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Through My Garden Gate: Say it with flowers

Flowers of all types, shapes and colors erupt around the earth at their prescribed flowering seasons. It is fantastic how nature has its timetable within the various seasons, and I am constantly watching and learning from her.

With the world's weather changing, so are plants adapting to a new climatic lifestyle. Plants adapt to their environments and adjust according to their seasons, weather and unique growing conditions.

Fall is when we think of flowers like chrysanthemums; Christmas is when we enjoy the colorful poinsettia with many new colors that abound today, and 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 San Diego County.

Flowers are a symbol shared with loved ones, given at births, anniversaries, holidays, when we lose someone or just for the pure, simple gesture of giving flowers.

Gardeners plant many flowers in their gardens to celebrate the seasons and bring joy and happiness to outdoor living here in San Diego.

The San Diego climate is so giving and gentle that we can grow many types of flowers that bring seasonality and that have specific meanings and symbolism behind them.

There are also myths and legends associated with the vast amount of blossoms worldwide.

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

* Amaryllis denote pride, self-esteem, and come in red, pink and white.

* Baby's breath is for gladness and innocence.

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

* Chrysanthemum comes in a variety of colors; 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?

* Daffodils are spring flowers that come in yellow, white, two-tones, and say chivalry and regards.

* Protea are gaining in popularity with many local protea plantations in the area. These flowers note courage and strength.

* Gardenia is associated with purity and sweetness, is used in wedding bouquets and has a delicious fragrance.

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

* Forget-Me-Not stands for true love and is a delicate little plant.

* Geranium means melancholy, yet it comes in such a colorful bounty of cheerful colors of reds, pinks, and whites.

* Iris is a message of faith and wisdom, with blues, whites, and yellows.

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

* Marigold is a summer flower in our gardens or as a cut flower, it comes in yellows and golds, and it stands for jealousy.

* Narcissus has connotations of conceit to those who are narcissistic, and everyone knows a few out there today.

* Orchids have 20,000 different species growing from the hot, humid rain forests of the Amazon to the northern cold climates in Alaska. These flowers are noted for their beauty and variety of personalities and say "outstanding."

* Olive branch was used as a reward and given as a victory garland and placed upon the winner's head in the Grecian games.

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

* Poppy in red is known for its extravagance.

* Roses can range from unity, beauty, youth, and love depending on what color is selected. And if given in a bouquet of different numbers, it has different meanings from a dozen up to 50 roses in a gifting gesture.

* Sunflowers are for devotion and thankfulness. Thanksgiving is a flower-giving time. 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. In the tulip-manic Renaissance era, some of the first tulips were discovered in Turkey and would fetch thousands of dollars for just one tulip bulb. It was a plant collecting era when the price of one tulip bulb could also buy a small house in Amsterdam.

* Violets like the simple little woodland violets with their cheery faces say modesty and simplicity.

* Zinnia brings thoughts of absent friends.

Though flowers have brought joy 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.

Remember, the simple gesture of giving one flower stem can have significant meaning to the receiver, and it's the little things that count. As the F.T.D. flora trade suggests, "Say it with flowers."

"Flowers always make people feel better, happier; for their sunshine and cheer is good for our souls," Luther Burbank said.

But remember, it's always in the giving.

Roger Boddaert, Maker of Natural Gardens, landscape designs, tree care and consultations, can be reached at 760-728-4297.


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