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Say It with Flowers! Valentine’s Day Garden Sense

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Every Valentine’s Day we agonize over getting the perfect gift for our special someone.

So how should we express our love? Candy? Jewelry? Dinner and a movie? If you can’t decide which gift to pick that communicates you’re true feelings, why not let plants decide for you?
I’m not suggesting you should walk up to a maple tree and ask its opinion. I’m talking about using Floriography, which is also known as the “language of flowers”.
Throughout the ages, men and women have used flowers as symbols to convey love, faith, grief, congratulations, remorse and even as warnings of danger.
In books such as Le Langage des Fleuers 1818 (the Language of Flowers) by Charlotte de la Tour, not only did different flowers and plants stand for different meanings but different colors and/or shades of the same flower had different meanings! Also different cultures and different geographical regions apply their own meanings! Whew!
Fortunately for us, The Society of American Florists has compiled a list of all time favorites to choose what is closest to the sentiment we wish to express.
Did you outright want to say, “I love you”? Nothing more universally conveys love than a red rose but why not try showing your unique side. Give myrtle, Forget-Me-Not, magenta zinnia or orange blossom.
You could strengthen that sentiment by asking your florist to build a specialty bouquet. For pledging fidelity use ivy, violets, magnolia, and arbutus. Adoration can be expressed with phlox, or sunflower or show your passionate side with passion flower, peach rose, red carnation, or yellow tulip.
Maybe you had something more subtle in mind. Chrysanthemums offer friendship, an iris says ‘you inspire me’ while pink carnations show gratitude. Choose apple blossoms or send a Black-eyed Susan to encourage your relationship.
Maybe your special someone would appreciate just knowing how they make you feel. Give gardenias to show the joy they bring into your life, geraniums for the comfort they offer, or ginger for how proud you are to be with them.
Sometimes a certain plant serves as reminder of a special event or occasion that only the two of you share. For example an orchid from your prom, a daisy plucked while on a picnic or maybe a hibiscus from your vacation in Hawaii.
While you’re at it, create a card to include with the meanings of each plant and flower.
One thing to keep in mind is if it is better to give cut flowers or a live plant. Remember to take into consideration the time, space and care a living plant needs.
Cut flower bouquets don’t necessarily need to be tossed out when the blooms fade. Most flowers can be preserved by drying. Daisies, roses, carnations, Black-eyed Susan and zinnia will easily air dry by banding stems together and hanging upside-down until thoroughly dry. Dried petals can also be used in potpourri if desired.
Give a living reminder of how much you care to your special someone. Coupled with the perfect card, how can you go wrong?

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About the author

Cindy's Recipes and Writings

As a professional cook, I love creating exciting new recipes on the job as well as at home. Assisting in teaching low-income families how to buy, store and prepare healthy food through Penn State’s alliance with Pennsylvania’s Supercupboard Program was very rewarding. During my 11 years with the Master Gardener program, I taught horticultural therapy to assisted living patients using healthful, fr
esh grown food as a focal point. . My hands-on programs and instruction helped hundreds of children and adults learn about where their food comes from and how important fresh food is for your body.
Currently I’m a cook at a college in Pennsylvania. We prepare everything we can from scratch, including our potato chips that tout the seasoning of the day!
Of course I write about food; it's in my blood!

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