Gardening: Flowers convey a bunch of different meanings

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The giving of flowers to a loved one is a simple, but beautiful gesture. As long as humans have been on this earth, we have taken part in the act of picking these beautiful wonders of nature and presenting them to a loved one.

Whether wrapped in cellophane, ribbon or just a clenched fist, everyone loves to receive a bouquet of flowers... well maybe, I’m more partial to them than my husband. Sir Elton John loves them so much he supposedly spends more than £175,000 a year on them! Now that’s some serious flower power.

As well as a way of one person showing their romantic interest in another, flowers are often given to celebrate special occasions, such as anniversaries, as well as certain holidays and just to say thank you. For example, giving a well-earned bouquet of flowers to your mother on Mother’s Day is a very popular tradition, helping to keep florists in business and, most importantly, many sons and daughters in the good books.

Flowers are also given as a sign of condolence following the death of a loved one and offer some comfort during those hard times.

The practice of floriography (the language of flowers) became popularised in the Victorian era; gifts of flowers, plants and specific floral arrangements were given to express certain feelings and messages which were not deemed acceptable to be spoken aloud in Victorian society. These ‘message bouquets’ where known as ‘nosegays’ or ‘tussie mussies’, which would be worn or carried as a fashion accessory.

The language of flowers was used broadly in Turkey for sending messages, this practice became so cultivated that military messages were even sent as a bouquet to hide coded messages from the enemy. Similarly in the Middle Ages when the church had strict guidelines on displaying love and affection in public, flowers were used to express feelings without suffering the consequences!

As you’ll notice, all flower species are unique and they have different meanings depending on the gesture. Roses are often associated with love and portray certain classicism; roses are sometimes an easy option for the home or as a gift because everyone knows what they are along with lilies and tulips.

Deep red roses and its thorns are associated with the blood of Christ, while white roses convey virtue and chastity, yellow symbolises devotion and friendship, and finally the dark rose (well, very dark shades of red, purple and maroon) is connected to dark magic! Either way you are guaranteed to see a lot of men taking home a handful of these to present to their darling loved one on Valentine’s Day.

Tulips and daffodils represent resurrection and determination because they are from a bulb and return every year, blooming through the harshest of winters. Amaryllis symbolise a win after a struggle and are often given for a ‘job well done’ in the academic world.

Whichever flowers you choose, giving flowers is a perfect gesture to loved ones, and reasonably priced – even free if you’ve intelligently sowed those seeds in preparation! They only look beautiful, but express more than a lot of other presents hope to.

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