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The Language of Flowers

By Jean Willett


Spring is here, finally, after a harsh winter, occasional slew of tornadoes and torrential rains that still linger as if the clouds can’t quite spit it all out the first time. With spring come warmer temperatures and flowers.

I’m drawn away from my desk with an urge to pull out my hand shovel and dig in the dirt. There are multitudes of flowers available to plant. This year I planted half a row of all varieties of flowers in our garden, a few around the house and containers of blooms. Since I love flowers, I have several books on the language of flowers.

I love pansies. Their bright little faces come in all colors. Jean pansiesThey bloom continually during the spring and early fall. I look forward to their happy blooms every morning.

Pansy, also known as Heartsease means Thoughts. If you give them to someone you want them to think of you or tell them you occupy their thoughts.

Flowers have many meanings and using them to add to my character’s development is a way to create depth and meaning for their lives.

Did you know the Poppy is considered a magical flower? It represents life and death, good and evil, light and darkness. Makes me wonder about the darker side for mystery plots.

Violets mean innocent love; humility, modesty but also ambitiousness; resurrection and spring. A simple flower given for a young and budding romance.

Camellias were the most sought-after and expensive flower of the 19th century. They symbolized transience of life; delicate and elegant these flowers are still found in a southern garden. It reminds me of Savannah and Charleston, with their hidden gardens and lush vegetation.

Throughout the ages flowers are used to express feelings. What better way for my character to create emotion than by giving flowers with meaning.

What’s your favorite flower?


Jean Willett - IOAN 2

Jean Willett is a three-time Golden Heart Finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart competition. A multi-award winning author, she loves escaping into a story, whether it’s mystery, romance or women’s fiction. A former chemist, Jean now prefers the chemistry on the page. Her years as a Navy brat traveling everywhere give a rich tapestry of material for her stories.









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Jacqui Nelson - May 23, 2014 - 8:41 pm

I love pansies as well, Jean, but my all time favorite is the peony. And I think they are just about to come into bloom where I live – so lucky me :)

Kim MacCarron - May 23, 2014 - 10:08 pm

I have several favorites. My favorite scented flowers are wild honeysuckle and lavender.
One of my visual favorites is the delphinium. Although once they are picked and put in a bouquet, they wilt and lose their shape pretty fast. I had them put in my wedding bouquet anyway, but they had to be held up with rebar. lol.
What a neat post about flowers, Jean. Cool info about poppies and violets. I think lots of flowers have special meanings behind them. For me, when I smell roses, I think of my grandmother, who put rosewater and glycerin on her face every night. I remember that scent so well. When I smell roses, I always close my eyes for a few minutes and smile with remembrance. :-) It’s bittersweet now that she’s gone.

Keely Thrall - May 23, 2014 - 11:50 pm

When I first moved to DC I was astounded by the abundance of pansies planted everywhere. Our usually mild winters mean they often survive into January or even later, right next to their completely bizarre (to my Midwestern eye) planting buddy, the ornamental cabbage. Say what? In 18 years, I’ve since grown used and learned to appreciate these pretty partners – catching sight of them during gray days is always a lovely surprise.

Would love to know if there is some deep hidden meaning attached to the marigold. I think they were the first flower I learned and they happy faces remind me of my childhood. Maybe their super secret message is joy… :)

Natalie Meg Evans - May 24, 2014 - 4:18 am

Hi Jean

For me, it’s roses. Not very original but I can stare into the face of a rose for minutes and wonder at its complexity. Roses are never one colour, but a fusion of shades. My favourite is Compassion, a salmon pink tea-rose climber which gets on with life and flowers all summer – if we don’t have heavy rain. The fragrance is exquisite and one flower head goes through three or four changes of shade. You see, roses evolve through the season. The other thing that makes me like a rose is that, for all their voluptuous beauty, they’re practical plants. They survive hard frosts, floods and storms, enjoy standing up to their knees in muck and don’t sulk unless they’re left dry. Bees love them too.

Jean Willett - May 24, 2014 - 12:49 pm

What great choices –
Roses mean love and joy; a paragon of virture; beauty and fragrnce; the queen of flowers; used to treat headaches, hysteria and other complaints. :)

Marigold means sun and fate; a reliable weather forecast; a love-potion but also a flower of the dead; medicinal qualities; used as a food dye

Peony are luminous flowers, healing roots, phosphorous seeds; mystical and magical powers; an ardent love of God

Delphinium represents big-heartedness and the essence of divine qualities. They are also meant to symbolize levity, fun and a general sense of joy.Interstingly, when consumed in large quantities, these flowers can be poisonous.

Lots of plot possibilities :)

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