As Valentine's Day approaches couples across the world will fall back on an old faithful standby, flowers. As we have gotten further and further away from our knowledge of growing, we have also forgotten that flowers have hidden meanings.
That garish flower, the Dahlia, fell out of favour in the last century. Seen as the stalwart of the allotment grower and the suburban border, it has come back into our gardening pallete only recently, thanks to the Bishop of Llandaff which became fashionable at garden shows a few years back but the lovely Dahlia has a language of its own. If you give a bunch of dahlias to a loved one you are telling them that they are elegant and dignified. A flower that should always be in our borders.
Sweet peas are a favourite for many gardeners but if you are giving them to your loved one hoping for a night of passion in the garden shed, forget it, they are merely flowers which say, 'You have my thanks'. Think of that next time someone gives you a bunch, not exactly passionate overture more of a polite decline.
Lupins are glorious flowers and have several meanings, they mean 'of the wolf', coming from Lupinus but that is not the meaning that has stuck with us. If you give a bunch of Lupins to a loved one, you'd better hold on, as they are now more associated with voraciousness and imagination. They are to be given to over excited and adventurous lovers and not to to be shared with your neighbours.
Honesty is often forgotten as a flower that can be cut and shared, but this lovely flower should be given in moment of sincerity, for this is what the flower means.
Now we come to the most romantic of garden flowers, the cosmos, a favourite at Pig Row sown year in and year out, this cottage garden favourite means innocent love and is symbolic of virtue rather than lust. If you want to symbolise your lust for someone, you'll have to give them a bunch of dill. Good luck with that one.