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    Language of Flowers – Crocus

    “You might think that after thousands of years of coming up too soon and getting frozen, the crocus family would have had a little sense knocked into it.”  Robert Benchley


    Croci, plural of crocus, cover the two vibrant and exquisite color seasons of spring and autumn. Spring bloomers are symbols of resurrection and heavenly bliss. Autumn bloomers symbolized the late bloom of nature and its abundant. This small corm originated from many places; Africa, China, Middle East, and southern Europe. Once planted, croci, the plural of crocus, will look after themselves and flower year after year. The leaves look like grass shoots and the entire plant is less than six inches tall. Croci flowers respond to the weather; opening when sensing sunlight and closing when clouds appears. A hardy plant that can withstand icy winds.

    For a bit of balance, many of the early word references to crocus are about Crocus savatisu. This is the plant from which saffron is produced.  The word crocus is traced to the Hittite azupiru, Aramaic kurkama, kurkum in Arabic and Persian, and karkom in Hebrew. In the Greek language of 14th Century the word is similar to the modern English krokos.  In the Latin the word originated from crocatus meaning saffron yellow. Then translated to the British language as croh.

    There are three main varieties of croci. The first is the foodie Crocus sativus, Family Iridaceae. Cultivated since 500 BCE (6th century), this hand-harvested spice was once used as collateral for gold and jewelry. Blooming in rich purples with brilliant red threads stretching out of its center, the stamens are processed to produce a shade of color called Royal Yellow. The symbols of wealth, status, and royalty. Minoan woman of the Bronze Age used saffron in cosmetics to produce glowing skin. Both Minoan and Roman women decorated their hair with its flowers. The Egyptians documented its use as a medicinal remedy dating back to 1600 BCE. Sometimes called snow crocus, Crocus savatia has a long and documented history. It blooms between September and October.

    In smaller botany circles Crocus savatia is known as the autumn crocus but differs from the second group of the true autumn flowers. Colchicum byzantinum, Family Colchicaceae is known by two other names, meadow saffron or naked ladies. Their genus name Colchi reflects their origins of the Black Sea region of Georgia and their native range of Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. All parts of this Autumn Crocus are poisonous containing a toxic called colchicine. Their blooming time is from September to October.

    The third group are the spring bloomers whose common name is Dutch Crocus, Crocus vernus, Family Iridaceae. Originally found in Eastern Europe, western Russia and native to the Pyrenees, Alps, and Carpathians Mountains. In 1579 another member, the Yellow Crocus, Crocus flavus discovered in northwestern Turkey and the Balkans. Crocus flavus grows well underneath the Black Walnut tree, Juglans nigra. Dutch Crocus bloom from March to April.

    This is the variety that pops up through the snow, cold rains, and explodes forth in sunlight. A herald of spring, they are often referred to as the light bulb flower with the way their petals unfurl as the light filters through them. Each stem bears a single cup-shaped, six-petaled flower with three stamens.

    It is this spring bloomer that carry messages of rebirth, youthfulness, and cheerfulness. Their meaning goes on to symbolize nature’s awakening in a show of floral revitalization and heavenly bliss. Croci are about the glee associated with youth. They seek to uplift the spirit and joyfully herald the return of spring.

    Croci have been documented in spring celebrations dating back to 2000 BCE. Carved on slabs found in Hattusa (modern Boga Zkale, Turkey) when the Hittite’s ruled the area. The Ottoman Turks celebrated them in the Festival of Hidrellez on May 6th. A time of celebrating spring, the unity of nature and the beginning of summer. Croci corms combined with wheat made a pilaf that was served for the festivals. The Celts celebrated them during Imbolc and the Germanic tribes at the time of the Goddess Ostara.

    Spring blooming crocus are in the domain of the Greek Goddesses Venus, Eos, Persephone, and Aphrodite.

    Crocus were important to the Ariadne, the Goddess of Vegetation on Crete and Thera (modern day Santorini). She was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and the wife of the God Dionysus. Reborn every year, she is found in mosaics as the Crocus Goddess, carrying a large basket of blooms. She is surrounded by young girls wearing saffron-colored dresses and young boys as they are initiated into adulthood. The blooming crocus represents joy, renewal of life, blossoming of youth, and beauty.

    As Greek mythology evolved, the Goddess Hecate oversaw croci and young girls as they transition to adults. She is the Goddess of Witchcraft and the Moon and guardian of the household. The girls gather blooms as an offering to Hecate.

