Flower Guide Tips

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What do the different colors of roses mean?

A Rose by any Other Color…

If you want to send roses as a gift, you're not alone. Roses are among the most popular flowers sent out everyday. Are you trying to express love? All roses are symbolic for love; however, the color you select is representative of other things as well. Here's a little cheat sheet that explains the meaning commonly expressed with different colors of roses:

  • Red means love and respect (this is the most common color of rose purchased).
  • Pink means perfect happiness and grace.
  • Dark pink displays gratitude.
  • Light pink shows admiration and sympathy.
  • White gives a message of innocence, purity, or secrecy.
  • Yellow is generally interpreted as meaning friendship but can also express an undying love.
  • Orange shouts passion and desire.
  • Blue is mysterious and whispers “extraordinary”
  • A mixture of red and white shows unity.

What does a lily say?

The Elegant and Peaceful Lily

In Roman legends, Venus was filled with envy when she first witnessed the beautiful lily. She felt so threatened by the way it rivaled her beauty that she caused a monstrous pistil to rise from its perfect, white center. Some folklore claim that lilies spontaneously sprouted up on the graves of people executed for crimes they were innocent of.

And, some people even believe that having lilies in a garden will protect it from evil spirits and ghosts that might otherwise intrude upon it. Regardless of implications placed upon this flower, there's no denying its beauty and elegance. It has a certain appearance of purity that make it the perfect wedding flower. In addition, it emits such a peacefulness that it is commonly used as a funeral flower.

What does a violet say?

Violets, Violets, Everywhere!

There are many types of flowers in the world but not many are as talked about as the violet. There are over 200 common names for the violet and the majority of them have to do with sex and love. It is often times thought of as the flower of modesty because the flowers are hidden by a large amount of heart-shaped leaves. Among other things, violets are rumored to symbolize purity and charm and protect against all that is evil. Here is a breakdown of what messages are commonly expressed when giving different colors of violets:

  • Blue violets - signify constancy and claim that the giver will always be true.
  • White violets- display modesty but at the same time prove that the giver will take a chance on happiness
  • Yellow violets – show modest worth


Dark Colored Perennials

For those of you who prefer to plant perennials you have some great choices for dark colored plants. They are:

  • Aquilegia (several varieties)
  • Geranium phaeum (several varieties)
  • Hellebores (again, several choices)
  • Penstemon 'Midnight'
  • Primula and Viola (a huge selection)

Many of these plants come in plain black or the flower may have another color in it, either way, they are easy to care for and will come back year after year.

Why give wildflowers?

A Natural Resource

When you think of giving or receiving a bouquet you probably think along the lines of roses, orchids, or lilies. You are overlooking, however, a beautiful natural resource—wildflowers. Wildflowers have recently emerged as great choice of bouquet (even for weddings). They offer a feeling of simplicity yet exude a unique elegance feel.

The true beauty of them, however, is their ability to add a relaxing element to any occasion. When you give wildflowers the possibilities are endless. There are so many options and, no matter which you choose, you'll eliminate formalities and give vivid colors instead. They're sure to get smiles.


Dark Colored Perennial Foliage

For those of you who still prefer perennials, there are many choices here in dark colored foliage. They are:

  • Heuchera americana 'Palace Purple'
  • Lobelia fulgens
  • Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens.

There are also other varieties available, but these are the darkest.


Bulbs, Corms, Rhizomes And Tubers That Are Dark Colored

If you prefer to plant your garden with bulbs, corms, tubers or rhizomes, you can still have black or almost black colored plants. Although many of these are tropical or tender perennials, they will grow in cooler climates, but will need storage during winter. Some good choices are:

  • Arisamea sikokianum
  • Arum pictim
  • Asarum maximum or magnificum
  • Biarum tenuifolium
  • Cosmos astrosanguineus
  • Dracunculus vulgaris
  • Fritillaria (several varieties)
  • Hemerocallis (single and double flowered varieties)
  • Iris (several varieties)
  • Orchids (again several varieties)
  • Tulipa and Zantedeschia 'Schwarzwalder.'

The degree of blackness will vary depending on your soil, planting location, etc.

What types of flowers are in an arrangement?

Flower Types in an Arrangement

All flowers are shaped differently; some flowers are big and fat, others are tall and skinny, and some are tiny and come in clusters. And, all of these flowers have different uses. The types of flowers used in floral arrangements fall into three different categories: line flowers, focal flowers, and filler flowers.

Line flowers: are tall and have blossoms that are close to the stem (like liatris, stock, Canterbury bells, etc.)

Focal flowers: single stem, compact flowers that demand the attention of the viewer. They are placed in the center of the arrangement as well as along the edges of the container (roses, magnolias, peonies, etc.)

Filler flowers: Are used to fill the spaces between the line and focal flowers and give the arrangement a fuller appearance. They have clusters of individual flowers on one stem (baby's breath, denzia, pom-poms, etc.)


Good Choices For Annuals, Biennials And Tender Pernnials

Depending on what part of the country you are in, here are some good choices for annuals, biennials and tender perennials that are black or near black.

  • Alcea rosea 'Nigra'
  • Centaurea 'Black Ball'
  • Dianthius - several black varieties
  • Kennedia Nigricans (Black Coral Pea)
  • Lardizabalata Biternata (Zabala Fruit)
  • Akebia quinata
  • Nemophila ingignis 'Penny Balck'
  • Papaver somniferum 'Guinness'
  • Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Ace Of Spades'
  • Tacca Chantrieri (Bat Plant).

These all vary in the shade of black that they sport but are all good choices.

What does a daisy say?

He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not…

Ah, the daisy, the flower that asks the timeless questions, “He loves me? He loves me not?” This adorable flower was named by Carolis Linnaeus in the 17th Century and has been helping individuals question intentions ever since.

Overall, when you give this type of flower you are giving cheerfulness, you're telling someone that they are a wonderful friend, or you are sharing optimism. Generally the daisy is a friendship flower but in the rare case that red daisies are given, love is being expressed. In addition, yellow ones can mean slighted love and white can insinuate truth.


Favorite Color Combinations

Some of the most striking color combinations use light and dark flowers. Some dark colored gardens include black and red, and combinations of black and yellow, and black and white. Although this by no means limits your possibilities, play around and see what creates the most contrast in your garden.


Dark Colored Trees, Shrubs And Grasses

Who says trees, shrubs and grasses have to be green? Check out these dark colored varieties and add a little variation to your landscape. Choices include:

  • Acer palmatum (several choices)
  • Coprosma repens
  • Cornus alba 'Kesselringii'
  • Corylus maxima 'Purpurea'
  • Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Pendula'
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb.'

The above are known for their dark colored stems, a perfect addition to winter gardens, and they all sport dark colors.


Dark Colored Foliage For One Season

If you want to add some dark colored foliage to your flower beds, try these choices in annuals, biennials and tender perennials. Be aware that the biennials should come back every other year. Your options include:

  • Acalypha wilkesiana 'Can Can'
  • Aeonium arboreum 'Schwarzkopf'
  • Beta vulgaris 'Macgregor's Favourite'
  • Oxalis triangularis and Perilla frutescens (several varieties).

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Guru Spotlight
Jolyn Wells-Moran