Sunday, December 21, 2008

December Flowers- Poinsettie & Narcissus

The first december birth flower is the Poinsettia which equals celebration, success, reassurance, and good cheer

Also known as the Mexican flame leaf or Christmas star or Noche Buena , the poinsettia, is a plant known for its striking red displays at Christmas time. It is often used as a floral Christmas decoration because of its festive colors. Poinsettias are native to southern Mexico and Central America, where they may reach heights of sixteen feet. They are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant in the U.S. in 1825.

A Mexican legend explains how poinsettias came to be associated with Christmas. Apparently, a child who could not afford a gift to offer to Christ on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from the side of a road. The child was told that a humble gift, if given in love, would be acceptable in God's eyes. When brought into the church, the weeds bloomed into red and green flowers and the congregation felt they had witnessed a Christmas miracle.

The Aztec Indians prized poinsettias and considered them a symbol of purity because of their brilliant red color. They made a reddish-purple dye from the colored "flowers", which are actually modified leaves called bracts. They also made a medicine against fevers from the latex sap of the plant.The "birth flowers" are actually large bunches of colored leaves; the flowers themselves are in the center of each leaf bunch, but rather small and inconspicuous.

dec-pic1

Formality, sweetness, self admiration, formality, and egotism, are all represented by the Narcissus flower. Another birth month flower of December.

Narcissus is the Latin name for a group of hardy, mostly spring-flowering, bulbs. There are several Narcissus species that bloom in the autumn. They are mostly native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found through central Asia to China.

The name is derived from Greek mythology of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a stream. Transfixed by the stream, the gods believed he would die of starvation so they changed him into the flower to stay there forever.

dec-pic8

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

October Flower- Marigolds or Calendula

The flower symbolism associated with marigolds is indicated in the name: Mary's Gold. Marigold flowers were "golden gifts" offered to the Virgin by the poor who could not afford to give actual gold. Marigolds were used in Mary Gardens. Marigolds are symbolic of passion and creativity. Marigolds are also known as the "Herb of the Sun." Marigolds have been used as love charms and incorporated into wedding garlands. In some cultures, marigold flowers have been added to pillows to encourage prophetic or psychic dreams.

The flower symbolism associated with the calendula is grief, despair and sorrow. Calendula blossoms in wine are said to ease indigestion. Calendula petals are used in ointments to cure skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes and toothaches.

The Latin name for the European marigold was calendula, which derives from the Latin word calendae ‘the first day of the month.’ The word has also been translated as ‘a little calendar or little clock.’ The name was appropriate since the flower bloomed throughout the entire calendar year and provided monastery gardens and altars with a constant supply of golden blooms.

Calendula was often called pot marigold because it was used as seasoning in the cooking pots of the poor and was used as an inexpensive substitute for saffron, adding its color to cakes, butter, and puddings.

The common name for calendula, marigold, is straightforward and translates as ‘Mary’s gold’. Calendula blossoms were called Mary’s gold because they were considered the Virgin Mary’s flowers.

Like the sunflower, the calendula blossom follows the sun; as a result, it has earned the nickname “Sun’s Bride.”

In Germany, the flower was often called ‘monk’s head’ because when stripped of its petals, the remains look like a monk’s tonsure.

It is believed that when Shakespeare wrote about merrybuds, he was referring to the blossoms of calendula.

Among other nicknames for the popular blossom are souci, marybud, bulls eye, garden marigold, and holligold.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

September Flower


Pink Asters in Italy

The Birth Flower for the month of September is the Aster.
In the language of flowers it means Daintiness or Elegance

Asters are the birth flower for September and the herb goddess Venus. Ancient people believed that the odor of the leaves of the aster when burnt, drove away serpents. Asters were laid on the graves of French soldiers to symbolize the wish the things had turned out differently. One myth tells that the asters were created from stardust when Virgo looked down from the Heavens and wept. Asters colors means afterthought or a wish that things were different - except in china where The color signifies fidelity.

Dwarf Asters

Floriology

The official name of the Language of Flowers is floriology. Using flowers to send a message probably dates to prehistoric times as symbolic use of flowers is mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions, in Chinese writings and in both Greek and Roman mythology.

In the 1600’s there was an actual "language" of flowers used in Turkey allowing specific messages sent of great importance through a seemingly harmless bouquet. Flowers could declare intentions, indicate acceptance, announce dismissal or even arrange a rendezvous. Flowers gained meanings which enabled lovers to convey messages to each other without having to write or talk. The passing of messages via the floral code was then adopted by the French, and returned to England during the reign of Queen Victoria.

While Shakespeare eludes to the meaning of plants and flowers in some of his writing at an earlier time, the language of flowers was widely introduced to Europe by a Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a popular letter-writer and society poet who accompanied her husband to the Turkish Court in Istanbul, in 1716. During her stay, she sent a Turkish love letter to England which interpreted the meanings of some plants, flowers, and spices. Flowers, she proposed, could convey words and messages of love - even altercations - could be passed in a refined and subtle manner.

Mme. Charlotte de la Tour wrote the first flower dictionary in 1818 in Paris. Entitled Le Language des Fleurs, and was very popular.. A Victorian lady, Miss Corruthers of Inverness, wrote a book on the subject in 1879. Her book became the standard for flower symbolism both in England and the United States

We still use flowers today to tell our sweethearts we love them, express our get-well wishes, share in the grief of others, celebrate our birthdays, anniversaries, congratulate others and honor our mothers. We choose flowers based on their beauty or their scent, but perhaps with a little help we can revive the romance of the secret language of flowers and make our selections that much more special!