Prepare yourself for a full crop of bud-busting trivia. From pollination to cultivation to symbolism, we’ve got it all covered (and fertilized and watered). Does plant prowess come naturally to you?
The Jack in the pulpit has an odd name and is indeed pollinated by gnats (how annoying)! It’s a tuberous perennial that is also known as Indian Turnip. These plants can live 20 to 100 years, and the sex of the flowers on a single plant can change from year to year. Freaky.
In Victorian times, culture was focused on symbolism and flowers played a large part. Though there are several colors of lilac, the purple variety symbolizes the first emotions of love. So be sure to include that in a corsage for your prom date. Skip the orange lily, which symbolizes hatred and dislike.
There are no tenants on the Isles of Scilly, but the local Environmental Trust still pays one daffodil annually to Prince Charles as rent for the lands.
The daisy is a shortened version of “day’s eye,” and it was named this because the flower’s yellow center looks like the sun.
Tulips include these variations as well as many others. They often have varied bloom times and heights, so it’s nice to plant a range of varieties together for an interesting garden display.
This flower is found all over the southern U.S., but North Carolina claimed it as its own. Dogwood trees are known for their beautiful spring blossoms in white and pink varieties.
Hyacinths get their name from a character in Greek mythology, Hyakinthos. He was a favorite of the sun god Apollo, and when Hyakinthus was fatally wounded by a flying discus, a beautiful flower sprang up from the ground where his blood had fallen. Apollo named the plant Hyacinth after his deceased friend.
Magnolias are truly ancient. Some varieties have been found in fossils dating back to 95 million years ago and many others date back 20 million years. Because they came into existence before bees, magnolias have tough flowers and leaves to withstand damage from beetles, which did the pollinating back then.
Wood anemone is a natural healer and many herbalists use it. The roots have antiseptic properties and are often used to make a cleansing wash to put on cuts and wounds. Native Americans also made a tea from the roots that relieved headaches and dizziness. You might want to stock up on this cure-all plant.
Gardenias mean “I love you in secret,” and it is very good luck to give them to a man. Unless he is already attached. Is there a plant to calm angry girlfriends and wives?
Red roses stand for love and desire, yellow roses symbolize infidelity and jealousy, and pink roses mean “please believe me.” Don’t you wish there was one that simply meant “my bad”?
During the Victorian age, it was not appropriate to openly express emotions such as love and grief. Instead, the Victorians gave their flowers emotional symbolism, so you could say what you meant with flowers. For example, instead of sending an e-mail, your boss would send a nutmeg geranium which clearly says “I expect a meeting.”
Nuts symbolize stupidity. Try this trivia on your nutty friends and see if they get it.
White flowers tend to have more of a scent than their colorful compatriots. Funny, since white is the absence of color. Apparently it makes up for that in aroma.
Though rose-smelling life jackets might make your hours afloat more pleasant, sunflowers offer the most benefit. Before modern flotation materials were created, they used dried sunflower stalks to fill lifejackets and keep them buoyant.
Most people know perennials bloom every year, while annuals die and have to be replanted. But that isn't the whole story. If you plant the right type of annuals, you only have to do it once. Choose reseeding annuals like larkspur, poppies, cosmos and coreopsis. They drop their seeds on the ground and pop back up the next spring!
The first modern book on the meaning of flowers was published in 1819. This guide to symbolism was called "Le Language des Fleurs" and it was written by Madame Charlotte de la Tour. In 1884, Kate Greenaway wrote “Language of Flowers,” which has since become the most popular book on the subject.
Princess Diana was also called “England’s Rose.” When Elton John performed at her funeral service, he changed the lyrics of “Candle in the Wind” to use this nickname.
Bette Midler sang this song, featured in the film of the same name. In “The Rose,” Bette stars as Mary Rose Foster, a rock star struggling to cope with the challenges of her career. Not only a great movie and soundtrack, but a great karaoke song.
Daylilies are delicious! The buds and flowers taste a bit like asparagus and are really yummy when stuffed with goat cheese or fried into fritters. Seriously. There are recipes. Google it.