Sentiments in flowers

Artemisia absinthium ~ la fée verte” (the green fairy)

By | Fun stuff!, Language of Flowers, Sentiments in flowers | No Comments

There is so much to learn when it comes to the use of flowers and plants throughout history.  Not only the language and symbolism of plants and flowers, but also the medicinal and culinary uses of virtually every plant you can think of.  Artemisia absinthium is one of those notorious plants that have been associated with everything from witchcraft to divine healing and everything between.  In the language of flowers, Artemisia absinthium, also known as Wormwood or Absinthe, have several meanings;

absence, not to be discouraged, affection, bitterness, comfort, protection for travelers

Now, let’s break down these meanings –I love doing this, it’s amusing!

absence; yes, after consuming ‘the green fairy’ drink of Absinthe, you will become absent (from your mind?) and/or according to La Fontaine (the French poet and man of letters), absinthe is the worst of all evils. Therefore, artemisia was chosen to be an emblem of absence.

not to be discouraged; I’m not sure about this one, but perhaps eludes to the fact you’re super happy when you’re sipping absinthe

affection; you could become very affectionate toward others, again, after it’s consumption

bitterness; it’s a very bitter drink, as no sugar is added, which makes it not a liqueur, but a spirit.  Wormwood is the bitterest herb known and it’s symbolic association is with ~bitterness of spirit

comfort; it’s a body-warmer.  The alcohol content in Absinthe is 45-74% (!!)

protection for travelers; wormwood has long been considered protection from disease for travelers.  A recent article from World Health Organization recommends artemisia in low-doses as protection from malaria.  Artemisia is now cultivated in east Africa as a low cost and effective alternate to other costly pharmaceuticals for prevention of malaria

An 18th century French physician living in Switzerland created the plant-based all-purpose remedy. But absinthe as a casual drink soon caught on with distilleries in Switzerland and France. The three ingredients in absinthe are wormwood, licorice-flavored green anise and sweet fennel. Wormwood has a compound in it called thujone, which in high quantities can make one convulse and have a heart attack, but there’s only small trace amounts of it in absinthe, therefore it’s considered relatively safe. But, this is the reason absinthe, at one point, was banned all over Europe and U.S. Still today, absinthe is still a drink that strikes fear into the heart of many a spirit lover. During the days of La Belle Epoque, absinthe acquired a reputation as the mind altering choice of drink for Van Gogh, Zola, Rimbaud, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and a host of other bohemian artists and writers in Paris.

The ‘Lady Wings Absinthe Set, available from

Absinthe isn’t for the faint of heart, but in moderation it can be enjoyed just like any other spirit. Traditionally, it’s served à la Parisienne — an elaborate ritual centered around an absinthe fountain, which is an ornate jar with spigots, resting on stand.  From this, ice-cold water is dripped through a sugar lump perched on a slotted spoon lying on the rim of a glass of absinthe. The moment the water is added the spirit turns cloudy.

Absinthe is enjoying a renaissance with many small, family-run distilleries blending their botanicals in the traditional absinthe heartlands of Switzerland and France.


Valentine’s Day

By | Sentiments in flowers | No Comments

Every year, my heart starts doing flips mid-January in anticipation of the biggest floral holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day.  There is just no other way to describe the holiday from a florist’s point of view other than chaos.  However, it’s a beautiful chaos.  The shop is fills up with so much glorious beauty and it’s timing is perfect- just when we need respite from the long winter days.  I love to see beautiful flowers start to show up from our local farms, markets and wholesalers this time of year.  It’s a breath of fresh air and such anticipation of the upcoming spring days fills our hearts.  Even when I’m slinging bouquets and on my feet for 12-14 hours straight, I cannot help but melt when I see the sweetness of Valentine blooms.

This is the Superbowl of flower giving and I love how the Language of Flowers comes in to play so heavily during Valentine’s Day.  There are so many flowers, plants and herbs that have appropriate sentiments for giving beautiful gifts of Posies!

th Ranunculus; charming in attractions, rich in affections

How perfect is that?  What a sweet and diverse flower!  We use Ranunculus in both sweet Posies–one that you could give your daughter, mother or friend, and a passionate Posy-one that you could give to a lover, partner or secret crush 🙂


An aerial view of the Simplement l’amour Posy.  This Posy is a passionate Posy and includes Rananculus to mean radiant with charms, and rich with affection both, as well as Myrtle for love and passion and Oregano for joy and happiness.  

th-1 Sweet Pea for delicate pleasures  92c60e5ca8e3e945707a8e287a73799e  and Tulips for Pink- love, Red- declaration of ardent love are perfect tokens of deeper affections and bonds of love between lovers. ooo-la la!


It’s easy for our customers to engage in the Language of Flowers when there are so many flowers to choose from that have beautiful sentiments such as these and many more.  We are looking forward to seeing our regular customers again this year who come searching for their favorite tokens of love. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

And remember, we’re here to help you win hearts at Bonny Doon Garden Company.  Shop online or in our store located inside New Leaf Market on the Westside of Santa Cruz.


Let the Pros do it!

By | In the garden, Sentiments in flowers | 3 Comments

Last Sunday I had a professional photographer come up to the garden to shoot some shots of a couple of Posies.  I made two, both Valentine themed, at the request of a media opportunity for a story geared to spawn some unique alternatives for Valentine flowers–something other than red roses! And thank you Debra Prinzing and Slowflowers for the opportunity to submit my Posies!

I also wanted to use the opportunity to grab some great shots for my book proposal.  And that I did!  Thank you so much Danyelle Dee Photography!

The images are just glorious, shot with a great eye.  We had just finished off three days of rain, so the garden and air were newly washed with vibrant color.  Oh so beautiful…

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