow wildly in nature, violet lovers will be pleased to know that many greenhouses now carry samplings in a variety of different colors for those who wish to cultivate a crop in their own backyard.  


Rosario Dawson as Persephone in Percy Jackson 

Another connection the violet plays in relation to history is a religious theme, which links to Catholicism’s Virgin Mary.  Because of this, the violet can signify “Modesty” and “Humility” and often is looked upon as a sign of innocence.  Bunches of violets were hence used as gifts to newlyweds at the beginning of their sexual relationship.  In Greek mythology, once again Persephone has a relationship to a flower because it is said that she collected clumps of violets before she was taken down the underworld each fall as a memento of the happier days spent in the spring.  

The last symbolic reference the flower is recognized by is its relationship to “love”.  Nosegays of the spring bloomer were once offered as a token to a new love interest as the traditional gesture and is still often requested by florists to serve as this very purpose.  Simple, elegant and delicate, violets make a statement that a relationship is everlasting and will stand the test of time.  

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

The Meaning of the Cornflower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jul 19, 2017

There are so many beautiful colors you’ll find in a garden, but when you spot a species grown entirely in blue-you stop and take notice.  While there are many different varieties grown in red, orange and yellow, it’s sometimes hard to cultivate indigo blossoms because the truth is, there just aren’t that many in existence.  It is for this reason, which make delphinium, hydrangea and forget-me-nots so special in our gardens.  One blue flower that happens to be a top favorite is the cornflower, which interestingly enough has a strong symbolic meaning in several cultures and religions.


photo credit via McQueens Flowers London

Everything about this flower means something good (well, almost good)- a rare trait in floral lure.  The first species date back to the mid 1800’s where it became a symbol for many European countries.  First and foremost, the cornflower has a strong political tie, particularly to Prussia, Germany, France and Estonia.   The most well know story tied to this species dates back to when Napoleon invaded Prussia and Queen Louise was forced to hide her children in a field of cornflower to camouflage their presence.  As she told them to lie down on top of the flowers, she wove crowns out of the wildflowers and told the children to wear them on their heads to blend in with gardens.

Soon, the flower was also adopted by Germany as a symbol of military as well as France who emulated it’s similar color to their soldier’s uniforms.  Estonia also uses the cornflower to signify political parties including the People’s Union and the Liberal People’s Party as well as a symbol of bread.

On a negative side, the cornflower was also taken as a warning signal worn by the Natzi’s in Austria.  It is because of this tainted past that many countries did not want to utilize the blossom for their nation’s pride in fear they would be seen as supportive of Hitler’s horrendous reign in power.  It took years for the cornflower to win back a positive reputation where today it can also mean wealth, pride and an abundance of good fortune.  

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

The Meaning of Lily of the Valley Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

Lily of the Valley

Susana means lily of the valley.

Shoshanna, curled petals for hair and a bridged nose,

pollen specked and running.

I was named for Abuelita Susana,

she was a leather belt and anti-semite,

stinging my dad with welts until adulthood.

Abuela did not mean her name…

By Susana Cardenas-Soto

The sweet and pungent aroma of lily of the valley makes this spring bloom one of New England’s favorite signs of warmer weather arriving.  The delicate structure of the plant also adds to its allure having tiny white bells dancing up a slender stem with bright green foliage, which wraps around the flower.  Most believe that clumps of lily of the valley standing alone in a glass vase is enough to decorate any room, needing no other varieties to spruce up their appeal.  Blooming anywhere from early March to late April, the plant loves temperate days and chilly nights that produce its optimum growing conditions.  Unfortunately, the flowers disappear almost instantly once we head into summer but the good news is, this bulbed beauty will spread its roots and triple in shoots when the next seasonal cycle begins.  Also known as “Convallaria”, you can find the tiny bells growing almost everywhere on lawns and around houses but their favorite spot is in the forest where they really flourish.  Lily of the Valley makes an excellent ground covering because its easy to plant and requires almost no maintenance making this a go-to for landscapers as they await June’s fresh crop of perennials.


Jacqueline Bouvier, Grace Kelly and Caroline Schlossberg are just a few princess like brides who carried lily of the valley as brides.

The symbolic meaning of the flower is widely disputed since the variety is old and is referenced by several different cultures around the world.  One of the more popular legends surmises that the flower is an omen of war and bloodshed.  Lily of the Valley was religiously tied to Saint Leonard who had decided to live a life of solitary existence in the depths of the woods.  Hoping to live out his days in purity, he unfortunately falls to the wiles of the devil who successfully tempts him, thus breaking the Saint’s vows of saintly hood.  For his punishment, the devil transforms itself into a beastly dragon that attacks Leonard and causes him to bleed profusely.  After his blood has shed into the ground below, lily of the valley was believed to grow in masses out of the red liquid symbolizing remembrance, solitude and grief.  

Today, we recognize lily of the valley as a sign of good luck and is often given in bunches to friends and family on the first day of May.  If you are lucky to be the recipient of such a gesture, myth reveals that you will have a spring and summer filled with adventure and love.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Lily of the Valley

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)


photo credit via

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

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


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.


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

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