The language of flowers was a quaint custom in days long gone for people to express their feelings. As many were illiterate and unable to put pen to paper, flowers were exchanged as each had a recognised, albeit sometimes secret, meaning.
When it came to affairs of the heart there were specific connotations and a friendship or possible courtship could be ruined by sending the wrong flowers.
To express the first emotions of love you would send a bouquet of lilacs as they implied, ‘I’m falling in love with you’.
An open red rose said ‘I love you’ but if you received a rose in bud it begged the question ‘do you love me?’ A fully opened rose with two buds asked to keep the love a secret.
A posy of daisies would send the message ‘I’ll think about it’.
Honeysuckle meant devotion as its leaves were borne in pairs opposite each other and its twining habit suggested faithfulness.
A wallflower was a sign of faithfulness in adversity and would be sent to your true love if you were betrothed to another, as many marriages were pre-arranged.
Pansies were to ‘think about me’, carnations conveyed ‘thoughts of sweet affection’, rosemary asked for remembrance and violets were a sign of modesty.
Lily-of-the-valley signified that you wanted to be ‘just friends’ and a few sprigs of hawthorn meant …’Forget it, it’s over!’
I sometimes think it would be nice to revive this old custom. I wonder what I would send to the love of my life for the past fifty years to say … ‘I loved you the first time I saw you, I love you still, I’ll love you tomorrow and I always will’?
Some Like it Hot
Many people grow and enjoy chillies.
I’m not one of them, probably due to a lack of culinary courage, whereas my sons tell me you cannot have a chilli that’s too hot.
Chillies belong to the same family as tomatoes and like to grow in similar conditions.
It’s too early to plant chillies in the open garden but you can prepare a bed for planting out seedlings as soon as the weather is consistently warm.
Chillies range in colour from yellow through to green, purple and red.
The hottest part of the chilli is the white, pithy strip the seeds are attached to.
The general rule is that the smaller the fruit, the hotter it is with the red ones being the hottest.
The chemical capsaicin which creates the burning sensation when chillies are eaten actually triggers burn responses in the brain which results in tears, sweat and a runny nose to try to wash out the heat.
Drinking water is not the answer to bring relief. Instead drink milk because the capsaicin is soluble in the fats in milk.
When the flowers appear feed regularly with a tomato fertiliser to promote lots of flowers that will turn into healthy fruit.
Chillies are hottest when picked at the green stage as ripening creates a sweetness that soothes the heat of the fruit.
Extreme caution must be taken when handling chillies.
Always wear gloves and definitely don’t rub your eyes.
September 16, 17: The Launceston Horticultural Society’s Early Spring Show features daffodils and camellias. St Ailbe’s Hall, Margaret Street, Launceston Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Specialist nurseries, floral art and more. Entry $2.
September 15,16,17: Launceston Orchid Society’s Spring Show, Glenara Lakes Retirement Village, Hobart Road, Youngtown. Friday 2pm-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. David Keanelly Nursery orchid sales. Entry $5.