National Water a Flower Day is marked on the thirtieth of each May, a beautiful time of year when flowers have bloomed and are now flourishing in the late spring weather. This day serves as the perfect reminder to pause and appreciate the simple joys in life, or, in other words, to stop and smell the roses. Among a myriad of other meanings, flowers represent love, life, and growth and have been a popular way to profess feelings for centuries.
During the Victorian era, studying the “language” of flowers was prevalent practice; households kept guidebooks to floral symbolism on the bedside table alongside their Bible. These books listed human characteristics alongside their plant partners, such as bluebells for kindness, peonies for bashfulness, rosemary for remembrance, and tulips for passion. Back then flowers were also used to non-verbally communicate on a basic level - flowers given with the right hand meant “yes” while flowers given with the left hand meant “no;” flowers given upside down meant the opposite of what they usually convey, and wilted or dead flowers send an obvious message.
While today we assume that, whether it be romantic, platonic, or familial, flowers are given with some sort of affection. Surprisingly, flowers and plants can allude to more aversive traits as well. If a suitor displayed his desire by offering a rose for devotion, a message of rejection could come in the form of a yellow carnation - once known to express disdain. Furthermore, pomegranate has been considered to express one’s conceit, and aloe shows that someone is bitter.
Nearly any sentiment can be expressed with the right bouquet, but that makes the task of choosing the correct flower even more daunting, especially when the symbolism has changed over the years. To wrap up our quick history on the meaning of flowers and help you avoid any floral miscommunications, take a look at this list of what some common flowers really represent:
Chrysanthemum: fidelity, optimism, joy, long life; a red chrysanthemum conveys love; a white chrysanthemum symbolizes truth.
Daffodil: regard, chivalry; rebirth, new beginnings, eternal life; unrequited love. A single daffodil foretells a misfortune while a bunch of daffodils indicate joy and happiness.
Daisy: innocence, purity; loyal love. The Gerbera daisy specifically conveys cheerfulness.
Lily: purity, refined beauty; white for modesty, orange for passion, yellow for joy, Lily-of-the-Valley for sweetness and purity of heart. The Easter lily is a religious symbol of the Virgin Mary.
Orchid: exotic beauty, refinement, thoughtfulness, mature charm; proud and glorious femininity.
Sunflower: pure thoughts, adoration, dedication.
Happy National Water a Flower Day - head to www.calgaryplants.com to get flowers of your own!