    The Greeks tell us the story of the crocus through a young noble named Crocus and Smilax. She was a shepherdess. They fell in love and the gods forbade their marriage.   Crocus kills himself from deep sorrow. Smilax learning of his death was heart-broken and despondent. The Goddess Flora understanding their pain turned them into plants; Crocus became the flower and Smilax a vine. They are united again in woven garlands and used in wedding decorations. The golden fiber (stamens) of the saffron crocus are used to weave the two plants together symbolizing love. The red thread (stigma) is the flower of the crocus.

    In another story Crocus is a shepherd and Similax a nymph. They anger the Gods on their union and turned Crocus into a flower and Smilax into Bindweed. Yet another adaptation, Crocus is the companion of the God Hermes. He is accidentally killed during a game of discus. In his sorrow, Hermes transforms Crocus to the flower.

    Croci plays a role in romance. We can give credit to the Romans incorporating crocus as a symbol of Valentine day. The first written Valentine comes from the story of Valentinus, a Roman physician. Using his skills with natural remedies and prayer, he found himself jailed during the reign of Claudius II. Valentinus was placed in jail where his previous patient was the jailer’s daughter. His last act before his execution was to help the daughter recover her vision. He sent a yellow crocus with a message signed “from your Valentine”. February 14, 270 BCE.

    The fragrance of this lovely bloom is thought to inspire love and even believed to bloom at midnight on Valentine’s Day. An aphrodisiac, the Romans devised a mister to apply to guests as they entered banquets. In India petals are lay on the wedding bed signifying the couple will have a good, solid, and loving relationship.

    Victorians associated the croci with the sun. In the language of flowers, they used it to mean cheerfulness and mirth. It is a perfect gift for someone who needs a bit of energy and positive energy in their life. The flower is a symbol of happiness and a reminder of walking through forests when young.

    Striped King

    Croci is the perfect flower for spring bouquets, a gift between friends or birthdays. The flowers can be found in shades of orange, purple, white and yellow. Purple represents success, pride, and dignity. This color is a symbol of royalty and nobility. It can be a perfect gift for someone who exhibits these traits. White is a symbol of purity, truth, and innocence. Used in wedding decorations. Yellow is cheerfulness and joy.




    Some general pieces of information on croci. Squirrels like to eat the corms. They are pollinated by multiple types of insects; bees, moths, and beetles. Ruled by the element water and the planets Mercury and Venus. The crocus is number seven in numerology representing knowledge and awareness. Their bright and playful colors make them perfect flowers for backyards and gardens.


    Crocus angustifolius


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    Language of Flowers – Tulips

    A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.   Marianne Williamson



    Tulips are the symbol of paradise on earth. A simple and graceful design though modern tulips can be quite frilly or have massive blooms. Originally found in the Persia empire near Pamir and Tan Shan mountains (Afghanistan and Kazakhstan) and Turkey. The word tulips are from the Persian word for turban, dulband.  It refers to their resemblance to turbans as they bloom. Men wore the fresh blooms in their turbans denoting prosperity or as a charm to fight evil.

    The Ottomans Turks were enamored with tulips, cultivating them since the 13th century. Tulips were celebrated in religious and secular poems and art pieces as a reminder of heaven and eternal life. Suleiman the Magnificent through his friendship with the Holy Roman ambassador Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq help the tulip travel to Europe in the 16th Century. The ambassador was visiting Suleiman to aid in the peace process with Austria. Tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils captivated him, and he carried tulips to Augsburg where in 1559, the first tulip bloomed. As with other cultures, the tulip captivated statesmen and scholars.

    It was this exchange with the ambassador that found the tulip passing into the Dutch culture where they its cultivation to a new level.  In the 17th century the economy became mad with tulips creating its currency on their growth and breeding. Single bulbs would control the fortune of the merchants. They became the symbol of the wealthy and were seen as pots of gold. As values increase land was traded, fortunes lost, and the economy of Holland faltered. Two interesting reads about this time of Dutch history sometimes refers to as Tulip Mania are The Tulip by Anna Pavord  and, Tulipmania, Money, Honor and Knowledge by Anne Goldgar.

    The Dutch economy recovered, and they are now the number one growers of tulips. The ups and downs of Tulipmania led to another meaning that life can be brief.  They are the national flower of the Netherlands. Tulip season begins when the City of Amsterdam celebrates National Tulip Day in January.

    The colors and styles of tulips are as vast as their meanings. They are a sweet blossom connected to happiness and peace.  A classic flower of love. Being one of the first flowers to bloom they can mean rebirth and have come to mean the heralds of spring. Victorians would use them to send messages of charity and supporting the less fortunate. They are the third’s most known flower after the rose and chrysanthemum.

