Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day and the Language of Flowers

My friend, Cecelia, has a magical garden.  On a sunny day there is nothing better than to sit in one of her Adirondack chairs, sipping tea and watching the dragonflies and humming birds dart among her plants.  And if I know anyone who's likely to have fairies in their garden, it's Cecelia.  Her flowers have names that are uncommon to your average garden center shopper.  You find hellebore among the shadows and fragrant heirloom roses spilling their blossoms over fanciful trellises.  Cecelia takes flowers and herbs and arranges them into the most enchanting bouquets.   And it was on a warm, sunny afternoon years ago in her garden when I first heard that flowers had a language all their own.

Back in the day, when the world was filled with much less delightful smells than Febreeze, young ladies of gentility wore small bouquets on their wrists called, nosegays.  The idea being that when you came upon a questionable smell, you raised your wrist and sniffed a sweeter scent.  I'm sure it was all very artfully done.  At least it always is in romance novels and movies.  And definitely it was more refined than retching.  Nosegays could be worn in a "tuzzy-muzzy," usually made of alabaster and tied onto the wrist by ribbons, or simply carried.

When you live in a restrictive society, you develop ways of communicating without words; speaking glances, fan-flirting and best, and most romantic of all, messages conveyed by the meaning of certain flowers.  In honor of May Day, I thought it would nice to give you a simple list of few flowers and their suggested meaning.  For example, red tulips are a declaration of love, dahlias, denote elegance and dignity and fungus, well...you can imagine.  Below is a list and have some fun with it next time you're ordering flowers.

Particularly for May Day:

Almond Blossoms      -    Promise
Lemon Blossoms       -    Discretion
Lime Blossom           -    Fornication
Peach Blossom         -    Bridal Hope 
Pear Blossom           -     Lasting Friendship
Plum Blossom          -     Beauty and Longevity
Mayflower                -     Welcome

Other Flowers

Amaryllis                   -      Pride
Aster                          -      Daintiness and a talisman of love
Azalea                        -     Passion and womanhood
Baby's Breath            -     Innocence
Bachelor Button        -     A single life-style
Begonia                     -     Flightiness
Iris                              -    Good news
Ivy                              -     Determination and endurance
Lettuce                       -     Cold Hearted    (good luck if you put Iceberg in                                                any floral arrangement!)
Lobelia                       -    Mean-spiritedness
Bleeding Heart          -     Hopelessness  
Nasturtium                -     Patriotism
Lavender                   -     Both devotion and suspicion
Poppy, Red                -     Pleasure
Poppy yellow             -     Peace
Rose Red                   -     True love
Rose White                -     Innocence
Yellow                        -     Broken Heart

Have Ye A Joyous May!


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