Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

The Language of Flowers and A Master’s Tradition April 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:06 pm

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.




Spring is officially here and the weather is finally beginning to look like it’s going to cooperate. It even rained this past week and may again in the next few days. I guess all of this means it’s time to buy flowers for outdoors and start tilling the garden.


I am the furthest thing from a green thumb and I’m not one to be found working in the yard yet I love flowers, particularly daisies, lilacs, and wild flowers. I also love when the Crepe Myrtles and Mountain Laurels reign in full bloom and I’d put Texas bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes up against any others in terms of pure yet simple beauty. My mom has always loved flowers so I guess she passed it on to me. Sometimes when I think of flowers, I think of her.  (Yes, I’ve already ordered her an Easter lily!)


I also absolutely adore Easter lilies. I love their brilliant whiteness among all of Easter’s traditional pastels, I love how they smell, and I love that I can plant them in my yard and watch them come back every year. Did I mention how obsessed I am with how they smell? One plant can literally fill a room with its intoxicating scent. Obsessed.


XXXDaisy crown


I recently read a book called “The Language of Flowers,” and although I didn’t love the book per se, I took away from it a real interest in all the references made to what certain flowers historically signify. Did you know almost all flowers, herbs, and plants have a meaning behind them? It’s so amazing!


Using what many consider the “bible” of “the language of flowers,” author Vanessa Diffenbaugh relied heavily on “The Floral Offering: A Token of Affection and Esteem; Comprising the Language and Poetry of Flowers” written in 1851 by Henrietta Dumont, to write her present day bestselling novel.


“After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, Victoria Jones is unable to get close to anybody and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings,” reads the book’s back cover. In the story, Victoria finds work in a flower shop and learns she has a true gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. Flowers give her meaning. Flowers give her life.


Readers learn that daffodils are for new beginnings, wisteria represents welcome, daisies mean innocence, camellias signify “my destiny is in your hands,” peppermint is for warm feelings, holly signifies foresight, and even William Shakespeare agreed that rosemary means remembrance. Not surprising to me is that red roses mean love but yellow roses indicate infidelity. Don’t tell Texans that! It’s all utterly fascinating to me.




Apparently too, the language of flowers in nonnegotiable and every flower has but one definition. This, outlined during the Victorian era, during which the original language of flowers was hypothetically spoken and ultimately revealed.


Do you want to tell someone you’re passionate about them? Then give them some bougainvillea. Care to tell someone you never forget them?   Simple carnations will do the trick. Protection can be had with some eucalyptus, a fern tells a recipient you are sincere, while fennel indicates strength. One of my favorites? Geraniums. They signify true friendship. I could go on and on…





The Masters of All

Another spring tradition is The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Considered the toughest ticket in sports to acquire, the “tradition unlike any other” is sure to be another classic this year. The green jacket winner will become an instant legend and the course’s signature azaleas and dogwoods are in full and amazing bloom. Those who have walked the course say it is truly magnificent. Smitty is fortunate to attend it again this year. It is his mecca and I am so thrilled he gets to be there.


Being the golf family that we are, I was surprised to learn something new about Augusta that I’d never heard before. I’ve always known about the dogwood trees and azalea bushes, but I didn’t know each hole at Augusta National Golf Club is named after a flower, tree, or shrub. How cool is that?! The holes were supposedly given the names to honor the heritage of the property, as the original land was a plant nursery when the club’s founders purchased it. Fittingly, each hole features the plant after which it was named along its length. Is it any wonder the course is so beautiful?




Here are the 18 holes and their flora namesakes:

1 – Tea Olive

2 – Pink Dogwood

3 – Flowering Peach

4 – Flowering Crab Apple

5 – Magnolia

6 – Juniper

7 – Pampas

8 – Yellow Jasmine

9 – Carolina Cherry

10 – Camellia

11 – White Dogwood

12 – Golden Bell

13 – Azalea

14 – Chinese Fir

15 – Firethorn

16 – Redbud

17 – Nandina

18 – Holly


Lady Bird


Yet another recent floral tie-in I enjoyed was taking my mom to the LBJ Presidential Library.   It’s all very historical and interesting, but beyond the civil rights and JFK exhibits is one dedicated to Mrs. Johnson.  An Austin legend, Lady Bird stuck to her roots (figuratively and literally!) with her choice of White House china.  No official seal or formality here, hers was bedecked with flowers. The former First Lady was a true flower fanatic. She’s who Texas can thank for our beloved bluebonnets along interstate highways and rural roads, and she’s also who we can thank for having those bluebonnets…and no billboards…alongside one of Austin’s busiest freeways, Loop 1/Mopac.   Thank you Lady Bird!



Flowers laugh

I bought some flowers for my front porch and back patio and will be potting them today. I also brought home a simple bouquet of long-stem flowers for my kitchen. No special occasion, just a little slice of heaven on my kitchen island.  I look at them and I smile.  Flowers have a way of doing that.





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