“Peace proclaims Olives of endless age” Shakespeare, Sonnet 107
There is an interesting phenomenon that happens during times of peace. Known as a horticultural boom; history shows us that there are increases in literacy, food supplies, and botanical knowledge. Elizabeth I encourage sharing in horticultural research and food sustainable practices.
Branches and blossoms of trees have their own language. During this time of midwinter, branches transform in the moments of bright light. When designing your peace bouquet here are some ways to express your thoughts. Select branches with blooms that just about to burst forward symbolizing the hope of good things to come.
Almond (Prunus amygdalus /dulcis) branches mean hope. Phyllis, the Queen of Thrace, believed her lover, Demophon an Athenian, would never return from war. She commits suicide. The Gods are empathic turned her into an almond tree. When Demophon returns, he embraced the tree where it blossomed and became a symbol of constant love and eternal hope.
Apple (Malus) branches with their blossoms just opening are a symbol of peace. The colors range from pink to white as they send healing energy out to the world. Apple blossoms produced oxygen day and night while attracting pollinators with their delightful fragrance.
The white and striking bark of birch (Betula) trees with red branches, speak to rebirth and new beginnings. The tree represents graciousness in all matters.
Cherry (Prunus) blossoms represent power. A single cherry blossom means celebrate new beginnings.
The hawthorn’s (Crataegus) white blossoms support the first bees of the year. The branches offer hope, banish strife, and protection. It is not recommended to bring the branches indoors, as flies are drawn to its carrion scent.
Hazelnut (Corylus avellana) branches in a bouquet, offer reconciliation and wisdom. This is an ancient tree of Knowledge and Inspiration. The red flower (female) of hazelnuts is quite discreet. You must look closely to spy them with their Whoville looking blossom.
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) blossoms and the tree mean please do me justice. Smaller branches are shaped like a horse-shoe mimicking luck and bringing smiles to an arrangement.
Olive (Oleacea) branches are a symbol of peace from ancient times to modern. The Egyptians considered the branches a symbol of everlasting power. I have never seen flowers on olive branches and found this site that has great photos to share.
Quince branches (Chaenomeles) mean rebirth, represents a choice, and abundance. Their flowers are a striking salmon color tucked in between the thorny branches.
The pink blossoms of plum trees (Prunus) lay flat on the branches to meet the sun’s rays. A symbol of winter that indicates a strong personality who is unafraid of difficulties.
The pines (Pinus), cones, and boughs send hope and friendship. Pine trees represent longevity, steadfastness, self-discipline, endurance, and long life. All required when seeking peace in no matter what form for one’s soul, local or global areas.
Willow (Salix) branches bending with their golden, red, and yellow shades are wonderful elements of a winter bouquet. All willows speak to healing, protection, and being brave in times of sadness.
Yew (Taxus) branches and foliage with their evergreen leaves speak to immortality and everlasting life. They send wishes for smooth transitions and transformations. They tell us that peace can be a death and rebirth step and shield and protect the sender and receiver.
Larkin Van Horn created this tapestry of peace. I met Ms. Van Horn while her craft was displayed at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Museum during a special exhibit on peace. Please see her blog http://larkinart.com/. Many thanks for her permission to use this piece in my blog.
The Magic of Flowers by Tess Whitehurst
Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World’s Greatest Playwright Hardcover – Illustrated, April 4, 2017 , by Gerit Quealy (Author), Sumie Hasegawa Collin