    The blooms are cup shape surrounded by showy petals. Centers can be dark or light, providing a contrast to the petals meaning a broken or light-heart. Larger petals symbolize fame and showiness. The mosaic virus when found in tulips make the petals brighter and more interesting.

    In a bouquet, tulips can be used to express to the receiver that they are elegance and graceful. They can mean forgotten or neglected love. Indulgence. Daintiness. Tulips are symbolic of hope and faith, ideas, and the quest for perfection. Another sign of spring indicating a fresh start, new beginnings, or eternal love. Bouquet of bright red tulips speaks to passion and perfect love. Use tulips to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary  expressing devotion and love. Variegated tulips in a bunch mean I think your eyes are beautiful.

    If you are wanting to send specific message use the below as a guideline.

    Crème tells your partner that love is eternal and expresses commitment.

    Orange is a striking color signifying happiness but can mean energy, warmth, enthusiasm, and desire. This color likes to say get on with it.

    Pink symbolize happiness and confidence. It is a color of less intensity that speaks of affection and love. This color contains many meanings; pride and love, contentment, inner happiness, or friendship. A great choice for friends and family.



    Purple represents royalty and a regal nature.  Abundance and prosperity. Loyalty to others or material wealth.

    Red is the symbol for perfect love and sign of everlasting love. Or undying passionate love, whether the passion is spurned or returned. Tales from Persian and Turkish legends tell us of the love between Farhad and Shirin. In one story, Farhad was a prince who fell in love with a beautiful girl named Shirin. She is murdered and, in his despair, rides his horse off a cliff. A red tulip grew where his blood touched the ground. In another Shirin is the royal and Farhad is the commoner. She rejects him and he goes to the hills to play music. She hears the music and falls in love with him. Her father creates a challenge for him to build a canal. As he is finishing the canal, her father tells Shirin that Farhad has died. She goes to be with him and together their blood becomes red tulips. 

    Red tulips with velvety black centers represent a lover’s heart, darkened by the heat of passion. In a myth from medieval times a woman was proposed to by three knights, each one declaring their love. She could not decide whom to choose. Praying to the Goddess of Flowers she transforms into a red tulip.

    Yellow means eternal love, a cheery disposition, or cheerful thoughts. A flower with a sweet charm to express simple joy. The color of unrequited or spurned love. Sending a yellow tulip to someone means you love them, but you know they don’t return your feelings.



    White conveying forgiveness, spiritual love, or pure intention.   





    There are over 3000 different varieties of tulips. They are in the Genus Tulip, Family Liliaceae along with lilies and onions. The bulbs are starchy and caloric. These qualities helped in times of starvation and food shortages. It was not unusual for Roman soldiers to eat the bulbs. The tulip crash in the Netherland led once again to it as a food source. World War II saw the bulbs as part of the food stream as the Dutch went through yet another famine. Tulip petals can be used in several dishes.

    Carrying tulip petals in your pocket brings good luck. Pixies live in the tulip beds in the Netherlands.

    Tulips vibrate to the number six, an expression of charms and lovability. Six represents energy of responsibility, gratitude, and conscientious action. It blends and harmonizes its surroundings. A flower with a big heart vibrating at a level where is part of the picture, not center stage.

    Mosaic or broken flowers are a result from aphids or a virus.  Once they appear and the pattern can be repeated, they are cultivated. I grow such one. An heirloom one called Insulinde.

    Old House Garden describes this broken tulip as sunrise in slow motion, opening with baby-smooth, pale yellow petals feathered with rose, and then day by day transforms itself into a big, ruffled flower of creamy white flamed with purple.


    Grow tulips in your sacred space. They bring peace to the home. When you can, wear a boutonniere or give a tussie-mussie for prosperity and protection. The lipsticks of the garden, tulips bring the finishing touch to the spring bloomers as summer approaches.



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    Language of Flowers – Daffodil

    Oscar Wilde said of Daffodils.   They are like Greek things of the best period.”    

    Daffodils are an old plant. They are part of the genus Narcissus. The Greeks and Romans saw the wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, as part of a death triad. Tulips and asphodel completed the triad. Daffodils and asphodel contain crystals of calcium oxalate. This is the compound that kills other flowers when placed in a vase together. Asphodel roots and tulip bulbs are edible and during times of starvation they became part of the food source.


