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Feb 4

A Garden’s Language of Love

Posted by GeriMiller on 4 Feb 2017. Filed under  Garden inspiration / observation, Humor View Comments

“The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.”

George Moore

What makes a perfect Valentine’s Day? Many think it means material things given…a fine dinner, expensive jewelry, exotic perfume, a big box of chocolates. Really? I think all you and your love need do is spend some time in a garden. Well, ok…you can throw in the chocolates too.

History, chemistry and good ol’ fashioned folklore tells us that love lies within a garden. Cupid didn’t carry a bow and arrow, it was a trowel! For centuries flowers, herbs and, yes, even edibles have been inspiring love in every culture all over the globe. Here is a list of some of our garden favorites and their “love” attributes. And, yes, none of the following is research-based, all folklore! So take your love by the hand and stroll through the garden …

Love Lore

  • APPLE BLOSSOM – you’re trying to attract love? Drop some apple blossoms in your bath.
  • ASPARAGUS FERN – Fascination
  • ASTER – Symbol of Love, Daintiness, Talisman of Love

    Apple blossom

  • ASTER (CHINA) – Fidelity, Variety, I Will Think of Thee
  • AZALEA – Take Care, Temperance, Fragile, Passion, Chinese Symbols of Womanhood
  • BABY’S BREATH – Innocence, Pure of Heart
  • BALSAM – Ardent Love
  • BASIL -“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.” Sir Thomas Moore. Basil is also believed to attract money, keep a lover faithful, and soothe headaches and heartaches. At one time young girls would place some on their windowsill to indicate they were looking for a suitor. In Tudor times, small pots of this were given by farmers’ wives to visitors as parting gifts.
  • BIRD OF PARADISE – Often given today from a woman to man as a symbol of faithfulness
  • CACTUS – Endurance, My Heart Burns with Love
  • CALLA LILY – Magnificent Beauty
  • CAMELLIA – Admiration, Perfection, Good Luck Gift for a Man, Gratitude
  • CAMELLIA (PINK) – Longing
  • CAMELLIA (RED) – You’re a flame in my heart
  • CAMELLIA (WHITE) – Adoration, Perfection, Loveliness
  • CARNATION (GENERAL) – Fascination, Devoted Love
  • CARNATION (PINK) – I’ll never forget you, Women’s Love
  • CARNATION (RED) – My heart aches for you, Admiration
  • CARNATION (DEEP RED) – Alas! for my poor heart
  • CARNATION (WHITE) – Sweet & Lovely, Innocence, Pure Love, Woman’s Good Luck Gift
  • CATCHFLY (RED) – Youthful Love, I Fall Victim
  • CHAMOMILE – Stands for perseverance in adversity and humility; helps a person overcome feelings of melancholy and anger; attracts love and prosperity.
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM (YELLOW) – Slighted Love
  • CLOVER (FOUR-LEAF) – Be Mine
  • CLOVER (WHITE) – Think of Me
  • COXCOMB – Unfading Love
  • DAFFODIL – Regard, Unrequited Love, Sunshine, Respect, The sun shines when I’m with you
  • DAFFODIL (YELLOW ) – Chivalry
  • DAHLIA – Dignity and Elegance, Forever Thine
  • DAISY – Innocence, Loyal Love, I’ll Never tell, Purity, Beauty
  • DANDELION – Faithfulness, Happiness, Love’s oracle
  • DILL – Lust
  • FERN (MAIDENHAIR) – Secret bond of love, Discretion
  • FERN (ROYAL) – Reverie
  • FORGET ME NOT – True Love, Memories
  • FUCHSIA (SCARLET) – Confiding Love, Taste
  • FURZE – Love for All Occasions
  • GARDENIA – You’re lovely, Secret love, Purity, Refinement
  • GARLIC – Courage, Strength, Get well, Ward Off Evil & Illness. It is also seen to be an effective aphrodisiac.
  • GLOBE AMARANTH – Unfading Love
  • GLOXINIA – Love at first sight
  • HELIOTROPE – Devotion
  • HENBANE – For Males to Attract Love from Females
  • HIBISCUS – Consumed by Love, Delicate Beauty
  • HONEYFLOWER – Sweet, Secret love, Generous Affection, Sweetness of Disposition
  • HONEYSUCKLE – The Bond of Love

