The circle
The meaning of flowers

The meaning of flowers

The meaning of flowers

“Mrs. Dalloway said she’d buy the flowers herself” (Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia


Mrs. Dalloway was throwing a party: everything had to be blooming, absolutely

brimful with overwhelming brightness. Thus, she prepared herself to swim, to

dive into the vastness of the city, ready to “buy the flowers herself”.

Why flowers? Why not delicate chocolates, or small, golden candles, or maybe

colourful decorations made out of glittering fabric?

Lilacs, tulips, carnations, sweet peas, roses, irises, daisies, sunflowers; is

it just for decoration that we seek them so eagerly when trying to embellish

our everyday life? It is as if they carried their own beauty discreetly hidden

inside their tender petals, and waited silently to finally open up and deliver

their lively message wherever they are: birthday parties, hospitals, public

places, crowded streets, cemeteries, restaurants… all of them seem to greet

with endless rapture this blossoming visit.

Which words wait, invisible, behind the fragile-looking corolla of a silky-red

poppy? I believe they truly are words of life, forever-changing and travelling

in the same tides we move in. Maybe that is the reason why we cling to flowers

when trying to put a note of beauty in daily details, because we identify in

them the unique preciousness of something that can never be repeated

throughout History, of something that, imperfect and flawed as it is, speaks a

deep, solid language, and brings us to a state of emotion that we can only

experience when looking closely at a living being, a creature of time and

colour. Flowers depend, like us, on light and water. They raise their petals

to the sun, trusting they will receive the nurture they need, and lower their

heads when no rain touches them. Their beauty is, at the same time, eternal

and ephemeral, and so they have lived on in every possible expression of Art

we have attempted. We have filled them with plenty of symbols, and poured in

them not only concrete feelings but also human values.

Is there any painting that depicts the scene of the Annunciation and does not

have pure, innocent lilies in it? Is there anyone who can conceive an

Andalusian dancer with any flower but a carnation? The immortal Rose speaks

its divine language throughout Poetry; violets keep accompanying the grieving

and the humble with their dark and bright colour. We still ask dandelions

whether or not we are loved, and breathe deeply to catch the sensual, elegant

fragrance of jasmine.

Flowers give light to everything they touch, and transform it into something

that beats, something that moves, but not monotonous- or uniformly, for it is

the colour of its petals and the strength of its form what determines the

effect they have on what they are linked to. Flowers, as any form of life, can

be passionate or just tender, peaceful or tempestuous, strikingly notorious or

merely calming company. They dare to tell what we are not brave enough to say

out loud and speak for us our most inner emotions and feelings, inviting us to

take part in their vast and beautiful net of meaning.

Until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty of a single flower, we are

woefully unable to grasp the meaning and potential of life itself. – Virginia