    The Greeks felt the asphodel and wild daffodil blossoms were the same. The popular English names of Daffodowndilly, Daffodily Affodily are a corruption of the word asphodel. Robert Herrick in his poem the Hesperides connected asphodel to death. Planted near Greek tombs, asphodel and daffodils were interpret as portents of death. This association with death led to one meaning, delusive hope.


    Narcissus poeticus, is one of the oldest cultivated daffodils with its pheasant’s-eye center. Known as the poet’s daffodil or narcissus. It is the daffodil that tells the story of Narcissus, a young Greek whose vanity and careless heart become his undoing.  His exceptional beauty led to many stories. He refused all offers of those interested in him. The Goddess Nemesis caused him to fall in love with his own reflection.  His vanity of watching himself every day caused him to waste away.  In another ending he drowns after searching in vain for the lover in the pool. Which was his own reflection. Echo the nymph contributes to the tale of love and broken hearts. In all myths Narcissus rejects her. Hera punishes Echo for keeping her distracted while her husband Zeus was with his many lovers. Her punishment was that she could only repeat what others said to her. Narcissus found her after this event. The Roman writer Ovid tells us she is heartbroken after declaring her love to Narcissus.  Once rejected, she goes into a cave, waste away, and leaves only her voice. Is this where our modern-day practice of echoing comes from when we step in a cave or on a mountain top?


    A completely different story of spring and winter tells us how daffodils drew the Goddess Persephone away from her companions. In the Homeric Hymns written by Ovid, she is in a meadow gathering spring flowers of roses, crocuses, violets, irises, lilies, and larkspur. Enchanted by the bright, yellow flowers produced by Gaia the Earth she wandered over to pick them. The God Hades seized her and carried her to the underworld to be his bride.



    Socrates called the daffodil, the Chaplet of the infernal Gods. Daffodil bulbs have a narcotic effect. When applied to open wounds it produces staggering, numbness of the whole nervous system and paralysis of the heart. Once called the chalice flower because of its cup shape bloom. During medieval times if you gazed on a daffodil and it drooped, it was an omen of impending death.



    The Romans brought daffodils to England and so did new meanings. For a general bouquet include them when you are sending messages of regard, gallantry, or admiration.  For the most part daffodils are uplifting, hopeful, and joyful. Always give in bunches. A single is bad luck, but a group ensures happiness. A flower of spring its symbolism is new beginnings, rebirth, and remembrance. When sending with romantic thoughts you are telling the receiver that your love is unequalled, you are the only one, or the sun shines when I am with you.

    Daffodils continued their travels and developed more meanings in many cultures. In China, they mean good fortune. A symbol that has become so appreciated for its ability to bring forth positive things. It is one of the official flowers for the Chinese New year. In Japan it is mirth and joyousness. If you are lucky enough to find the first daffodil in Wales, they will blessed you with more gold than silver in the coming year. Arabian countries use the daffodil as an aphrodisiac and cure for baldness. Daffodils are the flowers for March. Place them in bouquets for the 10th wedding anniversary. Or bouquets of creativity and inspiration, renewal and vitality, awareness and reflection.

    Mars rules the yellow daffodils. The element Water rules all daffodils.

    Today there are countless varieties of daffodils. When designed astutely you can have quite the show with members of the genus Narcissus. Look for early, mid, and late bloomers to enchant your sacred space.  They do well in containers, in the ground and some will can be forced for indoor.

    Broughshane Daffodil


      Found in Ireland





    Rip Van Winkle



    This image of the daffodil that helped me write this blog. I was recently gifted several varieties of them.

    A double, variety unknown





    Sources for bulbs

    Local nurseries

    My local co-op has a great grower with out of the norm varieties


    Old House Gardens – Heirloom Bulbs

    Longfield Gardens

    References –

    *I use many references in my work.  This section is only an indication of where I found unique information.

    History of Daffodils

     Sarah Raven, A Brief History of Daffodils

    The American Daffodil Society, History


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    Language of Branches – Spring

    “Blossom by blossom the spring begins.”    Algernon Charles Swinburne




    Branches and blossoms of trees differ from the Language of Flowers, though some varieties may appear in it.  Trees have their own language, blossoms are a great way to start that journey. Often before flowers bloom, branches start the show and can be brought inside for the grand finale.  It’s a nice way to say hi to your tree or your neighbor’s tree. Pick branches as they are just displaying their blooms. Always include unopened buds among the blooming ones, as they represent life’s continuous journey.  Check for critters before bringing into your home.