    Honeysuckle vine

  • IPOMACA – I Attach Myself to You
  • IRIS – Faith, Wisdom, Promise in Love, Hope, Wisdom & Valor
  • IRIS (YELLOW) – Passion
  • IVY – Wedded Love, Fidelity, Friendship, Affection
  • JAPONICA – Sincerity, Symbol of Love
  • JASMINE (INDIAN) – Attachment
  • JASMINE (SPANISH) – Sensuality
  • JONQUIL – Love Me, Affection Returned, Desire, Sympathy
  • LAVENDER – Love, Devotion. It was once a custom to scent a bride’s bedclothes with lavender on her wedding night to soothe her fears.
  • LEMON BLOSSOM – Fidelity in Love; I Promise to be True
  • LETTUCE – A bit of a contradicting lore here, the Romans believed that the lettuce plant was a powerful aphrodisiac. It was also served in quantity at feasts and weddings for these reasons and also because it was thought to prevent drunkenness.
    In England on the other hand country people traditionally believed that planting lots of lettuce in the garden could prevent conception!
  • LILAC (PURPLE) – First emotions of love
  • LILY (WHITE) – Virginity, Purity, Majesty, It’s Heavenly to be with You, Youth
  • LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING/AMARANTHUS – Hopeless, Not Heartless, Desertion
  • LOTUS – Estranged love, Forgetful of the Past
  • LUNGWORT – Thou Art My Life
  • MARIGOLD (COMMON) – Pretty Love, Sacred,Affection, Caress, Sorrow
  • MARJORAM – Joy, Happiness
  • MIMOSA – Secret Love
  • MINT – Virtue. Represents both the coldness of fear and the warmth of love. Hang a sachet in your window for good luck, happiness, parting of the ways, new beginnings, and release of anger.
  • MISTLETOE – Kiss me, Affection, Difficulties, Sacred plant of India,
  • MORNING GLORY – Affection
  • MOSS – Maternal Love, Charity
  • MOTHERWORT – Secret Love
  • ONION – Carve each lover’s name on an onion and then set them aside; whichever onion sprouts first is the lover for you. Some sources insist that this works best when performed on December 1.
  • ORANGE BLOSSOM – Innocence, Eternal Love, Marriage, Fruitfulness
  • ORANGE, MOCK – Deceit
  • ORCHID – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Chinese Symbol for Many Children, Thoughtfulness
  • PARSLEY – Bad luck will come your way especially if you cut some for your cooking and you are in love at the same time, or transplant it, or give it away.
  • PANSY – Merriment, Thoughts (You Occupy My Thoughts)
  • PEAR – Affection
  • PEACH BLOSSOM – I am your Captive
  • PEONY – Happy Marriage, Compassion, Bashfulness
  • PEPPERMINT – Cordiality
  • PERIWINKLE/VINCA/MYRTLE – Early Recollections, Pleasures of Memories, Sweet Memories
  • PETUNIA – Your Presence Soothes Me
  • PHLOX – Our souls are united, Unanimity
  • PINK- Pure Affection
  • POPPY (RED) – Pleasure

    Red Poppy

  • PRIMROSE – I Can’t Live Without You, Woman
  • RANUNCULUS – I am Dazzled by your Charms
  • RHUBARB – Advice
  • ROSE (BRIDAL) – Happiness. Rosebuds symbolize love and devotion: White roses symbolize innocent love; red roses, passionate love; pink roses, simple love; yellow roses, friendship. To revitalize your love life, sprinkle rosewater on the bed. As a flower essence, rose dispels shame about sexuality and helps users fulfill their true desire.
  • ROSE (CORAL) – Desire
  • ROSE (DAMASK) – Freshness, Persian Ambassador of Love
  • ROSE (HIBISCUS) – Delicate, Beauty
  • ROSE (LEAF) – You may Hope
  • ROSE (LAVENDER) – Enchantment
  • ROSE (ORANGE) – Fascination
  • ROSE (PINK) – Perfect Happiness, Secret Love, Grace & Sweetness, Indecision
  • ROSE (DARK PINK) – Thankfulness
  • ROSE (PALE PINK) – Grace, Joy
  • ROSE (RED) – Love, I love you, Respect, Beauty
  • ROSE (TEA) – I’ll Remember – Always
  • ROSE (THORNLESS) – Love at first sight, Early Attachment
  • ROSE (YELLOW) – Joy, Jealousy, Friendship (one yellow rose with 11 red ones means love & passion)
  • ROSEBUD (RED) – Pure & Lovely
  • ROSEBUD (MOSS) – Confessions of Love
  • ROSES (Bouquet of full bloom) – Gratitude
  • ROSES (Single full bloom) – I truly love you, Simplicity.
  • ROSE (MUSK CLUSTER) – Charming
  • ROSE-OF-SHARON – Consumed by Love
  • ROSEMARY – Remembrance
  • SAGE – Wisdom, Great Respect, Speedwell Female Fidelity
  • SNAPDRAGON – Gracious Lady, Strength
  • SPEARMINT – Warm Sentiment
  • SPIDER FLOWER – Elope with me
  • STOCK- Bonds of Affection, Promptness, You’ll Always Be Beautiful to Me
  • SUNFLOWER ( DWARF) – Adoration

