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Parents’ Secret Knowledge: Language of Flowers Edition

May 22, 2017
By Heidi Maness Hartwiger - Natural Parent, Natural Child Series , OVParent

With winter in the rear view mirror, you open the doors to sweep the kids and dust bunnies outside. The kids do not feel the call of spring the way you do. They resist, but you persist for you have made a visit to the secret knowledge well to learn the language of flowers.

Things could get very interesting as you drop little teasers of wisdom like, "Flowers have a lot to say. Have you heard them talking lately?" Preschoolers are on board for this adventure; however, there are skeptics in the older crowd.You will win them over with your secret knowledge of the language of flowers.

If you need a word to make it official, floriography is the language of flowers. Greeks and Romans believed in the language of flowers both historically and in myths woven around plants and flowers. In the time before bathing, nosegays or "tussie mussies" were a essential way of life. These mini bouquets were worn as broaches or hair ornaments to mask odors rather than send messages.

In Victorian England, sending flowers was a way of talking when talking was not permitted. Chaperones kept strict watch over the young women in their charge. Nevertheless, secret romances flourished by means of bouquets of carefully selected flowers. If you knew the language of flowers, then you "got the message." Sometimes it was to express degrees of affection. On occasion, the flower assortment was used to dissolve a relationship.

Meanwhile, outside the flower chatter continues. Walk the neighborhood and consider the conversations. Magazines, books and websites are good "dictionaries" for the language of flowers.

Here is a starter list of spring flowers: Crocus is cheerfulness, but candytuft says, "I don't care." Dandelion is lazy, violet is shy and forsythia is all about anticipation. Enter the blooming hyacinth, a typical yard mate with the crocus. Hyacinths are the high energy kids in the yard. They shout games and sports. Pink especially loves to play.

Hope and wisdom come from the iris while the creeping ivy twines around friendship. Daffodils shout new beginning, as pansy faces nod in merriment. Tulips are first on the spring scene saying "I love you." Roses will come later. It is a good thing that petunias are the grannies of the garden, gentle and soothing. Marigolds, colorful as they are, must be watched, for they are jealous.

Visit a farmer's plant stand with the kids to select flowers to plant as a "conversation garden" in a container. They may have amazing combinations. Maintaining the container garden could be a summer-long project with a side serving of fun and sense of responsibility.

Heidi Maness Hartwiger a Wheeling native, is a writer, teacher and storyteller. She is a mother of four and a grandmother of five.



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