January Flower Lore: Carnations:
Carnations, the flower of the month. Here are some interesting facts about this special, and used in many floral arrangements. The carnation is a long lasting flower and can be grown in your flower gardens!
There is a whole sub-category of etiquette surrounding which flowers are appropriate to give at what times, and to whom. The unending rules surrounding something so simple as a flower can be dizzying.
Another aspect of flower lore concerns the designated flowers for each month of the year. January’s official flower is the carnation.
Carnations are a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. Carnation stems can grow to be at much as 30 inches tall, and the flowers are 2-3 inches wide with a large number of sweet smelling petals. Their natural color is a bright pinkish-purple, but other colors have been cultivated, including red, white, yellow, and green. Their formal name, dianthus, comes from Greek for “heavenly flower.”
Carnations are said to be primarily a symbol of love, though the meaning can differ depending on the color. In France, carnations are the traditional funeral flower, and are it is considered bad luck to give them for any other occasion.
The leaves of carnations were once mixed with wine to control fevers, while the flowers were believed to be an effective antidote some poisons. The plant was also once popularly used to add flavor to beer and wine.
One legend about the origin of carnations states that the plants sprang up from the tears of the Virgin Mary as she watched Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary. This is probably why pink carnations are, to this day, the symbol of motherly love.
Bell Tower Festival
at the gardens
Gardens are always open
10:00 - 4:00 PM Daily
Weekends: May - October
10:00 - 4:00
201 East Lincoln Way
Jefferson, Iowa 50129
The Thomas Jefferson Gardens bring to life the prairies that welcomed Lewis and Clark explorers and early settlers, heritage plants from Monticello, farming practices of Thomas Jefferson’s time, outdoor musical instruments to experience, a children’s garden, and so much more.