    Almonds, (Prunus dulcis)  when they are just flowering offer hope, giddiness, heedlessness.  As the blossoms extend, they promise thoughtfulness, and a lover’s charm.  They are a tree of divination, wisdom, abiding love and friendship.

    Apple (Malus pumila) blossoms, the second popular of spring bloomers display brilliant shades of white to pink.  The blossoms symbolize beauty, love, healing, and immortality.  Pink blossoms accentuate all of those emotions.  White is a symbol of fertility.  Celtic bedchambers were decorated with blossoms for fertility and as a tribute to beauty.

    Blossoms produced a constant fragrant adding oxygen to the ozone and attracting pollinators. Use them as incense, perfume, or herb-candles for hand-fasting. Their slight and intense scent is uplifting and a true sign of spring.

    Sir James Frazer reports on a folktale where in April a figure of a straw-man is placed in the oldest apple tree. When it finished blooming, he was cast into the water and floated away to honor the natural cycle.

    Blossoms and branches are a symbol of May Day baskets or bouquets celebrating spring.  In Celtic practices branches were carried by shamans and poets as symbols of their office known as Craobh Ciuil, meaning Branch of Reason.  In the English language, the Silver Bough allowed visitations to other realms.  Its bare blossoms and fruit were in the shape of bells and made music when shaken. The music lured humans into an enchanted sleep or offered safe passage to the Otherworld before the appointed hour of death. These same boughs opened the doorways into the Fey’s land offering shelter while traveling.  The trees themselves represent peace-loving.

    Cherries (Prunus avium) are one of the most famous of spring bloomers. Cherry blossoms have a unique cleft at the tip of their petals. Their long stems attach to the branch from a single bud. The blossoms mean power, feminine and spiritual beauty and sexuality. From Japan they mean the transience of life and China feminine beauty.  A single blossom is education, endurance, and the celebration of new beginnings. Their short bloom time is a reminder of the fleeting beauty of youth. White can mean deception.



    Dogwoods (Genus Cornus) with their wonderful blooms tell another that you admire their personality and social abilities.  In general, they mean charm, finesse, and durability.





    Hawthorn branches of the English Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) bloom with white flowers. All parts were used in witchcraft and meant caution or hostility.  As a tree there are many meanings; hope, love and marriage, protection and overcome harshness.  Woven branches made wreaths and flowers for baskets on May Day.

    Magnolia (Genus Magnolia) trees are spectacular and remarkable. A planetary tree for its age and ability to adapt through the earth’s climate and geological changes.  This tree dates back to 20 million years. It uniquely adapted its flower from pollination by beetles to present day bees. This behavior has led to one of its meanings of endurance, eternity, and long life.  Its long relationship with the earth has contributed to many meanings by multiple cultures in Asia and the Americans. The meaning beautiful woman may have originated from the southern states.  The Chinese have cultivated the magnolia known as the Jade Orchid, Magnolia denudata, for thousands of years. Meaning certainly when used in the beginning of a sentiment.  The flowers are symbols of purity and nobility. Called Hanakotoba in the Japanese system of messaging magnolia flowers represent the sublime, natural, and love for nature.

    Fragrant blooms in many colors are describe as follows; white for purity and perfection; pink for  youth, innocence, and joy; green or yellow for joy, health, luck, & good fortune and purple that sends out vibrations for achieving wishes of luck and health.


    In America, the flower is the messenger of spring’s arrival. Victorians used the flowers to symbolized dignity, nobility, poise, and pride. The strength of its bloom indicates self-respect and self-esteem. Their durability, strength of character, and bearing, make them a desired flower for wedding bouquets. Their long life gave them yet another association of working with the life force and were sent in bouquets to celebrate births.

    Quince (Chaenomeles) shrubs are found in Asia and the Americans.  Branches means rebirth.  Quince blossoms come in wonderful colors of peach to orange or hot pink.  he blooms mean temptation, represents a choice or abundance a symbol of love or sincerity.

    Peach (Prunus persica) trees represents longevity and are a sacred tree of immortality. In Taoist mythology the sacred peach tree grew in the garden of Hsi wang mu. Peach blossom petals are in shades of pale pink with a deep magenta center. They have short stems with two flowers sprouting from the same branch. The petals are an indication of intense love.  The blossoms bring luck, or I am yours or you hold me captive.

     Plum (Prunus domestica) trees indicate genius and keeping your promise. The first blooms of snowy white signals the end of winter. Butterflies are associated with plums indicative of beauty and long-life.  The blossoms grow out from the branch and is absent of stems.  Blossoms mean strong personality and the individual is unafraid of difficulties.  Each single blossom means I am yours; you hold me captive.

