12 January 2014

( understanding the elegant language of flowers throughout the year )

portraits of nature
( understanding the elegant  language of flowers throughout the year )
by “porcupine pat” mckinney

“(i’ve got some) red roses for a blue lady,” is an old 1940s tune sung by many performers, including andy williams. the lyrics speak to the listener through the color red—and also the rose itself—and is symbolic of a language that flowers and plants can convey for both sender and receiver. blue shades play a role, too.

focusing on flowers, these beauties convey thoughtful messages, intriguing mystery, and showcase creativity all from a “language of flowers” that harkens back to victorian times. sometimes the message is easily understood, but it can also take days for the recipient to comprehend its meaning.

the 2011 book the secret language of flowers by samantha gray gives attention to this subject in great detail and is a fiction that keeps this language alive in a world where few today might realize the meaning behind giving different flowers to others.

professional florists, such as petal pushers of pottstown, can lend a hand by creating a themed bouquet that can help you to address whatever message you want to relate to a friend, family member, or romantic interest. it is important to note that a lot of meaningful flowers and plants can also be grown in your backyard or even found in a vacant lot ! also, keeping flowers in growing form versus cut has some deeper meaning to consider.

 ( this moss (maternal love) photo is by ''porcupine pat'' mckinney, taken 
at an old canal lock in port clinton, schuylkill county )

( tiger lily - wealth; pride )
start the new year off right by sending plants to those your care about very much. places like ott’s exotic plants in schwenksville has a beautiful selection of indoor plants, and when it warms up outside, glick’s greenhouse in oley offers plenty of herbs, perennials, and annuals for sharing in gardens and flower pots. care can be shown well through the kind gift-giving of plants.

here is another example: a relative is applying for a job but needs encouragement for the job interview. let flowers and plants help ! that relative could then receive a bouquet that includes chamomile (energy in adversity), hollyhock (ambition), and basil (good wishes).

here are some flowers and plants with their interpretations from the language of flowers:  excerpted from kate greenaway’s the language of flowers (1885), with flower photo content from thelanguageofflowers.com

•    alyssum  – worth beyond beauty
•    amaryllis – pride, timidity, splendid beauty
•    carnation – woman’s love
•    chickweed – rendezvous
•    chrysanthemum (white only) – truth
•    coreopsis – always cheerful
•    daffodil – regard
•    fern – fascination
•    hibiscus – delicate beauty
•    honeysuckle – generous and devoted
•    hyacinth – sport, play
•    ivy – fidelity, marriage
•    lilac (purple) – first emotions of love
•    moss – maternal love
•    periwinkle (blue) – early friendship
•    primrose – early youth
•    rhubarb – advice
•    sage (garden) – esteem
•    shamrock – lightheartedness
•    tulip (red) – declaration of love
•    tulip (yellow) – hopeless love
•    violet (blue) – faithfulness

this list runs the gamut for opportunities for you to speak the language of flowers. the smile and joy that you know will be received makes it all worth the while, so enjoy communicating in this way !

( the philippines fundraiser and naneth castner’s stories of her homeland )

by jennifer hetrick

(this article is directly from the blog for weaver’s orchard—please visit the farm market’s website to find out more.)
originally from the philippines, naneth castner works in the bakery at weaver's orchard in robeson township, berks county. since the deadliest typhoon in recorded history for the country devastated its people in early november this autumn, weaver's orchard is fundraising to help those who have lost so much.

and castner's stories are a strong inspiration for how important it is to give and support others in hard times, to allow hearts to link in a humane way.

this fundraising campaign is benefitting samaritan's purse to filter monetary assistance back to the philippines. shopping in weaver's market in the second half of december supported the fundraiser in that 5 percent of all retail sales were contributed to this cause.

a way to donate directly is through samaritaran's purse and the weaver's orchard fundraising page you can find through the weaver’s orchard website, clicking the yellow box that says “donate.”

in an article released by bloomberg news in december, a figure of $8.2 billion was named for the latest projection of reconstruction costs for the philippines since typhoon haiyan (yolanda) swept through the country.

castner lived in the province of eastern samar in the philippines until the age of 22. in 2004, she moved to the united states. some things she misses most about where she grew up are the beach, coconuts, warm weather and swimming in the local river in the summertime.

while she enjoys spending her days contributing with her baking team in preparing pies, loaves of bread, muffins, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats, one detail she misses about her homeland is the caring and close relationships of her culture with neighbors, all revolving around food.

