Today is the first day of May, or May Day. Since I haven’t found an opportunity to dance around a maypole, I’ll present this flower-themed ThThTh to you as a sort of virtual May basket.
a bunch of flowers
“April showers bring May flowers.” An expression that makes reference to the frequency of rain in the month of April (in the Northern hemisphere, at least), and the Spring flowers that benefit from the watering. It has the meaning “Some unpleasant occurrences bring about better things.”
Flower children: a term for hippies, based on their tendencies to wear flowers as symbols of peace and love.
Victorian Language of Flowers. A means of sending messages during the Victorian era. Specific flowers or colors of flowers had specific meanings attached for the recipient to decode. For example, a lobelia meant “malevolence” and a morning glory meant “love in vain.”
(s)he loves me, (s)he loves me not: a tradition of plucking the petals off a flower to determine whether one is loved. For each petal, the plucker alternates saying, eg. “he loves me” and “he loves me not.” The final petal, and which of the two phrases is slated to be spoken as it is plucked, establishes or refutes the love being questioned.
“Roses are Red.” A short poem (with many variants), sometimes used in Valentine’s Day cards. For example:
Roses are red, violets are blue
Honey is sweet, and so are you.
I like this one better:
American Beauty (1999) A movie with Kevin Spacey, which features rose gardening. It also has the famous dream scene with Mena Suvari in a pile of rose petals. (Why did I think it was Heather Graham? I guess it’s been a while.) American Beauty is also the name of a variety of roses¹
“Edelweiss” A song about the small white Alpine flower that is widely believed to be a traditional folksong, but was actually written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical “The Sound of Music.”
Roses are red, violets are blue
Some poems rhyme
But this one doesn’t
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
El Seed from the animated Tick series. A megavillain who is an anthropomorphic sunflower. (The name is a play on El Cid.)
Certain poppies are used to produce opiates (opium and heroine). Poppies also have a drugging effect in the field of poppies from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her companions (at least those that are mammals) are drugged to sleep when they enter a field of poppies. (Here’s the corresponding book chapter.)
The Orchid Thief: A non-fiction book by Susan Orlean about a man who illegally collects rare wild orchids. The movie Adaptation (2002) is in part about this story, and in part about the process of adapting a book into a screenplay.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Gregory Maguire‘s second novel for adults². This reinterpretation of the Cinderella fairytale is set in 17th century Holland during the peak (and then crash) of the tulip craze.
Carnation: In the Avengers series, Steed would typically wear a carnation in his buttonhole. Characters in various fictional stories, especially spy stories, will wear a red carnation in order that they may be identified by someone who doesn’t otherwise know their appearance.
“Dennis Moore,” the Monty Python episode where a bumbling Robin Hood-type character steals lupins from the rich to give to the poor. “Your lupins or your life!”
¹ There are so many rose-related things out there, including several fairy tale rose references, that I could easily do a list just of roses. I probably will at some point down the line. Consider this a token rose for now.)
² He had written several young adult/kids’ novels before writing Wicked.)
flower images: source