Language of Flowers

The origin of this information
Many years ago I inherited an old old dictionary from my grandmother. It is very old and contains many interesting facts relevant to the years it was published. As we know only too well, time moves on and things change.

Going back to something like this dictionary makes for interesting reading. Many words found in it are no longer in active use in our language today. Some words are still used but their meaning has changed quite dramatically.

On this page is part of the information found in this interesting book pertaining to the Language of the Flowers. Remember as you read this that the era was circa 1930’s and many things have changed since then. It is unlikely that a person given flowers with a specific meaning would actually recognise that meaning any more unless it was made obvious via a note or some other clear hint.

Who knows the meanings now?
I was told by my mother that few people fully understood the meaning that flowers conveyed even during her days. Although at the time they still knew the meaning of certain flowers, many of the more unusual meanings were not recognised.

So if you would like to let your flowers do the talking for you in a message then be sure that your intended party is educated in the language of flowers so they can then decipher the meaning you intended.

Using the Language of Flowers is almost a forgotten art, except for our oldest generations. I am sure if you gave a meaningful flower or set of flowers to your grandmother or grandfather then the meaning would not be lost on them. This would be your best chance. So why not give it a go. I am certain they would be most grateful for your most thoughtful gesture.

The rules for creating messages
A cluster of flowers can be made to express and sentiment if care is taken in the selection.

If a flower is offered reversed, its original signification is contradicted, and the oppostie implied.

A rosebud without thorns, but keeping leaves, conveys the sentiment, “I fear no longer; I hope.” Stripped of leaves and thorns, it signifies, “There is nothing to hope or fear.”

A full-blown rose, placed over two buds, signifies “Secrecy.”

“Yes” is implied by touching the flower to the lips; “No,” by pinching off a petal and casting it away.

“I am” is expressed by a laurel leaf twined around the bouquet; “I have,” by an ivy leaf folded together; “I offer you,” by a leaf of Virginia creeper.

Meanings of single flowers

Flower Colour Meaning
Arbor Vitae Unchanging friendship
Camelia White Loveliness
Candy-tuft Indifference
Carnation White Disdain
China Aster Variety
Clover Four-Leaf Be mine
Clover White Think of me
Clover Red Industry
Columbine Folly
Daisy Innocence
Daisy Coloured Beauty
Dead Leaves Sadness
Deadly Nightshade Falsehood
Fern Fascination
Forget-me-not Do not forget me
Fuchsia Scarlet Taste
Geranium Horseshoe Stupidity
Geranium Rose Preference
Geranium Scarlet Consolation
Golden Rod Be cautious
Heliotrope Devotion
Hyacinth White Loveliness
Hyacinth Purple Sorrow
Ivy Friendship
Lily Day Coquetry (seek to attract attention/admiration; flirt)
Lily Water Purity of heart
Lily White Sweetness
Lily Yellow Gayety (lively; merry; full of spirits; cheerful)
Lily of the Valley Unconscious sweetness
Mignonette Your qualities surpass your charms
Monkshead Danger is near
Myrtle Love
Oak Hospitality
Any Blossom Orange Chastity
Pansy Thoughts
Passion Flower Faith
Primrose Inconsistency
Rose Love
Rose Damask Beauty ever new
Rose White I am worthy of you
Rose Yellow Jealousy
Rosebud Moss Confession of Love
Smilax Constancy
Straw Agreement
Straw Broken Broken agreement
Sweet Pea Depart
Thistle Sternness
Tuberose Dangerous pleasures
Verbena Pray for me
White Jasmine Amiability
Witch Hazel A spell


Meaning of flowers in combinations

Moss Rosebud, Myrtle A confession of love
Mignonette, Coloured Daisy Your qualities surpass your charms of beauty
Lily of the Vally, Ferns Your unconscious sweetness
Yellow Rose, Broken Straw, Ivy Your jealousy has broken our friendship
Scarlet Geranium, Passion Flower, Purple Hyacinth, Arbor Vitae I trust you will find consolation, through faith, in your sorrow; be assured of my unchanging friendship
Columbine, Day Lily, Broken Straw, Witch Hazel, Coloured Daisy Your folly and coquetry have broken the spell of your beauty
White Pink, Canary Grass, Laurel Your talent and perseverance will win you glory
Golden-rod, Monkshead, Sweet Pea, Forget-me-not Be cautious; danger is near; I depart soon; forget-me-not


Self-saucing chocolate pudding

Serves 6

1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
30g butter
Some drops of vanilla escence

Chocolate Sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
firmly packed 1/4 cup cocoa
extra 1-1/4 cups hot water


Preheat oven to a high moderate heat. Boil water. Melt butter.

