10 Common Names And Scientific Names Of Plants And Animals The Symbolism of Favorite Garden Flowers

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The Symbolism of Favorite Garden Flowers

Some of the most common garden flowers have fascinating histories and symbolic meanings. Flowers have been associated with symbolism for thousands of years. Flowers are an important part of our life from birth to death. Many popular garden flowers, including foxgloves, lupins, poppies, sunflowers, sweet peas, tulips and zinnias are associated with a wealth of stories and mythologies.

Foxglove flowers have both positive and negative symbolic meanings. It is said that sometimes they hurt and sometimes they heal. In the language of flowers, foxgloves are associated with insincerity. On the plus side, the common name is said to come from “folk gloves”, with “folk” referring to the helpful folk of fairies.

In the medieval gardens dedicated to Mother Mary, the fox was called “Our Lady’s Gloves” or “Virgin’s Gloves”. The scientific name is digitalis, a reference to the presence of powerful chemicals that can cure heart disease if taken properly, but can kill if taken in large amounts.

Foxglove thrives in soils that are rich in iron and coal. New coalfields can sometimes be found by finding masses of foxglove growing together. Foxgloves are perennials that thrive in temperate areas and like shade, part shade, and sun.

Fox gloves come in white, yellow, pink, rose, red, lavender and purple. Foxglove can be grown either through seeds or division of plant clumps. Plant height ranges from 2-6′ depending on the variety.

The flowers look best in the back of a garden and bloom in a pyramid shape with the lowest flowers opening first and the buds remaining closed at the top. Add some foxgloves to your garden this year to invite the fairy folk to take up residence in your yard!

Lupins are symbolic of imagination. The name “lupinus” actually means “of wolves” because of the mistaken belief that ancient peoples had that lupines robbed the earth of nutrients. The fact is that lupins add nitrogen to the soil. The Romans used lupines for fertilizer and ate the protein-rich seeds.

In the United States, lupins grow well in the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, New England, and other northern states. They are both lowland cultivated and wild flowers. Lupines also grow in abundance throughout Europe as far as Norway.

Lupins come in blue, pink, white, yellow and purple. The flowers are useful for dyeing clothes. The seeds are said to aid digestion and have been used in skin care to remove blemishes from the face. The Romans used flat seeds for theater money.

Lupins are the only food for the Karner blue butterfly caterpillar. The larvae crawl up the stems of wild lupines to feed on the young leaves in mid-April.

The scent from lupine flowers is like that of honey, a lovely addition to any garden. The gorgeous flower spikes can be from 36-60 inches tall. Lupins need full sun, rich soil and plenty of moisture. They can grow in poor soils if the soil is not too alkaline. Add some imagination to your garden with a range of colorful, magnificent lupines!

Poppies are symbols of beauty, magic, comfort, fertility and eternal life. Egyptians included poppies at funerals and in tombs. The Greeks used poppies in the shrines of Demeter, goddess of fertility, and Diana, goddess of the hunt. Poppies indicate sleep, rest and relaxation. In modern times, poppies have become associated with the fields of Flanders as an emblem of those who died in the First World War.

Poppies do best in cool climates. They are both a cultivated flower and a hearty wild flower. Although poppies are perennial, they are often grown as annuals. Poppies grow throughout Europe, the Orient and America. Poppies are the state flower of California.

Poppies have been used for centuries in spices, medicines and health tonics. Poppy tea has been used for its calming effect. The oriental poppy is the only poppy that contains opium, but other poppies also have mild sedative effects. Water made from poppies is said to remove wrinkles and refresh the skin. Poppies can also be used for coloring and to add flavor and texture to breads and pastries.

Poppies should be watered moderately and kept in full sun. Poppies grow between 2′ and 5′ tall with blooms up to 12 inches wide. Colors include bright red, deep orange, light orange, white, yellow, purple and pink with black centers. A single sheet and a double sheet are formed there. For a bright and wonderful addition to your garden, add a border of bright poppies.

Sunflowers are a symbol of worship. The sunflower turns its head to the sun, which is the origin of their common name. Sunflowers belong to the genus helianthus, a reference to Helios, the sun god.

