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Gardener's Notebook: The Victorian-influence on the meaning of flowers

There are plants for anniversaries
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Flowers have different meanings that originate in the 'prim and proper' days of Queen Victoria.
YORKTON - In Victorian times, flowers began to have a language all their own. Those were prim and proper days, and a young man might not dare express his burning love for a young lady in words, but he could say it with flowers! To this day, flowers still have the power to express a message. While a bouquet of flowers is welcome at any time for any occasion, we know that certain flowers get right to the point. Deep love? Red roses. Elegant respect? Orchids. Cheery friendship? Daisies.

We’ve heard of traditional gifts for each anniversary, but guess what; there are plants for anniversaries, too. We are blessed to know two wonderful couples, once celebrating their 63rd anniversary, and one celebrating their 65th. Such special events prompted me to do some homework and find out what plants might be associated with these milestone events.

A 63rd wedding anniversary is associated with the beautiful and fragrant lilac. Lilacs originally came from the Balkan area, which explains their hardiness here. What plant is more beautifully associated with spring than the fragrant lilac, coming in a delicate palette of white, cream, violet, or burgundy. The colours have meaning: violet or purple represents a sense of spirituality; burgundy is for love; white for purity.

The fragrance of lilacs is long loved of old: it is so intoxicating that folks used to think it was magic.

Lilacs like a sunny location, and if we give them this, they will flower profusely. They like well-drained soil, but enjoy good waterings when they are newly planted. They’re easy to grow and low maintenance, so it’s no wonder that gardeners everywhere love lilacs.

Lilacs are a hardy choice. It is always amazing to me that a country drive will reveal where a farm yard once stood by the row of lilac shrubs that still stand there bravely. Of course, there are many more varieties of lilacs now than there were years ago, so there is a colour, size and growing habit of lilacs for every yard.

A 65th wedding anniversary is associated with blue hydrangeas, because the 65th anniversary stone is the blue sapphire. This luscious blue represents loyalty, trust, and wisdom, while the blue sapphire represents faith, faithfulness and commitment.

Who can resist the beautiful hydrangea: the globes of flowers are simply magical because they are so unique. Hydrangeas are not difficult to grow indoors as a houseplant, but we just have to accept that they are a bit fussy in terms of care.

They like a lot of light, but not direct light. And they are thirsty plants,: we should water them well when they are blooming, but hold back a bit when they are not. We must try to be careful that the soil never dries out completely. Hydrangeas like humidity, so if we can give them a spot bright with indirect sun, cooler temperatures of around 16 degrees, and some humidity, they will be smiling! In winter, they like to kick back and be dormant, so we should move them into a cool room and hold back on watering, giving only enough to so that they don’t wilt. As spring approaches, we can bright them out again and hopefully they will reward us with those lovely blooms again!

We send love and best wishes to these dear brides and grooms: you know who you are, and you are all very dear to us! May God bless and keep you always! Happy anniversaries!

Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work each week. See what’s new with the Yorkton Hort society at Have a great week!