    Say thanks to the tree and the elementals caring for the branches and blossoms you pick or buy.



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    Language of Flowers

    The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.
    – Basho (Japanese poet, 17th century)



    As Spring approaches, those in the northern climates actively search for bright, bold, and enchanting colors.  Each blooming pop may make you wonder what they mean.

    The language of flowers goes as far back as the Assyrians, Chinese, and Egyptians.  It includes flowers and tree blossoms and branches.  They were used in courting, diplomatic discussions, weddings, and monthly correspondences.  Spring was birth, rebirth after winter or life after death.  In the autumn as flowers faded quickly death was followed by rebirth or moving to heaven.  Planting of flowers on graves, shrines, and churches mimic this message. General meanings of colors spoke of white representing purity and death, while red symbolized passion, energy, and blood. Yellow captured gold or the sun or enlightenment. The Taoist tradition shows a golden flower growing from the top of the head.

    The Chinese New year celebrates with the peony. A flower symbolizing good fortune and friendship. At one time they were only available to the emperor or the elite class.  Peonies represent wealth, feminine beauty and during the middle ages the Christians used them to mean healing.

    It was Cleopatra obsession with roses and her use as love symbolism that prompted growth and popularity around the world. It could be why it is called the Queen of Flowers. When roses are present, it could  mean that the corresponding god or goddess was nearby. The variety of shades are used to describe many types of love. White – true love, pink – innocence, yellow – friendship, red – symbol of love, or purple – love at first site.

    Many legends exist about the rose. In Greek mythology, Chloris the Goddess of Flowers created roses. She found the lifeless body of a nymph and turned her into a flower. She called upon Aphrodite, Goddess of Love,  who gave the flower beauty.  And Dionysus, the God of Wine added nectar to give it sweet fragrance. Zephyrus, God of the West Wind, blew the clouds away so Apollo, God of the Sun could shine. The petals opened like the sun’s ray to mimic the center of the universe.

    During the time of the Ottomans the artistic messaging was perfected.  Süleyman I’s reign contained over two hundred flower shops in the 16th century selling bulbs and cut flowers.  Messages of love, good wishes, hatreds, and resentment were passed through flowers.  A house with a yellow flower near the window meant a sick person was in the home and please be quiet.   A red flower meant a young girl who had reached the age of marriage.

    The wife of the English ambassador,  Lady Mary Wortley Montague introduced this practice to England in her Turkish Letters of 1763.  It the Victorians who developed an even more detailed list of messaging with flowers.  There was such a great interest in this type of communication, several books were written, and the original meanings got a bit diverted.  In Kate & Leopold,   Hugh Jackman 19th century character explains the messaging of flowers to the young 20th century man.

    Where I live in the PNW, tulips are king.  The land breathes in their textures, colors, and occasional scents. The crowds come every April and swamp the country roads to see fields of tulips.  Did that happen in Turkey where they originated?   The name comes from the Persian word for turban due to their resemblances when blooming.

    They mean perfect love, told in Turkish and Persian legends about the love between Farhad and Shirin. In one story, Farhad was a prince who fell in love with a beautiful girl named Shirin.   She is murdered and, in his despair, rode his horse off a cliff. A red tulip grew where his blood touched the ground – the symbol for perfect love.

    Sultan Ahmed III (1703-1730) held a special place for tulips.  So much so his reign is called the Tulip Era.  Three hundred years before Dutch and British horticulture societies proposed the first classified list of tulip names. The Flourist-in-Chief judged new cultivars of tulips and their names.  Fanciful and poetic examples were Those that Burn the Heart, Matchless Pearl, Increaser of Joy, Big Scarlet, Diamond Envy, or Light of the Mind. Only the most flawless cultivars were entered into the official tulip list.

    The Turkish florist standards preferred tulips that were tall thin, narrowly contoured and with narrow-pointed tips. The pedals had to be smooth, stiff, of one color, the exact size and length, and with no gaps.






    When you buy for your bouquets shop locally or use a Slow Flower Member.


    If you are looking for modern day reads on the communications of flowers, check out these books.

    The Secret of Wildflowers, A Delightful Feast of Little-Known Facts, Folklore and History by Jack Sanders

    The Magic of Flowers by Tess Whitehurst

    *I use many references in my work.  This section is only an indication of where I found unique information.

    The Ottoman’s Flowers:  Flowers as a symbol of Civilization, Elif Özdemir