Summer is the season of flowers; bringing a steady parade of different blooms, whether they be wild flowers of the meadows and roadsides, or cultivated ornamentals decorating our home gardens, and community spaces. The annual return of flowers is one of the simple delights of summer.
Flowers have a broad appeal, whether it be for art, decoration, science, gardening, economics, medicine, or spirituality; they are interwoven into the history and lore of most cultures and geographic regions, providing societal symbology and meaning. Some flowers hold meaning on a global scale, such as the rose, while others have regional significance such as the tulip in the Netherlands, the Lotus in India or the Mayflower here in Nova Scotia.
Flowers have a language, known as Floriography, which conveys sentiment when words fall short. Flowers are gifted, on any occasion, for more than just their beauty, but for their symbolic meaning. Roses take the lead, with each hue comes a different connotation. Each spring I would present my grandmother with daffodils, reflecting their connection to survival and hope; speaking directly to her experience overcoming breast cancer.
Beyond the larger meanings associated with flowers, we may have our own deeply held, personal connection to flowers based on the memories and feelings stemming from our experience with them. If you ask five people about daisies, you will likely get five different stories that reflect their unique relationship with them.
I have selected a few flowers of late summer, currently in bloom in our region, to give a glimpse into their symbolic meaning.
Sunflower – Standing tall and bright, they remind us to be authentic and remain true to oneself.
Daisy – Innocence, rebirth after loss. The Irish Celts believed that children who died would come back as daisies. An iconic love language, epitomized by the act of plucking petals while murmuring “he/she loves me, loves me not”
Hydrangea – A bringer of change, unpredictability, adaptability. Hydrangea changes colour based on the pH level of the soil; high acidity = blue, purple, low acidity = pink, red
Day Lily – With their fleeting blooms, they remind us to seize the moment to express oneself.
Clover – Good luck, protection against misfortune.
Pansy – When presented upright they convey thoughtfulness and affection, when presented upside down, the opposite is true.
As we bask in these last warm weeks of summer and enjoy these blooms, consider the stories they tell – both collectively and individually. Flowers have a way of communicating emotions and connecting us to the past, making the world of nature a rich source of inspiration and reflection.
Join me on September 21st for an evening of stories around the campfire to celebrate the fall equinox and the language of flowers. Bring your own tales to tell. Donations accepted, with half of the proceeds going to the Cooperator, the teller of stories of the eastern shore. Details are on the calendar page of my website: www.bloominstitute.ca