As spring’s warm weather and gentle showers usher in new life throughout nature, floral enthusiasts take to their flowerbeds to cultivate their favorite varieties of spring blossoms. With so many options to choose from, some gardeners utilize the symbolic meanings of different flower varieties to help them make their selections for the season.

One of the most popular varieties of spring flower is the tulip. Originating in Central Asia, these bright blooms take their name from the Persian word for “turban.” The tulip has come to symbolize a variety of ideas and emotions. Since tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, many associate tulips with rebirth and renewal. Romantic love is also represented by the tulip, an association likely formed due to the flower’s Persian legend of origin. According to ancient tradition, the tulip first bloomed in memory of a prince named Farhad after he took his own life following the untimely death of his lover. Much like roses, certain colors of tulips carry additional unique meanings. For example, white tulips are symbolic of forgiveness white pink tulips represent confidence.

The pristine gardenia boasts a rich history of symbolism. During the Victorian era, it was common to receive gardenias as anonymous gifts from secret admirers. Today, gardenias are often included in bridal bouquets since their white petals conjure motifs such as purity and love. Surprisingly, gardenias are a member of the same botanical family as coffee. While these flowers are native to tropical regions of the world, gardenias are sure to brighten up any greenhouse!

Originally cultivated in Japan, hydrangeas are now a staple of springtime gardens across the world. According to Japanese folklore, an ancient emperor presented blue hydrangeas to the family of the woman he loved as an apology for neglecting her. This symbolic tradition continues in Japan where the gift of a hydrangea is still seen as an apologetic gesture. However, Europeans developed their own meaning for the hydrangea. When a woman rejected a suitor in Victorian England, it was common practice for the downcast man accuse the unloving lady of arrogance by sending her a hydrangea. The hydrangea was chosen to represent haughtiness since it produces a bunch of blossoms but only a handful of seeds. To this day, superstition claims that young ladies growing hydrangeas in their flowerbeds will never marry.

The ranunculus flower has held human attention captive for centuries. In Native American cultures, the ranunculus is known as “Coyote Eyes.” According to legend, Coyote was passing idle hours by tossing his eyes into the air and catching them. When Eagle snatched Coyote’s eyes out of midair, Coyote made himself a new set of eyes using ranunculus blossoms. The Persians developed their own version of the ranunculus’s origin story. In Persian folklore, a prince was magically transformed into a ranunculus after a nymph became annoyed by his constant attempts to woo her. Today, the ranunculus signifies charm and attractiveness, making it the perfect gift to your significant other!

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