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Garden Variety: Know the meanings of different flowers

January 30, 2014

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Violets

Violets

Bleeding hearts

Bleeding hearts

Gardenia

Gardenia

Narcissus

Narcissus

Avid gardeners could hypothetically save money this Valentine’s Day by growing their own long-stem roses.

These special hybrid tea varieties will grow in this area. You only need a large shade greenhouse, constant pruning to only one leader and bud, constant 60- to 70-percent humidity, 75- to 85-degree temperature, careful nutritional monitoring and daily watering.

Since we’re throwing money around, why not make our own chocolate while we’re at it? The Theobroma cacao tree needs only the same requirements but a much larger greenhouse and a manufacturing facility to process the beans into chocolate.

Don’t forget the card. Paper pulp can be made from almost any woody plant material. Paper-making supplies are available to the homeowner like any printing materials.

Roses, chocolate and paper pulp are not the only horticultural elements that have claims to Valentine’s Day. Here are some others and what they mean:

Tulip — Represents ardent love

Narcissus — Representing new relationships or the deepening of a current one. This plant is associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Jasmine — A native of India and the subject of many Arabian poems as being a symbol of love.

Marjoram — This has mixed meanings, one being the flower of love and marriage, and the other, death and loss. Used both in weddings and funerals.

Daisies — Certainly not to be forgotten as the “he loves me, he loves me not flower.”

Violets — Signifying that I am returning your love

Gardenia — Signifying that I love you secretly

Bleeding heart — Hopeless, but not heartless, unrequited love

Lily of the valley — Let’s make up

Apples — Historically, apples were given as tokens of love and fertility. They were also eaten to stay young — “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The saying “mom, country, apple pie,” refers to different forms of love: maternal, love of country and sexual.

Tomato — Spaniards believed that the tomato was the true romance-inducing fruit. These “love apples” brought from South America were not apples at all. This eventually gave rise to the saying, “she’s a really hot tomato.”

The only issue I see with all these flower options is that Valentine’s Day would have been better served in June. The option of growing my own roses, or for that matter any of these flowers, in this cold and snow, is not happening. Chocolate? Now that’s worth some consideration.

— Stan Ring is the Horticulture Program Assistant for K-State Research and Extension in Douglas County. Extension Master Gardeners can help with your gardening questions at 843-7058 or mastergardener@douglas-county.com.

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