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flower in focus

Flower Guide

Flower in Focus: Larkspur

July 2, 2018
Flower in Focus - Larkspur

For the month of July, our flower in focus is the dainty Larkspur. This beauty comes in shades of pink, white and lavender. They can be quite delicate because of their hollow stalks, so strong winds can easily break them. Though if you take care of them and they are protected from the high winds, they can grow to heights of about 36 – 72 inches.

The larkspur is associated with purity, levity and affection. It evokes feelings of optimism, joy and good will.  The Best Florist Singapore may use the larkspur for birthday bouquets or housewarming flower arrangements, though they can be mixed with other fresh flowers to suit other occasions.

Larkspurs can shine on their own, as baby shower flowers and such, but they can also play the supporting role—enhancing the beauty of other blooms. So before you schedule a generic fruit basket delivery for your loved one, send them their birthday flower as a more thoughtful and meaningful gift.

Background and Etymology

Larskpur meaning and symbolism

Unlike roses or tulips which are frequently used to express love and romance, the larkspur conveys more gentle messages and versatile enough to be used in various mixed flower bouquets for Valentine’s Day Flowers or even as sympathy flowers.

Larkspur used to be classified as a Delphininium, though it has recently been reclassified to Consolida. It earned the common name of larkspur because the appearance of the flower is similar to the shape of a spur.

While it’s easy to confuse a delphinium from a larkspur, there are differences between the two. Larkspur are annuals with more delicate blooms that appear in a wider range of colours (white, pink, purple, red and orange), while delphinium are perennials which are confined to hues of blue and white.

Meanings and Symbolisms

Larskpur meaning and symbolism

Beyond scientific classification and etymology, history and mythology have attributed various meanings and symbolisms to larkspur.

In Greek mythology, it was said that upon the death of Achilles, both Ajax and Ulysses wanted to claim his arms. The Greeks eventually awarded them to Ulysses which angered Ajax and led him to take his life with a sword, and where his blood fell, the larkspur grew. According to this myth, you can even make out the initials of Ajax (A I A) on the petals of larkspur.

Native Americans attribute the name of the larkspur to an angel or celestial being. It is said that the being sent down a spike made from pieces of the sky. The sun dried out the spike and it scattered in the wind. Where the pieces touched the earth, the larkspur bloomed.

For Christians, legend has it that after the crucifixion, when many doubted if Christ would rise again, a tiny bunny tried to remind them of Christ’s promise. The bunny kept his faith and waited in the cave until Christ arose. For his steadfastness, Christ showed the bunny a tiny blue larkspur flower which bears the image of the bunny’s face—a symbol of placing your trust in Christ which endures to this day.

In history, the larkspur’s popularity rose during the Victorian era. The flowers are given as gifts meant to symbolize an open heart as well as to convey pure intentions. Specific colours also express different meanings. Pink larkspur represents fickleness, white refers to a happy-go-lucky nature, while lavender suggests first love and a sweet disposition.

Practical Uses

Larskpur meaning and symbolism

Larkspur can have a lot of practical uses. Small doses or amounts can have medicinal properties, such as treatment for insect bites, parasitic infestation, dropsy, and asthma. The juice, mixed with alum, can be used as a blue ink or dye.  Historically, larkspur has been used to treat eye irritation or eye complaints and is believed to relieve scorpion stings as well as to kill nits and lice.

Furthermore, dried larkspur has been used to ward off scorpions and even venomous snakes. They’re also good for aiding pollination because they attract hummingbirds and bees.

So go ahead and plant these hardworking blooms in your own garden and discover all their uses and health benefits!

Flower Guide

Flower in Focus: Rose

June 4, 2018
Origin and Meaning of Roses

This month, we’re focusing on the origin and meaning behind the rose—birthday flower of June celebrants.

The rose is probably the flower most associated with romance, especially red roses. They’re beautiful, fragrant and prickly if you’re not careful. Their popularity makes them a staple in all flowers shops and florists in Singapore. Justifiably so, because their numerous associations and symbolism make them suitable for all sorts of flower arrangements, from Grand Openings to wreaths in Singapore and, of course, as Valentine’s Day Flowers.

Background and Etymology

Rose comes from the Latin word rosa. It became adapted as a name for a person who resides at a place where wild roses grew or even as a nickname for a man with a ‘rosy’ complexion.

Roses were first cultivated more than 5,000 years ago in Asia. These were then brought to ancient Mesopotamia by Sargon I, King of the Akkadians after a military exploration. Eventually, Greeks introduced roses to Romans.

Over the years, the exquisite rose became entrenched in culture and tradition in various countries. In ancient Rome, people throw rose petals on streets during Roman public games. They were also used as ornaments. Egyptians painted roses on walls and tombs as far back as fifth century B.C. until Cleopatra’s era.

Meanings and Symbolisms

Self-Care | Roses

Her Flowers, Pink Roses

Different colours and varieties of roses hold different meanings and associations. The main six hues of roses are red, yellow, lavender, pink, white and orange.

