Interesting Facts About Birth Flowers and Their Meaning
The Beauty of Flowers
Rare is the person who does not enjoy the beauty of flowers. Sure, there is the annoyance of these colorful gems during springtime for anyone who suffers from allergies…and, for the most pragmatic among us, the impracticality of bringing into the home a bouquet of cut flowers only to have them wither and die a short time later seems absurd. But, for the average person flowers bring happiness.
A simple splash of color can warm a room and whether we sneak them from our neighbor’s garden, pick them from a field or spend exuberant amounts of money on a floral arrangement, the beauty of flowers is a natural artist palette of color. Red, yellow, pink in various shades, and blues merging into purples…whatever color one can imagine the Almighty Gardener has provided it. And, always there are rich hues of green surrounding the delicate bud, petals, or cup on a stem.
A single rose in a crystal vase set beside the bedside-what a statement this makes to one who has romantic intentions. And, compare this simple message to the vision of a scattering of rose petals strewn upon the bed. Or a dozen, long stemmed, red roses hand delivered to the beloved. Three examples of how one flower, the rose, can make an impression.
The Joy of Flowers
Do You Know Your Birth Month Flower?
Many people follow their birth month’s gemstone and assigned flower. How each month came to receive a particular flower is probably based on the natural growing period of that flower during a particular season and thus, its availability. For instance, one of the (four) flowers that are associated with the month of December is the Poinsettias. The Poinsettia has long been associated with Christmas, a Christian holy day of celebrating the birth of Christ, which falls in December
Iris is February's Birth Flower
Do you have a favorite flower? Here is a list of common flowers and their meaning:
Orchid: delicate beauty
Pansy: loving thoughts
Sweet pea: shyness
Black-eyed Susan: encouragement
Lilac: first love
Flowers: January through April
January-Carnation. The carnation has a number of different meanings depending on its color. It is a long lasting flower often placed in men’s lapels. The hardy carnation is frequently chosen for proms and weddings. The pink carnation means gratitude.
February-Iris or Violet. It is interesting that both of these flowers are purple. Since the amethyst is February’s birthstone one can make an assumption that this was an intentional selection based on color. The iris represents inspiration, while violets symbolize faithfulness.
March-Daffodil. Oh, the bright, joyous color of the brave daffodil-one of the first flowers to poke its head out of the cold ground on the cusp of spring. The daffodil means chivalry. William Wordsworth was so taken by the sunny daffodil during one of his walks with his sister that he penned a poem honoring it. Wordsworth's poem: I wandered lonely as a cloud, is more commonly known as, ‘The Daffodils’. Here is the first stanza:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils.
April-Daisy or Peony. At a very young I've been attracted to the daisy. This hardy wildflower grows along roadsides and abundantly in meadows, as well as being a perfect summer flower to grow in the garden. It’s layers of white, surrounding the soft, golden center, has been a favorite of mine for years. Do you remember this rhyme: ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ as petals were plucked from their center? With the last petal standing alone one was supposed to have the answer to her lover’s true intentions. Daisies portray innocence or purity, and the peony is the symbol of healing.
The Daisy is April's Birth Flower
June Birth Flower: The Rose
May through August Birth Flowers
May-Lily or Lily of the Valley. Both of these flowers have an aromatic smell that fills the air. Wherever this delicate Lily-of-the-Valley grows the air is filled with a sweet, light fragrance. Lily-of-the-Valley has tiny, bell shaped flowers that hang from a thin stem. When the wind blows one can image a soft, tinkling sound emitted from the white flower. There are over 100 types of lilies and many have their own meaning. My daughter Cara carried Calla Lilies down the aisle in her wedding. The Calla Lily symbolizes regality.
June-Rose. Thirty-five million years old, the rose has a rich history. Used in love and war, politics and romance, the rose has been named in movies such as The War of the Roses, the 1989 black comedy directed by Danny Devito and starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. It is also used in sports: The Rose Bowl Game, an American College football game held in Pasadena, California each January. A red rose indicates passionate love.
July-Delphinium. The common name for this perennial is the larkspur and it is part of the buttercup family. Color ranges from blue and purple, to white, red and yellow. They grow on spiked stems and require lots of sunlight to flourish. Native Americans used this flower to make blue dye. Delphinium means 'big heartedness' and it is associated with lightness and joy.
August-Dahlia and Gladiolas . Dahlia means dignity or elegance, and it is said that it represents the eternal bond between two people. One of my favorite flowers is the gladiola. The funnel shaped flower comes in a variety of colors that adorn the length of its tall stem. When I was growing up I would ride my bike to a neighbors gladiola garden. She had a roadside stand and I would regularly buy a bouquet for one dollar to bring home to my mother. Much later, after my parents moved to North Carolina, my father started his own garden of these elegant flowers.
Flowers in September through December
September-Aster and Forget-Me-Not. The Aster means contentment and, of course, the Forget-Me-Not means just what its name suggests. The Forget-Me-Not is the state flower of Alaska and, having once been a resident of Alaska, it is a very appropriate choice. Whatever one’s own experience is in that ‘Last Frontier’ state, it is not one easily forgotten.
October-Calendula. The bright yellow and orange Marigold is the Calendula, a member of the daisy family. This autumn flower was selected for October, (think Halloween’s bright yellow and orange colors), because it follows the path of the sun. During the Victorian era the message of the marigold was, “My thoughts are with you.” Calendula means winning grace.
November-Chrysanthemum. This large headed flower comes in a variety of colors and styles. It is a perfect fall flower because the colors match the changing leaves: mauve, yellow, and orange, to name a few. The chrysanthemum originated in China where it has been cultivated for over 2,500 years. It was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks and became the official flower of that Asian country. Each year the ‘mum’ is celebrated in the ‘Festival of Happiness’ honoring this cheery flower. In 1789, the chrysanthemum came to England and found its way to the United States in the 19th century. Today, the chrysanthemum is Chicago, Illinois’s official city flower. In Victorian times the hidden meaning was: “you’re a wonderful friend.” Chrysanthemum means with love and cheerfulness.
December-Holly, or Narcissus, or Paperwhite, or Poinsettia. Why December has so many birth flowers is unknown, however, for the sake of simplicity I’ve chosen to describe the poinsettia. This plant is a native of Mexico and Central America. The Aztecs believed the poinsettia was a symbol of purity. A Mexican legend tells the story of how the poinsettia came to appear. During the Christmas season a poor, peasant boy wanted to bring to the church manger a gift for Baby Jesus. Since he had nothing, he stopped along the road and gathered a handful of weeds and hoped it would be accepted. When the boy entered the church his love for Christ had miraculously transformed the weeds into beautiful red and green stems of beauty. Today the poinsettia means celebration, reassurance and good cheer.