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“With Father’s Day looming ahead, you might be wondering what to get to express your love and appreciation for your dad. Unlike mothers, fathers don’t usually inspire gifts of flowers. But even macho dads might welcome such a gift if you could explain to them the message that you’ve endeavored to convey through your strategic choice of the individual flowers making up the bouquet. And if your dad is in a creative field, like mine is, he may appreciate the ephemeral beauty of a gift of flowers, too! As the old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts: and a bouquet of flowers filled with traditional meanings is more than just a thought.
When looking at meanings for flowers, don’t forget about the foliage! Foliage doesn’t always have a separate meaning from it’s flower, but if the flower meaning is apropos, than you can apply it to the foliage as well. Gardenias, for example, have amongst their many meanings one that is specifically geared towards men, ‘good luck to a man.’ To give your dad that masculine ‘good luck’ message, as well as letting him know that he is splendid, that you esteem him, that you are grateful for his lasting friendship with you and to recognize the strong bond of affection between you, choose gardenia foliage, freesia, sunflowers, bupleurum and stock. Sunflowers also stand for power, and even as adults, many children still think of their fathers as the most powerful men on earth!
There are a wide range of flowers that would be appropriate for an arrangement for dad, such as ginger, which can stand for strength, or gladiolus, which can mean ‘strength of character.’ Whatever you choose for your father, don’t forget to tell him about the message behind the flowers- because that’s where the true meaning of the gift lies!
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Flowers are one of the first gifts that come to mind when we think of our mothers on Mother’s Day, just as we know to give flowers to our lovers on Valentine’s Day or to smooth things over after an argument. The giving of flowers is ingrained into modern culture, and we know that flowers can say “I love you” or “I’m sorry,” but did you know that there is a long tradition of individual flowers holding very specific meanings? Red roses are widely known to say “I love you,” but they can also stand for respect, courage and even embarrassment! Different flowers can have a variety of meanings, both positive and negative, so it’s important to know which flowers to pair together in order to get your true message across.
First published in Paris in 1818, Charlotte de La Tour’s classic Le langage des fleurs first brought floral meanings to the masses. Although meanings had long been associated with different floral specimens, the Victorians, in particular their poets and artists, used the meanings of flowers to convey messages in art, literature, and even in day-to-day settings. de La Tour’s book gathered known floral meanings rooted in ancient history and laid those meanings out, creating a reference guide that we still draw from today. While we no longer attend balls carrying nosegays that can indicate if we are unattached or not, we can definitely use the lost language of flowers to convey meaning through a simple gift.
There are many resources online for discovering the meanings behind various flowers, so next time you’re shopping for a floral gift, do some research first! Choose a color scheme (colors matter- in many cases, different colored flowers even of the same variety can have vastly different connotations!), find out what various flowers in that color scheme mean, and then visit your local flower shop and ask the floral designer if you can choose individual flowers to have made up into a special bouquet.
For a mother’s day gift, you could choose lavender, for devotion. Alstroemeria stands for prosperity- and who doesn’t wish prosperity for their loved ones? Ivy stands for dependance and endurance, both qualities that mothers have in plenty. The pink pixie (or mini) carnation reveals the meaning of a mother’s love, and gratitude, again very apt for such an occasion. And the ranunculus demonstrates radiant charm. While your mother probably won’t know these meanings outright, you can include the meanings on your enclosure card, and it’s a given that she’ll be delighted by the thought and detail you put into such a heartfelt, personalized gift.