Red roses are associated with love and romance, making them great flowers for Valentine’s Day bouquets or anniversary gifts. Yellow roses refer to friendship, joy and recovery. They’re perfect for Get Well Soon bouquets, graduation bouquet or as birthday flowers. Lavender roses represent enchantment, majesty as well as love at first sight. So this could be a great choice for courtship or to give to someone you admire.

Pink roses symbolize love, gratitude and appreciation. They can be great for Mother’s Day, as a Thank You bouquet or just as a nice gesture of appreciation towards a loved one. Meanwhile, white roses signify purity, innocence, sympathy and spirituality. They’re perfect for baby showers, new mothers, baby hampers or as a sign of respect to elders. Finally, orange roses point to desire, enthusiasm and passion. Any festive occasion can benefit from orange roses, even Halloween.

Roses are also often referenced in literature. For example, a well-known line in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1600) is “a rose by any other name shall smell as sweet.” This has been interpreted to mean that the thing itself is more important that what it’s called. Another famous literary reference to roses comes from Gertrude Stein’s poem Sacred Emily (1922) which states, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” It has been interpreted to mean that “things are what they are.”

In both cases, the rose is used as an example of an ideal and this is why the value of roses will always endure.

Practical Uses

Practical Uses of Roses

Beyond the beauty of roses, they also have practical uses. In fact, all roses are edible. This means that you can use them to add flavour to your cereals, juices, smoothies or you can make a rose-flavoured jam.

As for their medicinal properties, several species of roses have been used to treat a variety of ailments. Rosehips from rose species like Rosa Rugosa, Rosa Canina and Rosa Moyes are rich in vitamin C, so in ancient times they were used to cure scurvy. Meanwhile, Rosa Mosqueta oil, extracted from the rose seeds, is said to facilitate cellular regeneration and can be used to treat burns, scars and wrinkles. Some people also use rose extracts to treat urinary tract infections and chronic diarrhoea.

Rose essences have been incorporated in various fragrances as scents as well as cosmetic products. In particular, rose water—a diluted version of the rose essence—is a popular ingredient in beauty products for their ability to prevent winkles. So you can actually harness the beauty of roses to make yourself even more beautiful. Now isn’t that enchanting?

Flower Guide

Flower in Focus: Lily of the Valley

May 14, 2018
Flower in Focus - Lily of the Valley

Shy or unassuming are often words used to describe lily of the valley—the birthday flower of May celebrants. It’s delicate, bell-shaped white flowers droop as if bowing which is why they are often associated with traits like humility, purity and innocence. These values make them suitable for various types of bouquets and flower arrangements, including condolence wreath Singapore and even Grand Openings. For home décor, they’re the ideal flower for minimalists.

Lilies of the valley can easily be the focal flowers, but they can also help highlight any bloom because of the small-sized buds and muted colour. However, they don’t readily grow in tropical countries like Singapore since they cannot survive in hot climates. Instead, you can usually see them in temperate forests across Asia, Europe, and North America.

Today we’ll get to know more about this oft-overlooked bloom.

Background and Etymology

The lily of the valley is actually not a lily. Scientifically, it is classified as part of the Asparagaceae family. As for its scientific name, Convallaria majalis or maialis, it means “of or belonging to May.” This flower also usually blooms in the month of May, so this is why it is also known as the May lily.

According to the Bible, the lily of the valley blossomed from the spot on the ground where Mary’s tears fell at the foot of the cross. Lilies of the valley also make multiple appearances and references in several Christian Bible stories.

Meanings and Symbolisms

Flower Meaning - Lily of the Valley

Apart from humility and purity, lily of the valley is also believed to bring luck in love. In addition, it also symbolises “the return of happiness” which explains why it’s a popular choice as decorations in weddings as well as for wedding bouquets. In fact, it’s a favourite among royals. Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Grace Kelly, and Kate Middleton included this unassuming bloom as part of their wedding bouquets.

Europeans seem to be fond of this flower. Historically, the lily of the valley became Finland’s national flower in 1967 as well as the floral emblem of Yugoslavia. In France, they celebrate La Fête du Muguet or Lily of the Valley Day on May 1. The French treat this bloom as a flower of romance. During La Fête du Muguet, apart from people giving this flower to their loved ones, they also hold an annual lily of the valley dances where singles could meet without their parents’ permission.

Practical Uses

The good thing about flowers is that they also have practical uses. Lily of the valley is no exception. Of course, we know that lily of the valley can be found as a popular ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics. Lesser known is their poisonous properties.

In herbal medicine, lily of the valley can be used as a poison antidote, for the heart and epilepsy. In addition, tea infusions and ointments from this plant are utilised to treat burns, fever and used as a sedative as well as a diuretic.

While the plant contains various toxins that can help stimulate the heart, if ingested in large quantities it can actually cause death. In fact, all parts of the lily of the valley plant are poisonous and is dangerous if swallowed. Finally, lily of the valley is also sometimes cultivated to produce green dye.

