Edited by Lynne Hand
Many flowers have important symbolic meanings in Western culture, and the practice of assigning meanings to flowers is known as floriography. For example, red roses are often regarded as a symbol of love, beauty, and passion. Lilies are used in burials as a symbol referring to "resurrection/life". They are also associated with stars or the sun, with the petals blooming or shining.
Red poppies are a symbol of consolation in time of death, they are worn to commemorate soldiers who have died in times of war. In the UK in November you will see many people wearing artificial poppies on their clothes, they are also worn in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
When I was growing up I thought I knew all about poppies – in England they were red and in Wales they were very slightly smaller and bright, egg yolk yellow. Since then I‘ve learnt differently of course. They come in almost every shade including sky blue. They appear all over my garden, especially in the vegetable beds where they pop up among the cabbages and leeks, pushing aside the leaves of lettuces and give shade to the strawberries. They seed so profusely of course that I’ll never be able to get rid of them, so I just let them grow and enjoy their fleeting beauty.