I’m really benefiting from the power of flowers at the moment. When I step out into the garden first thing with my mug of tea, the sight of all the brightly coloured blooms sets me up in a happy frame of mind, which makes me feel ready to deal with whatever the day may bring.
“Flower Power” was a phrase coined in the late 1960s/early 70s and is particularly associated with peaceful protests against the Vietnam war. This was reflected at the time in fashion and music – psychedelic fabrics embroidered with flowers and songs such as Scott McKenzie’s – “If you’re going to San Francisco, Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair …”. I entered my teens in the early 70s. This coincided with me learning to use a sewing machine and getting into making my own clothes. I ran up several hippie-style long skirts which I wore throughout one of the summer holidays. I remember my Mum coming home from an Inner Wheel meeting and telling me that one of the snobbier ladies had commented, while looking down her long nose, that she had been a little taken aback to have seen me in town wearing one of my creations – heaven forbid!
Some flowers have powerful scents – I frequently sniff them in my own garden and when I’m out walking – my Mum used to tease me that I’d be stung on the nose by a bee one of these days. Of course flowers provide the ingredients for many of our favourite perfumes. Having mentioned the early 70s above, I can’t help thinking of my first perfume – Charlie – a blend of citrus, rose and vanilla – I gather you can still buy it – I won’t be though – I think I used to layer it on a bit too thickly and it makes me feel a bit queasy thinking about it now. Another piece of advice from my Mum was that if you can smell your own perfume, you’ve got too much on – maybe she was right.
The power of flowers is used to promote charities – we donate to the Royal British Legion and Marie Curie, wearing our poppies and daffodils with pride. There seems no end to their talents (well, some of them) – arnica definitely reduces bruising and lavender helps with sleep and relaxation. Apparently jasmine flowers can heal aches and pains – I don’t have any of them so I’m unable to test this out. Rose petals and hawthorn are said to improve circulation and heart health – I’m hoping I won’t need to try those any time soon. Passion flowers are said to cure stress, insomnia, depression, anxiety and panic attacks – my plant was frozen to death last winter so maybe I should think about replacing it!
And then there’s flower symbolism – Rosemary for remembrance, Forget-me-nots (no explanation required), Violets (purple for modesty, white for innocence) and Red Roses for passion. Victorian men would send bouquets that conveyed a message through the choice of flowers – no doubt their fiancées and wives received the violets, while their mistresses enjoyed the red roses!
Really enjoyed this blog, Belinda. First of all your garden looks glorious – shows me that colour can be had right through till autumn if you get your planting right. It’s funny how flowers can also be very evocative taking you to a particular moment and place in the past. I was always desperate for a spray of my older sister’s Charlie perfume – and yes, I think I can somehow bring to mind its cloying scent.
Leave a comment