“i miss the culture where i can just go to our neighbors’ yards and pick some vegetables,” castner says. she describes it as an amiable give and take situation. “we can borrow things without hesitation. i can borrow small things like a needle, you know, small stuff, or if we run out of rice, or if i need a clove of garlic, i could just run to our neighbor.”

castner notes that neighbors offer leftovers willingly and help out in any way they can in supporting each other.

“if we sometimes prepare more food than what we need for a meal, we share it with neighbors as well,” she says. “that's the most difficult thing for me to adjust to living here in america—you may have a very nice neighbor, but it's still kind of a distant relationship. if you run out of things, you need to go to the grocery store.”

castner's immediate family lives several hours away from one of the worst-hit areas, tacloban city, but even so, the damage and destruction still made an indelible impact in the area where she grew up. and emergency aid is not necessarily reaching towns on the outskirts of ground zero-designated areas hit in the worst concentration by the typhoon.

( this photo is courtesy of naneth castner )

she has three sets of relatives who resided in tacloban city and survived but lost a lot from the typhoon. since she studied school in the city for several years, she has a good number of friends there as well. seeing pictures they posted online of their homes and neighborhoods showed her how bad it truly had become, as many of them had lost their homes.

her father farms bananas, coconuts, pineapples and some tropical vegetables, but the primary source of income in her home region is copra, which she describes as the dried meet or kernel of coconut—an integral commodity in her country.

castner's father's crops were wiped out by the typhoon. she explains that copra takes 10 years of growing before it can be harvested.

"farmers who grew copra are so devastated, so now they don't know where get money to feed their families," she says.

“the day before the typhoon, my father had turned 70, so because of this, my family and relatives gathered to celebrate the event,” she adds.

even her sister who lives several hours away in victoria, northern samar ventured to see everyone but fortunately made it home in time before the weather turned for the worse.

castner says she reaches out to her sister most often to keep in touch because phone and internet signals near her father’s home are not very good.

after hearing about the typhoon on the news, it took castner several days to be able to get word back from her relatives in the philippines about whether or not they were okay and what had happened to them.

"every time i turned on the news, it was all about the typhoon in the philippines," castner says. "I couldn't sleep for a few nights; sometimes i just cried at work, but my co-workers are so nice, though. they lift up my spirits all the time."

she eventually discovered that her father had remained safe during the typhoon and that while he lost his crops, he roof was left partially intact.

her father had sent her oldest brother, who resides in manila, to drive to see if her sister and brother-in-law in victoria were okay. what normally took a five-hour drive took him more than eight hours on the road.

so much debris littered the road, and her brother barely recognized where he was in trying to reach their sister who fortunately had been alright and only sustained minimal damage at her home.

"my sister gathered food and medicine to send back to my dad's place. i was worried about my brother going home because i heard some rumors that there were groups of looters who take all your food and whatever you have. they said it was a group of a gangs and some were NPAs—a rebel group.”

her brother fortunately made it back safely, without trouble.

“i hope that after people read my stories, it will urge them to give donations to the victims,” castner says.

“i feel so blessed. i am very thankful that they are doing this for my country,” castner reflects on weaver’s orchard doing this fundraiser after hearing about her loved ones back home through her own talks with them.

castner says her own immediate family is not who needs help the most, but her other relatives who lost their homes and incomes, and so many like them, are in the most devastating times of their lives.

“there are more people who will need it the most,” castner says about help and in hoping those who visit weaver’s orchard and know the market well will donate in any way they can.

weaver’s orchard is located at 40 fruit lane, morgantown, pa 19543.

visit www.weaversorchard.com or call 610.856.7300.