Sift flour, sugar and cocoa into a large oven proof bowl. Make a well in the centre of ingredients. Melt the butter and combine with milk then gradually stir it in. Mix until smooth.

Chocolate Sauce
Add the dry sauce ingredients over the top of the pudding mix (brown sugar and sifted extra cocoa). Pour the hot water gently over the top of these ingredients and place the dish into a preheated oven.

Baking & Serving
Bake in a moderate oven for about an hour or until the pudding is well risen and firm to the touch. Serve hot with icecream and cream as desired.

The Learning Curve

Speed of Learning
You have heard it said that there is a learning curve, that some things have a steep learning curve and others have a shallow or easy learning curve. But what exactly is this learning curve?

What is a learning curve?
A learning curve demonstrates the process of learning something. When you first start to learn something it takes a while to understand and then build on your inital knowledge. After a while there is a sound foundation of knowlege that can be build upon. This continues until past the intermediate stage, after which it takes longer to learn new things again. Think of it as a flattened out S (see diagram to right).

We are all learning
Learning is something we all have to deal with for the rest of our lives. My grandmother used to say, “you learn something new every day!” Most of us do.

When we are in school our learning is obvious. When we start work we are still learning. Changing jobs or positions requires even more learning. Moving house requires learning new addresses and telephone numbers, a new car requires new techniques, even picking up a magazine introduces you to new information. All of this is learning, although not all of it is new learning.

Familiar learning
Once we have been doing the same thing for a long time then sometimes we may think we are not learning. We are, but probably just not in new areas. Every program we see on television teaches us something new, as does every advertisement too. When we browse the Internet or read magazines we are learning something new again. Because we are used to learning in these ways our learning is non-obtrusive and seems easy.

You see, our knowledge of most of these areas is sufficiently complete. When learning new information such as stated above, all that is needed is a quick memorisation of the bits you need to know. Learning someone’s phone number for example does not take too long. All that is needed is remembering eight (or more) digits that comprise the number in the order they are presented.

Learning in new areas
But what if we didn’t know what a phone number was, how to use it, when to use it, or what even a telephone was? What if we had not seen numbers before and had to also learn that the digit “8” is spoken as “eight”? In this case, learning the new phone number would take considerably longer. There is a lot of extra information that is needed before a simple memorisation of the numbers can occur. This is what it is like to learn in a new area.

When we learn in new areas it can be very hard. Everything is unfamiliar and there seems to be nothing that we can use to make sense of all of the new knowledge we are gaining. This is when learning is often slow going and is the type of learning that the learning curve relates to. Let us look deeper into this type of learning and find out how the learning curve gets its shape.

The slow curve… Building foundations
Learning CurveUsing the previous example of learning something as simple as a phone number, there is a lot of prior knowledge required before we can learn only the numbers. This prior knowledge is sometimes known as hooks. Something that we need to learn first, on which we can then hang other knowledge. These hooks are all the basics, the foundational pieces of information and understanding that allows us to then interpret correctly all of the rest of the information we learn.

Consider the foundations of a highrise building. When the building begins, they do not build up, but rather start digging down. This is needed to ensure the foundations are right. As they keep building, many weeks can go past as the foundations are put in place and finalised. All of this happens before we see a single level added to the building.

When first venturing into a new subject there is a lot of foundational work to be done first. During this stage it can seem like our head is swimming with information and there is nowhere to put it. But over time each bit of information starts to find a place. At this point hooks have started to develop. The information swimming around our head can be hung onto them and everything is starting to make sense.

This foundation period is represented by the initial flat part of the graph. During this phase learning takes a long time. The flatter the graph the longer it takes to learn a given amount of information.

The fast curve… Building the structure
Returning to our building analogy, once the foundations are in place the progress seems to surge ahead. The building structure is erected in a very short time. However the building itself would not last without solid foundations. This is the same with our learning.

Once we have a solid foundation of knowledge, adding to it becomes quite a straight forward process. All we need to learn is the information that is new. Anything that we already know does not need to be learnt again. We select only the new information from what is before us. This makes our learning process easier because there is now less information to learn.

On our learning curve, this period of learning is represented by the steep curve. The steep curve indicates that a lot of learning takes place within a short amount of time. It is during this stage that most people find learning fun.

The second slow curve… Fitting out the structure
Now that we have our foundations in place and the building structure is also built, the apparent speed of building once again slows down. This is because the finer details are being put into the building. Painting and tiling and decorating all has to happen before the building is finished. Some of this work is slow and tedious.

