by Dave Trinklein, MU Horticulture
via Missouri Beginning Farming
February brings with it Valentine’s Day and the prospect of millions upon millions of flowers being sent to those who hold a special place in the hearts of the people who send them. Indeed, it is estimated that nearly 200 million roses alone will find their way into the lives of “significant others” throughout the United States this year. Flowers are remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is their influence or power over those around them.
The fact that flowers hold a special place in the lives of humans should come as no surprise. Flowers have been used by people since ancient times to express their feelings, enhance their surroundings, and commemorate important occasions. For example, in Israel an ancient burial pit dating back 14,000 years was found to contain impressions of stem and flowers from plants such as mint. Later, Egyptians were known to have placed flowers in vases and bowls whereas Greeks and Romans mainly wore flowers in the form of garlands and wreaths.
By the time of the Renaissance, flower use had become much more elaborate and commonplace. Flowers were used not only for special occasions such as pageants or feasts, but also for everyday use in homes. Each succeeding era (e.g. Victorian) brought with it changes in flower design and usage. Today, flowers are an integral part of our everyday lives and are used to express various feelings from deep sympathy to abundant joy.
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Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore. Jill is a contributing author for Acres USA and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal.