THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS¸.•*”✤✤By Denise Kennedy
There is a language, ‘little known,’
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak
Of life and joy, to those who seek
For love divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.—
From a handmade booklet given
as a gift from husband to wife, 1913
One upon a time…in a land not so far away, well OK I won’t start it like a typical fairytale because this one is actually a real story. Anyway, as I was saying, I Denise, made a very exciting trip, to visit some very special people in Atlanta, in the good ole USA! Well truth be told, I visited this loving and gorgeous home more than once, but it was on my first visit there, that I discovered, among many other beautiful things, this wonderful book I want to introduce you to today. It being Valentine’s Day, it seems the perfect day to do so.
It was not long after I had arrived to stay in this beautiful Southern household in the suburbs of Atlanta, that this book caught my eye. It was a stunning summer day and I was thoroughly enjoying the South, from amazing home cooked recipes to incredible wildlife, wonderful laughter and peaceful walks. My camera seemed to be never out of my giddy hands. The lady of the house, loves books as much as I, and indeed I had the opportunity of reading lots of her books during the weeks that I spent in their beautiful home. Miss Charlotte has the warmest nature, and it was wonderful whenever she handed me a new book to try, she knew full well that it would capture my heart as it had hers, and her choices were always perfect. She and her darling husband share a taste for the deep things of the heart, and indeed, when I think about the love they have for each other and the heritage they share as a family, it is so fitting that the book I discovered should find a home with them.
So this particular day, a small book, with lots of flowers on the cover, grabbed my attention instantly. It was sitting on a little cabinet shelf, alongside some Southern Living magazines, if my memory serves me right. It was quaint and detailed in the most simple yet decorated handwriting that I had ever seen in a published piece of literature. I picked it up, almost afraid to damage it, seeing straight away that this was not like any other book I had seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it. I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.
We were just about to leave the house to go sightseeing around Atlanta, so I set the book back where I had found it, with a promise to myself that I would have another look at it later. So, every day, at different times, I would take that little book carefully in my hands and read a little more. So many flowers were mentioned, some I had never heard of before, and opposite each name, was a beautiful description of the language or meaning behind the gift of that flower. I loved it! It was adorable, romantic, intimate, and so delicate. It made me smile to think that someone had gone to great lengths to create such a loving piece, to convey to another the romance and language of the flower of love in their own heart.
So about the book ~ Many reviews say it was created by Margaret Pickston, in 1968, but research has shown me otherwise. This is a review written by Margaret herself, about this book; “The Meaning Of Flowers, is a beautiful little book, full of romance and love. ~ It was a present from my Father to Mother on their golden wedding anniversary. Instead of buying her a brooch or bracelet, he hit upon the happy plan of writing and illustrating a little book for her, which has now been resurrected from some forgotten drawer and published in this newer edition.”
Another beautiful review follows; “The original author gave an unusual dictionary of the traditional meanings (as well as some dreamed up by himself) of over 700 flowers is reminiscent of a gentler era when people found time to express their affection in an individual way. A family heirloom for decades, it has been reproduced in England with the family’s permission. Charmingly hand-scripted with delicate water coloured flowers and plants bordering each page, the author’s comprehensive list ranges from abatina (fickleness) to zinnia (thoughts of absent friends), and embraces such unlikely plants as the potato (benevolence), rhubarb (advice) and a branch of currants (you please all). His list of roses is most impressive – forty different kinds and colours, each with its own meaning. Who Father is must remain a secret. All we know is that Mother and he celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on August 8, 1913 and that his initials were F.W.L.” (taken from http://www.etsy.com)It has been quoted by one writer as the essential guide for those of us who prefer the flowers to do the talking, but you don’t want to choose the wrong bouquet and send the wrong message. For example, you could give your lady almond blossoms – meaning ‘hope’ – but don’t ever give her almonds with them (even if they are chocolate coated), as they symbolise ‘stupidity’! =)
…So, it was indeed Margaret’s Father who was the creator of this little book, it was born out of love for his darling wife. (I was right when I said it felt like one of a kind) Then later his daughter, Margaret recreated it and had it published in her name. I have been unable to find the original lists of the flowers represented in this beautiful book, and also the list is exhaustive so I cannot quote them all here for you. It seems quite a rare book to even get your hands on. So here is a short list of the meaning of some gift flowers many choose! ~ I hope you enjoy! =) The opening quote at the beginning of my story, is what was inscribed by Father to his wife, it is contained in this image here to the right —–>
Before I leave you to read through the list, let me just say a heartfelt thank you to a beautiful Southern family, who allowed me the pleasure of sharing their company and loving kindness. A flower is a symbol of many things, and some people have the gift of letting it bloom in every season. Thanks, you know who you are! x Nisey¸.•*”✤✤
❀¸.•* TOO MUCH SPRING ❀
Written by Denise Kennedy
What’s your favourite season? When do you find it easier to bounce out of bed and be you? Is that an easy question for you to answer or are you like me, loving certain characteristics of each season? It is true that every season is bird-chirping weather, but most of us chirp easier in certain seasons.
