July Flower of the Month – Larkspur

What’s in a Name: The common name Larkspur comes from the resemblance of the blooms to a Lark’s spur or claw. Consolida ajacis is the scientific name and the genus derives from Latin meaning to consolidate or “make firm” as it was used to stop bleeding and speed wound healing. The species comes from the Greek Ajax, for legend says the flower bloomed where the blood of Ajax was spilled in the battle of Troy.

History: Larkspur has a rich history of use as both medicine and poison. It is also often found in folklore as valued plant for use in magic as well as for protecting one from magic! Larkspur was additionally called into use for more common things such as ink, bug repellant and dye.

Symbolism: Larkspur, in all colors, are said to symbolize strong bonds of love. Pink ones speak of fickleness, purple of first love and white of happiness.

Did You Know?
• Larkspur plants are poisonous if ingested
• The poison call kill a cow, but does not affect sheep
• Hybrid of the species are often not poisonous
• Ancients used the flowers in insecticides
• Native Americans used them as dye plants
• In Britain they are symbolic of laughter and lightness

June Flower of the Month – Rose

What’s in a Name: some say the genus name of Rosa is derived from the Celtic rhos or rhod (meaning red) others from a Roman beauty named Rhodanthe

History: The most popular story of the rose’s origin centers around a beautiful Roman woman named Rhodanthe, who traveled to the Temple of Diana, seeking refuge from persistent suitors. The suitors broke down the temple gates, infuriating Diana so much that she turned the suitors into thorns and Rhodanthe into a beautiful flower – the Rose.

Symbolism: All roses are said to symbolize love and appreciation, but each color has specific meaning as well; such as white for purity and yellow for true friendship.

Did You Know?
• Roses are considered a good luck gift for women
• Rosebuds symbolize beauty and youth.
• Medieval gardens had roses for both medicine & food
• Rose hips – apple-like structures that form after flowering – are high in vitamin C
• Roses are in the same family as apples

Flower of the Month – May Lily of the Valley

What’s in a Name: Christians associated Lily of The Valley with the tears of Mary in the valley of the cross, as reflected in both its genus and most popular common name. The genus name of Convallaria comes from the Latin convallis, meaning valley. Other common names include Mary’s Tears, May Lily and May Bells.

History: Pre-Christians associated the bell-like blooms with their Goddess of spring –Ostara. In France sprigs of the blossoms are worn in the lapel on May Day. Many countries also incorporated Lily of the Valley in traditional plant medicines, despite its toxicity to humans.

Symbolism:  humility, chastity, sweetness, purity, renewed happiness

Did You Know:

  • It is a food plant of some butterfly larvae
  • Though white is most common, there are some with pink blooms
  • Has received Royal Horticultural Society’s `Award of Garden Merit’
  • The flowers are used for making perfume
  • The leaves have been used to make green dye
  • It’s thought to bring luck in love, making it popular for bridal bouquets
  • Lily of The Valley is not related to other Lilies

March Flower of the Month – Narcissus (aka Daffodil, Jonquil)

What’s in a Name: The genus name Narcissus is thought to be derived from the Greek Narkissos, meaning sleep or numbness.

History:

The Greek Myth of Narcissus and Echo details the often drooping appearance of Narcissus blooms. Narcissus had an unrequited love for Echo and hid in a cave to escape his sorrow. Often, he would come
out of the cave to check his reflection in a nearby lake. Trying to get a closer look at himself, he fell in and drowned. A Narcissus flower bloomed in his place and its drooping head, leaning over to stare at its
reflection in the lake, was thought to portray the vanity of Narcissus.

Symbolism: friendship and domestic happiness, rebirth

Did You Know:
• In the Victorian language of flowers, Narcissus conveyed the sentiment “You are an Angel.”
• Narcissus may be white, yellow, or deep to pale orange, or a combination of two of these colors.
• Jonquils are thought to bring good fortune to those who do not step on them.
• Daffodils are often the first flowers to bloom during spring.
• Narcissus’ sap contains sharp crystals which protect them from foraging animals.
• These same crystals cause other flowers to wilt if placed in a bouquet with Narcissus.