    Sunflower Photo by Todd Porter & Diane Cu

  • SWEETPEA – Good-by, Departure, Blissful Pleasure, Thank You for a Lovely Time
  • SWEET-SULTAN – Felicity, Happiness
  • SWEET-WILLIAM – Grant me one smile, Gallantry
  • TULIP (GENERAL) – Perfect Lover, Fame, Flower Emblem of Holland
  • TULIP (RED) -Believe me, Declaration of Love
  • TULIP (VARIEGATED) – Beautiful eyes
  • TULIP (YELLOW) – There’s Sunshine In Your Smile
  • TURNIP – Charity
  • VALERIAN – Accommodating Disposition
  • VIOLET – Modesty, Virtue, Affection
  • VIOLET (BLUE) – Watchfulness, Faithfulness, Love
  • VIOLET (WHITE) – Let’s Take A Chance On Happiness
  • VIRGIN’S BOWER/CLEMATIS – Filial Love (Filial: referring to a son or daughter)
  • WALL FLOWER/GILLY FLOWER – Faithful in Adversity, Fidelity, Lasting Beauty
  • WINDFLOWER – Sincerity, Symbol of Love
  • WORMWOOD/ARTEMISIA – Absence, Do not be discouraged
  • YARROW – Cure for heartache
  • ZEPHYR FLOWER- Sincerity, Symbol of Love
  • ZINNIA (MAGENTA) – Lasting Affection
  • ZINNIA (MIXED) – Thinking (or in memory) of an Absent Friend
  • ZINNIA (SCARLET) – Constancy
  • ZINNIA (WHITE) – Goodness
  • ZINNIA (YELLOW) – Daily Remembrance

So next time you’re buying flowers for your sweetheart, keep this list of love lore in mind to make sure you’re saying what you mean and you mean what you say!


Home and Garden Magazine, Love of Lore July 2010, Lisa Trusdale, The History and Language of Flowers


Click HERE for more on the meaning of flowers

Posted by GeriMiller. Filed under Garden inspiration / observation, Humor. Tags: ,

6 Responses to “A Garden’s Language of Love”

  1. Hello Geri. Thanks for the wonderful post via Annie Haven. Many years ago I’d seen the lore of flowers. But, this one is even better since it includes other plant material. Perfect too since spring is just around the corner!


    Posted by Arbor and Vine on February 4th, 2011 at 5:16 pm Reply

    • Hi Kathy…Isn’t fun spreading the gardening love? 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it. Cheers!

      Posted by GeriMiller on February 4th, 2011 at 5:26 pm Reply

  2. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    Posted by Eufemia Redel on February 15th, 2011 at 3:19 pm Reply

  3. I am wondering if you could tell me the significance or meaning of the whortleberry (bilberry) in garden lore or language. I am unable to find what it means when used as decoration or symbol.

    Your site is very interesting and appealing. I know it is a labor of love.

    I, too, am a master gardener in the Western U.S.A. and find it rewarding in a great many ways.

    Posted by Marion A on May 7th, 2011 at 4:05 pm Reply

    • Hi Marion, All the sources I use tell me Whortleberry means treachery! 🙁 Glad you enjoy the site. Yes, it was and continues to be a labor of love, so it’s nice to hear that people appreciate it. And nice to meet a fellow MG! Best, Geri Miller

      Posted by GeriMiller on May 8th, 2011 at 1:33 am Reply

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