April birth flowers

2017-04-19 06:00
The sweet pea comes in a wide range of pastel colours with a delicate fragrance.

The sweet pea comes in a wide range of pastel colours with a delicate fragrance.

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BOTH the sweet pea and daisy are said to be the birthflowers for April. The sweet pea comes in a wide range of pastel colours with a delicate fragrance.
It symbolises blissful pleasure, delicate pleasure, departure or good-bye. The sweet pea, also known as the “Queen of Annuals,” was first recorded in 1695. At the time, Francisco Cupani, a member of the order of St Francis, made note of the flower in Sicily and sent seeds in 1699 to Dr Casper Commelin, a botanist at the medical school in Amsterdam.

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

Henry Eckford, a Scottish nurseryman, is credited with cross-breeding and developing the sweet pea into the floral sensation of the Victorian era.

Eckford received a First Class Certificate in 1882 for introducing the “Bronze Prince” sweet pea, which is when his association with the flower is said to have started.
In 1901 another new form of sweet pea was discovered in the Earl of Spencer gardens. They were soon identified as the “Spencer” and were different from other varieties in that they had much larger ruffled upper petals, longer lower petals and blossoms that were much more brighter.

The Latin lathyrus odoratus, which means “pea” and “fragrant” is how the sweet pea was named.

Daisies symbolise childhood innocence, simplicity and joy  - the three most popular varieties are the Shasta daisy, African daisy and gerberas.

The gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii) was discovered in 1884 near Barberton, South Africa, by Scotsman Robert Jameson. Breeding programmes, which began in England in 1890 perfected the flower’s quality and colours, making them a favourite among both gardeners and givers of bouquets. The gerbera is still the fifth most popular flower in the world behind 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 light.

There are many meanings assigned to the daisy - from innocence, simplicity and joy to happiness, good luck and new beginnings. 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.

Some people believed that daisies kept away lightening, which is why they were often grown indoors. Daisies are also known in England as “bruisewort” because their crushed leaves can sooth bruised or chapped skin.

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