Sunny Side Up

Gratitude & Happiness


on April 7, 2015

Fis for Flowers.

My mother used to find great joy in tending her garden, now it is mine to make beautiful once again. As the weather becomes warmer, and spring rains bring new life, I get excited to see the beauty of new buds blossoming. Together, Dad and I will go to the greenhouse to pick out and buy enough plants to fill a wheelbarrow. Then, after combing the rake through fresh dirt, I will get to designate what kaleidoscopic pattern the flowers should lay in so they can best reflect all the colours of the rainbow. Mom’s favourites were violets representing modesty and faithfulness, as well as daisies for their innocence and purity. My favourites are light pink roses and daisies, while my birth flower is a marigold. Perhaps, this year I’ll design the garden with a secret message.

Mom's Garden - Version 3Mom's Pretty Plants- Version 2 - Version 3Mom's Beautiful Garden - Version 3

Flowers in mom’s garden.

Floriography, is the language of of flowers. It is a way for people to communicate secret meanings through the way the plants are arranged. (Wikipedia.) Throughout history certain plants and flowers were thought to have magical or healing powers. This helped to create a list of symbolism for each during the Victorian era when special gardens were kept for these purposes. Flowers decorated almost everything and depending on which ones were chosen, their size, how they were held, or grouped could convey very different intentions.  The use of “Tussie – Mussies,” small bouquets wrapped in a lace doily and tied in satin were a special way to say what could not be spoken aloud. (History and Language.)

Floral symbolism also appears throughout literature. In Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5, Ophelia, appearing insane speaks her pain about her father’s death and Hamlet’s rejection. She lists rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbines, rue, daisies and violets. One of my favourite literary references is how J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (p.102) cleverly hides sentimentality behind Snape’s riddle to Harry in his first potions class, when he asks “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” This is to express his regrets for the death of Lily, Harry’s mother. ( – things you may have missed.)

Today, the tradition of using flowers for meaning continues with the choosing of specific blooms for a bridal or funeral bouquet. The colour of a corsage can also be important. Often you will see red used to represent deep love, white for innocence or purity, yellow for friendship, black for sorrow. According to old legends, each flower has its own unique history or myth, so it could represent a certain person or event within that story. Flowers are believed to first been given as birthday gifts during the Roman Empire, not only to friends and family, but as a tribute to the Gods.  The next time you give a gift of flowers for someone’s birthday, you may want to consider what their birth flower means.


IMG_0294 - Version 2

IMG_0295 - Version 2

Rosebush planted in memory of mom. 


Language of Flowers –

The History and Language of Flowers and Herbs-

The Meanings of Rose Colors –

Flowers by Month –

What’s my Birth Flower –

This slideshow explains Ophelia’s flowers.

Explanation of Snape’s riddle –

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Raincoast Books, Vancouver, 2000.


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