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honeysuckle

Honeysuckles in June say love, gratitude and appreciation.

A new year means a new calendar. As I flip the page to January, I am reminded that I have several friends who have upcoming birthdays. Of course, my mind began to wander, thinking of birthstones, moon signs and birth month flowers. Yes, just like each month has a corresponding stone, there is also a flower.

January has the carnation — often thought of as filler for arrangements without getting the credit it deserves for having a strong bloom in the colder months. Of course, it plays well with others, but there is something sweet about a handful of pale pink carnations mixed with greenery. The carnation represents admiration, hope, and rebirth.

You might be surprised by February’s flower: the violet. Red roses are the popular choice for Valentine’s Day, and who doesn’t love their soft petals and heavenly smell? But February’s birth flower is the violet. Years ago, a gift of violets meant you would always be true and faithful.

Spring brings daffodils. This March flower has blooms in either white or yellow and makes us think of rebirth and new beginnings. I was lucky enough to receive daffodil bulbs from Holland as a holiday gift. I have given them a special spot in my garden. When they bloom this spring, I will think of my friend and what a thoughtful gift she shared with me.

April and May’s flowers are daisies and Lilies of the Valley. Daisies gave us the innocent “loves, loves me not” rhyme and lilies are for appreciation and motherhood.

Flowers and communicating through their meaning is not new or created by the FTD flower delivery people. Floriography or the language of flowers has been around for centuries. This long-forgotten way to express feelings sure beats a text any day of the week.

Honeysuckles in June say love, gratitude and appreciation. Larkspur in July remind us of levity and lightness. The meaning can change depending on the color. Fun fact: pink can mean contrariness or a fickle attitude.

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The strong stems and blooms of Gladiolus in August show strength of character and integrity. These stems are sent as a flower of remembrance and honor. Knowing this, I will never look at gladiolas the same; I have gained a new respect for this flower.

As the calendar moves into fall, so do the flowers. Asters in September are dainty reminders of patience and never-ending love. Although Asters come in several colors such as pink, white and red, there is only one color for me — lilac. I plant these every year and get so excited when they finally bloom that familiar shade of purple.

Marigolds bloom in October. The gold, orange and red of these flowers are warm and comforting. I have a connection with them. My mom planted them as a border plant and a friend has created her own variety and often shares her seeds. I plant marigolds near my vegetable beds to protect them from insects. All of these seem in line with the message of creativity and medicinal care-taking by the humble marigold.

November’s flower is the Chrysanthemum. This fall favorite tells the story of compassion, friendship and joy. I would have to add dependability. I know when I plant mums they will deliver blooms in fall hues long after my summer has faded.

As the December holidays begin, we think of Holly, Narcissus and Poinsettias. I use them all throughout the holidays, but nothing says Christmas quite like a Poinsettia. Although much more delicate than many realize, when given as a gift they bring good cheer and smiles. Red and sometimes pink are the traditional colors but a friend was absolutely giddy when she received a giant white one from her husband.

Communicating feelings through the meaning of flowers is a lost art. Oh, I’m happy to receive any flowers — I love a fresh bouquet or potted plant to care for — but there is something quite charming and thoughtful when someone goes the extra step to research the meaning behind the plant. Maybe even attaching the meaning and care instructions along with a note will enhance your gift and make it unforgettable for both the giver and the receiver.

Jane Powell is a long-time West Virginia Extension Service Master Gardener through the Kanawha County chapter and has a garden with sunny spots and shady beds where she grows perennials, vegetables and herbs. She is also the author of “Gardening in Pearls,” a blog that combines her love of gardens, fashion and design. By day, Jane is the communications director for a community foundation and a volunteer with several nonprofits in the community. Find her blog at http://gardeninginpearls.com/. Reach Jane at janeellenpowell@aol.com.

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