The Secret Life of Flowers

“Earth laughs in flowers”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson 


I’ve made a few posts about writing: different forms (such as poetry), interesting words you could use, and even writing exercises. Well, here’s another one.

I’ve talked quite often on Juniper and all the different things I learned there. One of the last days I was there, a girl in our group, Chloe, presented a piece of her writing. It was absolutely beautiful and I hope she gets published someday, but that’s besides the point, that’s not what I learned. Our instructor, Zoe, pointed something out. Chloe had a reoccurring theme of tulips and other types of flowers in her story. No one knew what tulips actually represented: death, happiness, serenity, etc. and we were told to go get a flower dictionary.

Normally I wouldn’t bring this up, but I was reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin and I realized that the last paragraph (almost always one of the most important paragraphs in any book) was telling us more than most people perceive. It was all about the flowers.

This is the last paragraph:

“She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again. Edna heard her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s. She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch. There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air.”

Most people don’t know this, but the sycamore tree represents curiosity while pinks represent pure love. For those of you who haven’t read The Awakening, this story is about self discovery. I can’t say too much without spoiling the end, but what I can say is that knowing that the symbols for curiosity and pure love is in that final scene really help solidify my theory of what happens (it’s an open ended book).

My point is this: every person who is an writer, in an AP, or in a college class needs to have a dictionary of flowers. So, here you go: Language of Flowers by Charlotte de Latour.

It’s actually a pretty interesting read, well, to me at least. Because I’m a giant nerd. But, for those of you who want the most popular flowers, I’ll provide a list below. Enjoy!

Rose (red)-Love

Daffodil-Self love

Cherry tree-Educated




Poplar (black)-Courage

Sunflower-False riches




“By all those token Flowers that tell

What words can never speak so well.”



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