Here in Ireland, it is winter now. Although, one would scarcely know at times because some days have been so beautiful and mild. It would appear we have not really had our typical blustery, snowy, cold winter at all. I am not sure we will have it this year. True, some days have been icy cold of late, but nothing like the terribly Icelandic winter we had last year. So when I say winter, certain words, or adjectives come to our creative minds: stormy, cold, white, blustery, slippery, wet, windy, beautiful, freezing, cloudy, subzero, frosty. And some more descriptive phrases come alive too; open real log fires, cosy romantic nights, arctic conditions, dangerous black ice, foggy visibility, sparkly crisp mornings, Christmas memories, hot dinners, woolen gloves, heavy coats, and a warm hand to hold. The list goes on. Some of these are my favourite things in life.
For the calendar’s sake, I should jump to spring now, but allow me to come back to it last, humour me at least for now if you will. There’s a reason for my delay! Maybe you are the summer type? You have a bright personality and all you see is blue skies during any season, even if it rains now and then. So many people hate the darker months of winter, especially sufferers of S.A.D (Seasonal affective disorder, it is a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year. For some it causes them to become very down in the winter but they feel much better in spring and summer.) Some people live for summer. So much so that they spend their lives literally following the sun wherever it is shining, spending 6 months of the year in sunny climates or beach homes. I wish I could afford such a luxury, but truth be known I would miss the cosiness of colder weather too. So then summer comes, with its sunny blue skies, pleasant beach walks, soothing chilled ice cream cones, hot sand underfoot, fine midnight walks, awesome surfing trips, the scent of coconut suntan oil and poolside barbeques, bikini holidays and cloudless warm starry nights. For some people, summer is harsh with its belting heat and soaring temperatures, and they actually move to cooler climates until it passes. Not me, I love the sun, but in moderation; having spent part of my childhood living in Australia, I remember the heat of the sun all too well. The summer brings to me, memories of some of the songs of the 80’s, “The Boys Of Summer” and my favourite Beach Boys album. Everyone has their unique summer memories that never seem to grow old.
There are those who adore autumn, or fall, depending where you live! Autumn is when we change our clocks again, where every leaf becomes a flower, when wonderful yellows, browns and reds light up our world. The days are cooler and the evenings seem more enjoyable. We tend to squeeze the life out of autumn, knowing full well that soon winter will be here to wrap itself around us! The schools re-open and our routines all change again. The media begins its Christmas countdown and suddenly time just flies by. The breezy mornings awaken us and nobody really knows what way the weather will change throughout the day. Here in Ireland, we could have all four seasons in a 24 hour period.
Oh but autumn is so beautiful, I can pull out my warm boots and sweater for the odd cooler evening. The sun still shines a lot but the temperatures are far more kinder to our skin. The crisp autumn air seems to freshen me up in the morning, while some days still allow me to wear my colourful t-shirts and flip-flops. Autumn prepares you for winter, and you are forgiven for lighting your first log fire at night. Autumn reminds us to gradually change the clothes in our wardrobe for warmer and more accessible choices. To me, there’s nothing as lovely as sitting near my window, reading a good book and listening to raindrops gently hitting the fragile colorful leaves outside. This year we were graced with one of the longest autumn seasons I have yet known, whereby my walks to college were splashed with amazing colours and the light crunch of leaves under my feet made me smile. Autumn really is a multi-coloured garden of life.
Ahhh at last, here it is SPRING! You tell that for some reason it is my season today! I sat down the other night exhausted, having finished a very busy week, crammed with assignments and exam preparations. I rarely turn my TV on, but with a similar busy week stretching before me, I needed some relaxation. So I lit my candles and settled in to watch a movie I had picked up on the way home from College. To be honest, the movie was less than average, and I would not rate it at all, but what moved me was the name of a play mentioned in the movie. Its title was “Too Much Spring”, and I whispered to myself, “I could never have too much Spring!” ~ the movie finished eventually, and I soon rested my head on my pillow to go to sleep, but instead I thought of spring; it brings to life the birds in the air, the bees buzz from out of nowhere, lambs begin to playfully fill the fields and hills. Flowers appear in our gardens, trees begin to open up their blossoms and the 40 shades of green seem to find even more shades to display. When I think of spring, these words and phrases literally ‘spring’ (lol) to mind ~ new things, cleaner air, the first smell of freshly cut grass, random sunny rain showers, unpredictable weather, brighter evenings with promising red skies, windy days with colourful rainbows, warmer mornings with softer rain. In springtime is seems that eagerly anticipated things seem to bring new hope in us, a time of transition allows us to redefine our plans and dream again. Spring speaks to me of HOPE! Floral bouquets decorate most patios and the hedges wear their prettiest dresses. It is lovely, bright and beautiful. Joy filled animals and dancing flowers, newborns and newlyweds. Spring brings Easter and with it comes the reminder that new life is ours.