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Flowers have different meanings

Flowers of all kinds, shapes, and colors emerge from the earth in their prescribed flowering seasons in the fantastic way that nature has with its own time-table around the world.

Fall is when we think of flowers either in the garden or as cut flowers like chrysanthemums. Christmas is when we enjoy the colorful poinsettia with the many new colors that abound today. Springtime conjures up tulips, ranunculus, freesia, and other flowering plants.

The cut flower industry is vast and dynamic, with commercial flower farms dotting the globe, in the United States, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, South America, Europe, and here in San Diego County.

Flowers are symbols to be shared with loved ones and families, given for births, anniversaries, holidays, when we lose someone, or just for the pure art of giving.

We plant many types of flowers in our gardens to celebrate seasons and bring joy and happiness to our outdoor living here in San Diego.

The San Diego climate is so giving and gentle that we can grow a vast array of posies that have specific meanings and symbolism behind them.

Many varieties have myths, meanings, and legends that have been attached to a vast amount of flowers over time.

Here are just a few of those flowers and their meanings to enjoy and think about when giving or planting flowers.

· Amaryllis denotes pride and self-esteem, comes in red, pink, white

· Baby's breath says gladness and innocence, and delicateness.

· Carnation symbolizes pride and beauty but has many assorted colors that have different meanings. Red is admiration, white is pure love, while yellow is disdain.

· Chrysanthemum represents different things; red is for love, white is truthful, and yellow is for slighted love.

· Daisy is innocent and gentle. Remember picking a single daisy flower, and pulling off each petal and saying, he loves me, and then selecting another petal and saying he loves me not?

· Daffodil in spring comes in yellow, white, two-tones, and signifies chivalry and regard.

· Protea, which are gaining in popularity with many local plantations in the area, note courage and strength.

· Gardenia is associated with purity and sweetness and is used in wedding bouquets for that meaning, and what a wonderful fragrance they emit.

· Easter lily is an elegant flower with its pure white trumpet shape flower is a symbol of the Virgin Mary and given at this holy holiday; it is grown as a potted plant and for a cut flower.

· Forget-Me-Not recognize true love and are a delicate little plant.

· Geranium has a meaning of melancholy, yet it comes in such a colorful bounty of cheerful colors: reds, pinks, and whites.

· Iris carries a message of faith and wisdom, with blues, whites, and yellows.

· Lilac is for first emotions of love and comes in lavender, white, two tones; it has a glorious aroma in springtime.

· Marigold is a summer flower and comes in yellows and golds; it says jealousy.

· Narcissus has connotations of conceit to those who are narcissistic, and we know a few out there today.

· Orchids have over 20,000 different species found on earth from the hot, humid, rainforests of the Amazon to the northern climates in Alaska. These flowers are noted for their beauty and variety of personalities and say outstanding.

· Olive branches are used as a reward and given as a victory garland to be placed upon the head of a winner in Grecian times.

· Peony is for shame and bashfulness. It comes in a rainbow of pinks, lavender, whites, and some light-colored yellows, and unfortunately, does not do well in Southern California.

· Poppy (red) has been called for extravagance.

· Rose, depending on what color is chosen, has meaning that ranges from unity or beauty to youth and love. And if given in a bouquet of different numbers, has different meanings from a dozen up to 50 in a gifting gesture.

· Sunflowers are for devotion and thankfulness. And at Thanksgiving, what is more, cheerful than a bright yellow sunflower face looking at you.

· Tuberose is associated with dangerous pleasure, so be careful when giving these flowers. But I adore the unique aroma of these tall stemmed white flowers growing out in my summer garden.

· Snapdragon comes in many colors on its tall flower spikes and represents graciousness and strength.

· Tulip is a valid declaration of love. It is not only found blooming out in springtime but also forced to grow in greenhouses at different seasons of the year. In the tulip-mania renaissance era, some of the first tulips were discovered and imported and would fetch thousands of dollars for just one species of a tulip bulb in Holland. It was a frantic plant-collecting era, where the price of one tulip bulb could also buy a small house in Amsterdam.

· Violets with their cheery faces say modesty and simplicity.

· Zinnia can say thoughts of absent friends.

Though flowers have been appreciated since long ago, coded messages with the symbolisms of flowers were critical in Victorian times. Some of these flowers sent unique messages through different kinds of flowers arranged in specific patterns and styles.

Tussy mussy in the Victorian era were tiny handheld bouquets with fragrant flowers to ward off body smells since folks didn't bathe much in those times. I always like fragrance in flower arrangements, for when I put a bouquet together it takes me to faraway places in the past.

Remember, a simple gesture of just one flower can have significant meaning to the receiver, and it's the little things that count.

And as the F.T.D. flora trade suggests, "Say it with flowers."

Roger Boddaert Maker of Natural Gardens, landscape designs, tree work, and consultations, can be reached at 760-728-4298.


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