Heavenly Horticulture

by Barbara Lee on March 3, 2013

Flowers have their own language and lore.  The Victorians loved to send “secret messages” within a bouquet to express love or friendship during a time of strict moral codes.   Early Christians used flowers to represent religious meaning in their teachings to illustrate a point since the majority of their followers were illiterate.  The most famous being the clover used by St. Patrick to represent the Holy Trinity.

Do you seek the religious meaning of nature?  Do you believe there is one?  I have taken this Lenten Season to compile a list of flowers with a Christian Connection.  You decide.

large pinkHellebores are often known as the Lenten Rose due to their flowering during the Christian season of Lent. These early bloomers are the harbingers of spring but they also represent the scourging of Jesus.  The radial filaments symbolize the crown of thorns, the top three stigmas, the three nails, and the lower five anthers, the five wounds.


crown of thornsCrown of Thorns, native to Madagascar, it was brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ. It is thought that his crown of thorns worn during the crucifixion was made from the stems of this plant. Though difficult to handle, the plant can be entwined into a circle.



white lilliesWhite Lillies represent the purity of the Virgin Mary. One story goes that when Mary’s tomb was opened to show Thomas that she ascended into Heaven, the tomb was filled with lilies. The sacred flowers are often surrounding Mary in Medieval paintings.



pomegranitePomegranates symbolize resurrection and eternal life. The seeds represent the believers in the church. They also mean Christ bursting forth from the tomb.




bleedingheartBleeding Hearts are another spring bloom. With arching stems that hold a series of heart-shaped flowers, they represent the sufferings of Jesus crucified on the cross.





columbinesColumbines, thought to resemble a dove, are associated with the Holy Spirit. Its name is derived from the Latin “columba” which means dove. The seven blossoms on a stalk represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.




grapesGrapes represent the blood of Christ, a vineyard the mission field, and a grapevine a reference to Christ.







And a few other tidbits:

Daisy, innocence of the Christ Child

Acacia, the soul’s immortality because of the wood’s durability

Dandelion, one of the bitter herbs a symbol of Christ’s Passion

Fern, it conceals its beauty in the depths of the forest representing humility in solitude

Olive, universal symbol of peace

White rose, purity

Red rose, martyrdom

The next time you walk through a garden, listen carefully, the flowers might be talking to you.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dane Struthers March 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Thanks Barbara, I really enjoyed your post.


rosanne March 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Thanks, I passed this on to the person at church that does our flower arrangements as well as our minister. Very interesting!


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