Two birth flowers for April

2016-04-06 06:00
 The sweet pea is said to symbolise blissful pleasure, delicate pleasure, departure or good-bye.

The sweet pea is said to symbolise blissful pleasure, delicate pleasure, departure or good-bye.

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APRIL has two birth flowers – the daisy and the sweet pea.

Daises are close cousins to sunflowers and the three most popular varieties are Shasta, African daisy and the gerbera daisy.

The gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii) was discovered in 1884 near Barberton, South Africa, by a Scotsman Robert Jameson. Breeding programmes in England in 1890 perfected the flower’s quality and colours, making it a favourite among gardeners. The gerbera is still the fifth most popular flower in the world following the rose, carnation, chrysanthemum and tulip.

It is believed that the name “daisy” is a variation of “day’s eye” because the whole flower head closes up at night and opens up again in the morning. There are many meanings assigned to the daisy - from innocence, simplicity and joy to happiness, good luck and new beginnings. It is also said that a daisy given between friends to keep a secret as it means “I’ll never tell”.

In Victorian times, daisies stood for loyalty and trust. There is also a story in Roman mythology of a nymph named Belides who transformed herself into a daisy to escape unwanted attention from one of the gods. This story gives daisies the added meanings of modesty and innocence.

Fragrant and pastel coloured, the second April birth flower is the sweet pea, which is said to symbolise blissful pleasure, delicate pleasure, departure or good-bye, which explains the message “thank you for a lovely time” attached to the flower.

The sweet pea, also known as the “Queen of Annuals,” was first recorded in 1695 in Sicily by a monk who sent seeds to Britain.

John Keats, the famous British poet, apparently first used the name sweet pea, which became so popular in the 1800s that they were the designated floral symbol for Edwardian England.

Sweet peas are available in over 250 different varieties and there is a wide range of pastel and bi-colour choices available. The Latin lathyrus odoratus, which means “pea” and “fragrant” is how the sweet pea was named.

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