Based on etiquette rules, flowers do say it all


By Ted Manzer

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine’s Day is over, but we can look back at what our gifts supposedly mean. First off, I don’t really buy into flower meanings. If you and your significant other like a particular species and color that’s all that matters. However, some traditionalists want to do things according to the etiquette rules.

Let’s start with roses, especially since that’s the flower we most associate with Valentine’s Day. Red roses are associated with love and passion. I don’t think that surprised many people. Yellow roses are associated with friendship and pinks supposedly indicate grace and sweetness, beauty, or secret love. As one might expect, white roses signify purity and innocence. Lavender roses mean love at first sight.

When you receive carnations, be cautious of the yellow and striped ones. They both indicate rejection and disappointment. Red is safe as are pink, which express undying love. Once again, white implies purity and good fortune.

Mums are another common species used by florists. In general, chrysanthemums signify cheerfulness and optimism. Specifically, if love is your goal, go with red. White might be a good choice for reconciliation, as it means truth and loyalty. Yellow suggests slighted love.

Daffodils are a pleasant exception to the yellow tendency. Yellow daffodils mean chivalry, love and respect. Tulips are another flower where color can’t steer you wrong. Nearly every hue denotes love and/or beauty. Remember that, guys.

My personal favorite flower is lilac. The purple ones are my most cherished. Their aroma brings back so many loving memories. According to flower gurus, lilacs proclaim love. How convenient.

Sometimes a living plant can make a great substitute for a flower arrangement. Ferns are popular and suggest confidence, fascination, magic and sincerity. We have plenty at our school greenhouse.

I’ve always liked red Anthuriums. According to several sources they are considered the little boy flower. They represent heart, hard work and hospitality.

Calla lilies look somewhat similar but are white instead of red. They suggest beauty and purity. You can’t go wrong with that.

I was surprised to learn that cacti were considered high on the love ladder. I always considered their sharp thorns adverse. Cacti signify bravery, endurance and maternal love. They also stand for riches and beauty, so don’t hesitate to give a loved one a cactus.

Some might wonder if any wildflowers blooming right now could make a good cheapskate gift and could we score some points at the same time? Yes, common camellias are blooming and usually come in white, pink and Red. All colors are supposed to draw positive vibes.

Buttercups and violets are blooming too. It might be difficult to construct a suitable bouquet, but sentiment is positive. Buttercups supposedly are rich in charms and cheerfulness. Violets symbolize love and faithfulness.

When you get right down to it, I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a gift of flowers or a live plant. Plants brighten up their surroundings. They can remind you of happy times and places. Furthermore, they won’t chew up your shoes or pee on the floor like a puppy.

Ted Manzer teaches agriculture at Northeastern High School.