Last week a group of girlfriends and I gifted a gorgeous planter to a friend mourning the loss of someone very special. Instead of each gifting a small bouquet or card we decided to get a more meaningful gift and I think what we landed on may just be the best gift I've ever had the pleasure to give.
This ain't your momma's plain-jane flower planter.
I'm only just learning that flowers have traditional meanings and there are dictionaries in-print and online that hold all this glorious information. We asked our friend for some words to describe the person she lost and then, using the book The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as a guide, we were able to select flowers for the planter that represent this beloved person.
To share the flower names and meanings we made up a small laminated card - one side gave the definitions and the other side held a note expressing our sympathies. We tied this to the handle of a small wooden trowel nestled in with the plants. It turned out beautifully.
Here are the flowers we ended up choosing:
Alyssum - Worth Beyond Beauty
Calla Lily - Modesty
Clover - Think of Me
Dahlia - Dignity
Fuchsia - Humble Love
Geranium - True Friendship
Gerber Daisy - Cheerfulness
Heliotrope - Devoted Affection
I am really excited about using these flower definitions to add meaning to a more generic gift - here are a few other ways I'd personalize a gift for someone special, or for myself.
Mother's Day/Birthday/Graduation: Give a bouquet of flowers selected specifically for their meaning. The flowers could represent the person receiving the gift (selfless, caring, genuine) or your hopes for the person (adventure, success, achievement). Share each flowers' meaning, and why you chose it, in a lovely card.
Housewarming: Select flowers that represent what you hope this new home will mean to the new homeowners (warm, welcoming, love, family...). Add a few small garden steaks to mark each plant. I'd try to find, or make, some plant markers with the flower name on one side and the definition on the other - by the way there are some amazingly creative options to peruse on Etsy
Wedding Bouquet & Boutineer: I adore the idea of selecting flowers for your wedding that hold special meaning. Have the flowers in the bouquet represents what the groom means to her (and vice versa for his boutineer) or select flowers together than represent your future and use them throughout the wedding ceremony and reception.
At Home: Sometimes you get back what you put out there. If you're buying plants or flowers for your home why not choose something that represents what you want from life, something you feel is missing (companionship, peace, health, prosperity), or an area you want to focus on and develop (courage, balance, harmony).
Flower dictionaries are available online - A simple Google search returned plenty of results - and although I haven't had a chance to read The Language of Flowers (yet!), I've been told it is a beautiful story.