Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chatty blooms

There are 297 species of clematis in the world and I'll be hard pressed to identify the one that is currently growing up the side of my garage. Roger once told me that it seemed a bit strange to him that men attempt to impress women by giving them the sex organs of plants. And if you think about it that way, it does seem a little creepy.

You can blame it on the Persians, who ascribed meanings to various types of flowers. King Charles II brought the practice to Sweden in the 1600s and the practice eventually spread throughout Europe. In essence, various flowers and floral arrangements were used to convey coded messages, allowing people to express feelings that could not otherwise be put into words. You could, quite literally, say it with flowers.

Most of the nuances of the language of flowers has been lost over time, although roses still stand for love and the color indicates the "temperature" of that love. Red is intense and passionate, pink is for a budding love and yellow is for friendship. You just don't want to get a black rose - it means you've been dumped - or are dead. Here's a substantial flower dictionary, listing common flowers and their meanings, courtesty of Collier's Magazine, published in 1882.

By the way, the clematis stands for "poverty," which could explain something about the previous owner of my home, who planted the vines behind my garage. I think I'll take them down and plant a beech tree in their place.


Wanda said...

What rich vibrant colors!!! beautiful! A flower dressed like that somehow doesn't fit the title of "poverty"

JAM said...

Cool, a beautiful photo AND I learn something. I love how the flower looks 3D.

V. Schroeder said...

Not sure how they arrived at the meaning for these flowers. The hydrangea, although not my favorite flower is very pretty and they give it the code of boastful, or heartlessness, that's a lot to tack on to such a pretty flower. Think it's probably good this whole thing has faded and become like the anemone, forsaken.
V. Schroeder

Anonymous said...

It seems that a lot of ideas and original context has been lost in translation as people move on another century.

It's pretty interesting that in the old days, each and every
flowers held a special and specific meaning.