If you have a birthday in August, you're in luck because this month has not one birth flower but two!
First up, gladioli. In ancient Rome, victorious gladiators were showered in gladioli flowers. Said to symbolise strength, honour and integrity, gladioli are still sometimes given to sporting champions today. They’re named from the Latin word “gladius” meaning sword and can also symbolise infatuation as it’s said that the tall flower stems pierce the heart with love.
Part of the Iris family, gladioli originate in South Africa and thrive in many parts of the world, blooming in a multitude of colours.
Historically they were also used in medicine for healing wounds, removing splinters and treating colic.
Gladioli are a real statement flower and make an impressive centrepiece all on their own, just choose a tall vase to make the most of their height.
Next up, from seeds sprinkled on bread rolls to opium and morphine, there is more to this simple flower than meets the eye. The poppy. Growing all over the world, the poppy has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. By Sumerians and Ancient Egyptians, traded on the Silk Road before being at the centre of two opium wars in the 1800’s, first between Great Britain and the Chinese Qing Dynasty and later, Great Britain and France against China.
Medicinally, the poppy has given us morphine and codeine, two powerful pain relieving drugs which both originate from the plant.
The poppy flower is symbolic of peaceful sleep and messages in dreams, imagination, success and, perhaps most famously, remembrance.
Poppies grow well in even the most inhospitable environments and pollinators love them, so if you have a spare patch of ground why not grow some, they’ll look pretty and who knows, you might start receiving messages in your dreams!