Say it with colour

Tell your spe­cial some­one how you feel with the lan­guage of flow­ers

South Burnett Times - - GARDEN - GREEN THUMB with Ma­ree Cur­ran Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­ree@ede­nat­by­ron.com.au

RED roses are the tra­di­tional flower that sym­bol­ises en­dur­ing love and pas­sion. But the red rose is not the only sym­bol of love. The lan­guage of flow­ers (known as florig­ra­phy) was highly de­vel­oped dur­ing the reign of Queen Vic­to­ria from 1837. This lan­guage grew from tra­di­tions of sym­bol­ism and mean­ings associated with plants and flow­ers in many ear­lier cul­tures in Asia and the Mid­dle East.

White roses are said to sym­bol­ise in­no­cence and pu­rity, whereas pink ones mean per­fect hap­pi­ness. Stay away from the yel­low rose, though, which sym­bol­ises a de­crease of love, or jeal­ousy.

Car­na­tions are an­other favourite cut flower, but do be care­ful when choos­ing colour. Red, white and pink all have pos­i­tive mean­ings (You’re a flame in my heart, You’re adorable). Striped ones mean “no’’, or “sorry I can’t be with you’’, so do be care­ful with those ones. Yel­low is even worse – it means dis­ap­point­ment or re­jec­tion.

But why spend your hard-earned cash on cut flow­ers that will last less than a week when you could pur­chase a beau­ti­ful liv­ing plant in­stead? Even if you’re loved one is not a passionate gar­dener, a liv­ing plant will last much longer than a bunch of flow­ers. Or­chids are a great choice – they sym­bol­ise love, beauty, lux­ury and re­fine­ment. Bromeli­ads can mean pro­tec­tion and money, whereas peace lilies (spa­thy­phyl­lum) are all about sur­ren­der. An­thuri­ums, with their heart-shaped flower spathes in shades of red and pink, also sym­bol­ise love. All of th­ese plants will flower for months in­doors, so they are per­fect gifts.

Agapanthus sym­bol­ise se­cret love, so that could be a safe choice in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. And al­though you wouldn’t nor­mally con­sider a cac­tus to be a fab­u­lous Valen­tine’s Day gift, they do sym­bol­ise en­durance. Gar­de­nias mean “You’re lovely’’, and ivy sym­bol­ises wed­ded love, af­fec­tion and fidelity. Orange blos­soms sym­bol­ise in­no­cence, eter­nal love, mar­riage and fruit­ful­ness; stephan­otis means hap­pi­ness in mar­riage.

And there are some plants that you def­i­nitely must not con­sider as a Valen­tine’s Day gift. Hy­drangeas can mean heart­less­ness and frigid­ity, and gera­ni­ums sym­bol­ise stu­pid­ity. Stay away from marigolds too – they sym­bol­ise cru­elty, grief and jeal­ousy.

Herbs and flow­ers are also ex­ten­sively used in love magic and po­tions. You can carry the plant ma­te­rial with you (or give it to your loved one), pop sprigs un­der your pil­low or in your bed, make in­fu­sions for drink­ing or sprin­kling, or burn it as in­cense.

Gar­lic chives, mint and sage have been used as aphro­disi­acs since an­cient times. Bay leaves rep­re­sent the glory of love.

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