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You were expecting a book review.

Too bad. Today we’re talking about flowers. Because it’s the middle of January. Perfect timing. Clearly.

Today I found out about the red spider lily.

They’re poisonous. Eaten or touched. Relatively immune to pests and disease. They’re funky, they’re gorgeous, and more importantly, they symbolize final farewells.

It’s a death flower.

It’s called the “corpse flower,” but also the “red magic lily.” Something so spectacularly strange–if you received one only once in your life as a gift, how could you ever forget?

Photo by Santiago Sauceda Gonzu00e1lez on

Marigolds. I’ve known them since I was a little girl. The round, puffy flowers, the hollow stems, bright oranges and yellows. They’re as cottagecore as mushrooms and every bit as comforting.

They symbolize creative passion and happiness. A good flower for musicians, I think. They’re known for keeping away insect pests, but less well known, they’re also said to repel fairies, much like iron does.

Still don’t know why.

It’s only fair to include a flower fairies like in our bouquet, then.

I read ages ago in researching a story (which still remains unfinished on a thumbdrive) that while fairies love sweet foods, best of all is saffron. It’s a spice, though you may know it as a color, and it’s made from the saffron crocus.

I remember searching the grass, waiting for the first crocus to open in spring. Tulips and daffodils push their green shoots up first, but crocuses are the first to bloom, purple and white and yellow.

Red spider lily is the flower of death. Spring crocus is youth and rebirth. It suits the ageless fair folk, in a way.

Calendula was another I discovered for a story. I wanted a yellow flower, and there it was, cheerfully greeting me. There’s a character associated with it. So often when I think of it, I find myself smiling, remembering him sitting on the grass, spade and overturned earth and little pots of springy, happy flowers.

Calendula is edible. And good for just about everything, so they say. I’m not even going to list things because there are too many. Ancient healing flower.

I can’t find a clear meaning for calendula. In India, it’s a wedding flower. Sometimes it’s a happy thing, this flower, sometimes it’s a thing of grief. Sometimes it’s as sunny as a marigold. Sometimes it means sympathy.

For me, it’s a friend.

Photo by Fuzail Ahmad on

I read somewhere that no one asks boys what flowers they like nearly enough. I imagine that’s a fair statement to make. The answer that time when I was reading was sunflowers, so now I think of that when I think of them, too.

That same character with the calendula, I started wondering if sunflowers were what he liked best too. But he seems to have a whole garden of flowers in my mind–calendula, sunflowers, daisies. All the bright, cheerful ones.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on

Asters are for faithfulness. Star-flowers. So simple, but almost as if they know something we do not.

Same flower, a few days apart. Pink hyacinth. Filled the whole garrett room with its perfume. I had two that year, one blue, one pink. One is planted in the cold, damp earth outside, waiting for spring. The other is still in my window. I drew back the curtain to find its little green shoot poking out of last year’s dead leaves.

Sometimes a flower is a perfect gift.

I am waiting too. Waiting to see what color the one in my window will be. It has been so long I am not sure which is which. I think it might be the pink.

One cannot think of a bouquet without roses, whatever Kvothe of The Kingkiller Chronicle might say. And these are special, because they were mine.

Eleven roses for my violin recital. The baby’s breath dried nicely and is now sprouting from the top of my baby Groot planter.

It’s a special thing, to have a bouquet when you perform. Very special. A cellist I know had a sunflower for hers. But the roses suit me.

It was quite a night, roses in one arm, violin case in the other. I hope the next one like it is better still.

I don’t have to tell you what roses mean. We’re readers, we know. The romantic imagery has been stamped into our minds until it has become as common as dandelions and just as unwanted.

I still love them.

Either way, I’ve tricked you into learning some new flowers. Perhaps you’ll fill your writing with them. Perhaps I’ve brought you some color on a cold winter day.

Today was supposed to be a book review day.

My last review got six likes. That’s all.

I’ve come to a conclusion.

If no one’s paying attention, I’m done trying too hard. Spending too much time thinking about what people might like, scuttling for public approval. From now on, I write what I like.

If nobody’s listening, I can say whatever I want.

I think it’s going to be better.


4 responses to “Bouquet”

  1. I don’t know how, I don’t know where, I don’t know when, but red spider lilies are going in the next story I write.
    I love hyacinths (they are in a current story, actually) and I didn’t know about calendulas before, thank you!

    I like both book reviews and flower reviews and I hope writing whatever the heck you want works out great. I’m pleased, anyway, clearly. 😛 (Writing whatever the heck I want has always been my blogging philosophy, and it definitely hasn’t made me a famous blogger with a gazillion followers, but I’ve had fun, so hey.)

    Liked by 1 person

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