Welcome to the latest post in the birth flowers series, looking at the flowers assigned to each month of the year. This time we’re looking at the birth flowers for January and their meanings.
For some history on the origins of birth month flowers, take a look at my first post in the series.
What was the first image that popped into your mind when you read this flower name? Mine was wedding buttonholes; in my memory all the family weddings from my childhood had lots of carnations. They’re a very old flower, full of history and symbolism. Originally carnations were shades of pink or peach but now you can find a carnation in pretty much any colour, as well as striped and variegated varieties.
The name carnation is thought to originate from either the Roman word ‘corone’, meaning ‘flower’, or the Latin word ‘caro’, meaning ‘flesh’, which was the colour of the first varieties. Carnations are one of those flowers whose meaning varies greatly according to colour. Red, as always, signifies love, white has the traditional meaning of innocence and purity, and pink signifies affection. Think twice though about gifting purple or yellow carnations; purple symbolizes fickleness and yellow signifies disdain or rejection!
Snowdrops are one of the earliest flowers to appear in late Winter, making them an obvious choice of birth flower for January. For me snowdrops always bring a positive, hopeful feel to the Winter garden, providing the first whisper of the Spring that is just around the corner. No surprise then that their meaning is one of hope, rebirth and a positive future.
It hasn’t always been a cheery tale for snowdrops though. Apparently they used to be thought of as bringing bad luck because they always seemed to grow in graveyards. I think I’ll stick to the modern meaning! A pot of snowdrops makes a lovely gift at this time of year, they will flower happily indoors and can be planted out into the garden after flowering for a Spring display in following years.
Two very well-known birth flowers in January, aren’t they? Snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers so I know which one I’d go for this month, how about you?