So despite their innocent appearance, they can be pretty deadly. Another proof that appearances can be deceiving.

Flower Guide

Flower in Focus: Daisy

April 9, 2018
Flower in Focus: Daisy

Need some cheering up? A basket of daisies should do the trick! Yes, this month’s flower in focus is the common daisy, the English daisy or the bellis perennis specie.

Daisy is the birthday flower for the month of April. These hardy and cheerful blooms are often associated with virtues like purity, fidelity and hope. Why are daisies associated with death? What does “fresh as a daisy” mean? Find out all about this sunny flower’s origin, meanings, symbolic associations and uses.

Background and Etymology

Self-Care | Daisies

The name daisy comes from two old Anglo-Saxon words, daeges and eage, meaning “day’s eye” or “eye of the day.” It signifies the flower’s tendency to close its petals in the evening and open in the morning. As for the specific specie of daisy, Bellis perennis originates from the Latin terms bellus (pretty) and perennis (everlasting).

In Medieval times, the English daisy was also widely known as “Mary’s Rose.” Daisy is likewise a popular a girl’s name. It is considered as the flower of children and innocence. Girls named Margaret are often given the nickname of Daisy since the French name for the oxeye daisy is marguerite.

Meanings and Symbolisms

While widely associated with purity and innocence, daisies have also been linked to deceit. This may be traced back to Roman and Celtic mythology which exemplify these conflicting qualities.

According to Roman mythology, the nymph Belides transformed herself into a flower to deceive and subsequently escape Vertumnus, the deity of orchards. This flower became known as the English daisy. Meanwhile, in Celtic myth, it was said that the maidens of the court of King Morven informed a grieving Malvina that they saw her infant son happily floating above the fields and dropping flowers with a golden disk on them. The flowers, they said, looked like children playing in the verdant field—a picture of innocence.

Shakespeare also gives credence to daisy’s symbolisms of deceit and purity. In Hamlet, Ophelia hands Queen Gertrude a daisy to convey the message that she cannot expect loyalty from her deceitful husband. She also weaves daisy garland which she drapes around her before drowning. A symbol of her innocence.

In fact, the daisy has become intertwined with British culture as many English poets, not just Shakespeare, have been charmed and inspired by this common flower. It is said to be Chaucer’s favourite flower. He called it “eye of the day.” Both Shelley and Wordsworth also make references to the daisy in their respective works.

Over the years, daisies have become ingrained in languages especially our idioms. Two Doc Holliday quotes from the movie Tombstone (1993) feature daisy: “You’re a daisy if you do” and “You’re no daisy. No daisy at all.” In both cases, daisy means wonderful or amazing. So if you’re no daisy, then you’re no good.

The connection of daisies to anything good, virtuous and honourable can also be traced back to the Victorian era. The Victorians were fascinated with the language of flowers. They connected daisies with purity and innocence. In those days, when women receive a basket of daisies from a gentlemen they fancied, it meant that their feelings were reciprocated. It also means that he intends to court the woman.

In modern parlance, the same admirable qualities are upheld. The saying “fresh as a daisy” is uttered when someone looks vibrant, energetic and full of life. Meanwhile, the expressions “ups-a-daisy” or “whoops-a-daisy” is used to tell a child to get up and acknowledge a mistake (mea culpa), respectively. The former equates the child to a delicate and innocent daisy, while the latter is a sheepish reference to a not-so-innocent slip of the tongue or a faux pas.

Finally, daisies have been known to be associated with death, hence the slang or saying “pushing up daisies” meaning being dead and buried. The TV show “Pushing Daisies” is also a play on those words. This is perhaps because poets like Shakespeare and Keats have used daisies in association with death and graveyards. In Cymbeline, Shakespeare wrote about burying a fallen soldier: “Let us find out the prettiest daisied plot we can, and make him with our pikes and partisans a grave.” Meanwhile,  Keats in a letter to Joseph Severn wrote: “I shall soon be laid in the quiet grave… the daisies growing over me.”

Practical Uses

Daisy Practical Uses
Daisies are not just pretty, they’re also quite useful. They are edible. Daisy leaves can be mixed into your leafy, green salad for a healthy meal. They also have medicinal properties which can be used for a variety of ailments. Specifically, wild daisy tea has been known to treat coughs, throat inflammation, bronchitis, among others. You can also apply wild daisies to the skin to promote healing of wounds and other skin diseases.

Your common daisy is certainly fascinating. This low maintenance flower is often overlooked because of its ubiquity, but knowing its humble origins and cultural impact makes the daisy even more beautiful. They may not be top choices for Valentine’s Day Flowers, but they’re often indispensable in bouquet delivery for occasions like birthdays, graduation and even for funeral flowers.

So cheer up a friend or comfort a loved one with these lovely daises or you’re no daisy. No daisy at all.