The sunflower is native to the Americas and is the state flower of Kansas. Sunflowers usually grow in scrub and dry areas. Sunflowers vary greatly in size depending on their adaptive genetic makeup, but can reach a maximum height of about 10′.

Recently, sunflowers have been bred to produce shorter varieties for use in the garden. The petals were originally quite small and irregular, so efforts have been made to increase the size and number of petals. Several double petal varieties have also been created, as well as variations in the color of the center (brown to black) and even of the petals (honey, beige, cream pink, soft yellow, pale red).

Sunflower seeds are packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, protein, fiber and minerals. Sunflower oil can be used for cooking. Sunflower also serves as animal feed, mainly for cattle and poultry. Sunflower seeds were also used by Native Americans for blue or black dye and the petals for yellow dye. Smaller sunflower varieties are often used as cut flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements.

Try planting sunflowers along a fence or in the back of your garden for a beautiful and very useful addition to your garden.

The language of flowers associates the following meanings with sweet peas: happy pleasure, delicate pleasure, farewell, departure, thank you and thank you for a beautiful time. Sweet peas were very popular in the late 1800s and are often considered the floral emblem of Edwardian England. Sweet peas are the flowers most associated with the month of April.

Sweet peas come in over 250 varieties. Annual varieties prefer full sun, regular watering and humus-rich soil. Perennial sweet peas survive in average soils with moderate irrigation. Sweet peas are extremely aromatic and were originally grown in the plains of Sicily. Most species grow from 1-5′ tall, although some can reach 6′.

Sweet peas can be used successfully as cut flowers and in corsages and boutons. The most famous and perhaps most important use of sweet peas was the extensive genetic studies conducted by Gregor Mendel.

Tulips are generally a symbol of fame and perfect love. The symbolic meanings also change with the color of the tulips. Red tulips mean “trust me” and are a declaration of love. Variegated tulips mean “you have beautiful eyes.” Yellow tulips mean “there is sunshine in your smile”. And cream-colored tulips mean “I’ll love you forever.” Tulips are the main national symbol of the Netherlands, rivaling wooden shoes and windmills!

Tulips are originally from Persia and were brought to the Netherlands in the 17th century. Approximately 150 species of tulips grow wild, especially in mountainous and cold regions. Once the tulip was hybridized, a wide range of petal colors and shapes were created.

The name for tulips comes from the head covering worn by many Middle Eastern peoples known as a turban or taliban. In Latin, this translates to “tulips”.

In the years 1636-37, tulipmania reigned in the Netherlands. Tulips were a symbol of wealth and status and were traded as currency. A bed of tulips can buy a small house. A few highly prized tulips were even more valuable, and a single bulb could be traded for a large house and all the land, furniture and other accessories.

When the tulip market crashed, it was similar to the stock market crash of the 20th century. Thousands of businessmen were ruined when the bubble burst.

Today, the tulip remains a favorite spring flower. Almost any garden can be decorated with this beautiful, easily recognizable flower.

The symbolic meanings associated with zinnias are thoughts of missing friends, enduring love, steadfastness, kindness, and daily remembrance. Zinnias are the state flower of Indiana.

The original zinnias were found in the early 1500s in the deserts of Mexico. They were so dull and unattractive that the Aztec name for them meant “eyes.” When introduced to Europe, they were equally despised and referred to as “everybody’s flower” and “the flower of poverty.” Zinnia was named for Dr. Gottfried Zinn, a German whose hobby was wild flower breeding.

The common name, Garden Cinderella, indicates the level of subsequent transformation of the zinnia. In the late 1800s, a French botanist produced the first brightly colored double zinnias. In the early 20th century, Luther Burbank created the first dahlia as a zinnia. Today the number of colors and shapes of flowers available is amazing.

Zinnias thrive in hot climates and will not thrive in cool weather. Zinnias don’t need to be watered too much and they don’t like mold. A wonderful feature of zinnias is that the flowers that open first stay fresh while the new flowers open and begin to bloom.

Next time you’re deciding what flowers to plant in your garden, keep the amazing symbolism of flowers in mind!

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