With our learning, we have our foundational knowledge and skills and the basics. After this the learning process slows down once again. That is because the finer points of knowledge take longer to learn. This is represented by the second flat curve at the top right of our graph.

Whatever the area there is more to learn. Playing guitar involves the foundations of music theory, strumming, and finger placement for chords. The structure involves learning songs and different strumming styles. The details of learning may include playing with harmonics, increasing the speed of chord changes, or improving your fingerpicking styles.

Learning in any area does not stop. It only stops when we decide we have learnt sufficient. Some of the best in their field acknowlege that there is always more that they need to learn. One of the best concert musicians of his time was still practicing five hours a day well into his later years. When asked why he spent so much time practicing still, he replied, “because I think I am still improving”.

Not all of us need to learn everything about a particular area, but all of us need to learn. The most important thing to remember about learning and the learning curve is that the first part is the hardest. Get past this and you will find learning a joy.

And remember… we never ever stop learning. It is a lifetime thing!

Some Biblical Wisdom

A brief look at some wisdom from the Bible…

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.

When goods increase, they who eat them also increase. So what profit do the owners have except to see it with their eyes?

The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. Just exactly as he came, so shall he go.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-16 (excerpts)

Money and Mud

Considering the logical connection between money and mud:

Money is like mud. Consider a pool of mud…
Approach that pool of mud with a bucket. Scoop that bucket into the mud and take it out again. Watch the hole you have just made slowly disappear as the mud around it oozes over to cover it up. Wait a while longer and there is no hole left. Even longer and you cannot tell if a hole was ever made there. The pool of mud looks just like it did before you touched it. Perhaps the level of the pool has gone down a tiny little bit but that is the only change.

So it is with money…
We all have a set amount of money available to us. Be this through credit cards and loans or through savings. This is our pool of mud. When you purchase something with your money, you reach into your pool and scoop out the money you need for your purchase. This is the same as using a bucket to scoop out the mud. The size of your purchase determines the size (and impact) of your bucket. In making the purchase, you also leave a hole in the pool of money available to you. Over time however, the hole you made slowly disappears. Bigger purchases take longer to disappear than small ones, but eventually they all disappear (even the big ones like house loans). At this point your pool of money has stabilised again.

Small pools of mud…
Now if the pool of mud is too small then using the same sized bucket (amount of spending) will have a much bigger impact on the level of mud in the pool. The level may end up far too low, causing the mud to dry out. It may end up being so low that the impact of the scooped out hole is never covered over and an indentation always remains.

In a financial parallel this means that we have overspent and have gone beyond our ability to repay what we have spent. This is not a good mudpile to own.

Sloppy pools of mud…
If the mud is very sloppy (lots of extra cash around) then the hole you make will disappear much faster. Be careful though, because sloppy mud can splash out of the bucket very easily. The level of the pool will still drop the same amount relative to the size of the bucket of course.

Firm mud…
Should the mud be very firm (rigid budgeting) then scooping your bucket into the pool will be difficult and the hole it leaves will never fill up again, or will take a very long time. In this sort of situation, the next bucket of mud (money) must be drawn from another place (budget allocation) in the mud pool instead as the remaining hole prevents taking it from the same place.

Taking too much mud…
If you take too much mud from the pool without replacing it, the mud in the pool will eventually reach a critical level. At that point, the remaining mud is too small to remain mud. It will start to dry up and crack. Once it has you will not be able to draw any further mud from that pool (financial crisis) without a new supply of mud (funds).

Summing all of this up is a quote from an old advertising slogan from years back. It says something like:

“You remember the quality long after you forget the price.”

And that is the relationship between money and mud.

How to break a habit

Breaking habits can be done. It requires time and patience. Some people say it is hard. No one has said that it is impossible.

Habits are things we do to occupy pieces of time. Time is permanent. It cannot be added to and it cannot be taken from. Habits must therefore be replaced so that the time they took is used more appropriately.

Habits are things we do to protect ourselves. If we are emotionally hurt or stressed then we have learned to respond in a way that appears to protect us. A poor response provides short term comfort and long term pain. There will always be times when we may feel stressed or threatened. We will always need a reaction. Bad habits here cannot be eliminated but must be replaced.

This is the secret to breaking habits.

Just trying to stop a bad habit works for a short time. It requires a lot of strength. When our strength runs out so does our ability to prevent that habit from recurring.

Replacing a habit with something else builds into us a new pattern of behaviour. It too takes strength at the beginning. After a time the old patterns are broken and the new habit patterns begin to replace them. Eventually the new patterns turn into a new habit.

The new habit will now be used in place of the old one. The old habit has given way to the new.

Habit broken!