Friday, 10 January 2014

Flowers anyone?

 
 
 
Nearly everybody I know has a favourite flower. One of mine is orchids, especially moth orchids, which are about the only indoor plant I seem to be able to keep alive.

Another is sweet peas which I adore for the perfume as much as their colours. They are also the perfect size for a small vase of flowers to grace a table. I also love anything that flowers in the blue and purple shades. Plumbago, jacaranda, agapanthus,


blue hydrangea and petunias,

 that’s just to name a few of the blue and purple flowers in my garden.
 

But what about in writing? Have you ever thought about giving your character a favourite flower? People's likes in flowers can reveal so much about them. In Streets on a Map, Laila’s father had a passion for roses, in particular the Mr Lincoln, which I admit I also adore. Though I do not have one growing in this garden, I have in past gardens. In Sandstone Madonna , the novel  I am currently working an autistic boy has a passion for daffodils.

It made me think of a boy I knew years ago. He loved poppies. Why? Who knows? Maybe they were a reminder to him of something someone who loved him had grown? Maybe because they are so fragile. One gust of wind and all the petals are blown off. For a foster child who was shuffled from place to place that could very well describe his life.

Someone else I knew once dug all the yellow daffodils that the previous owner had planted in the lawn out. She replaced them with white daffodils. To me that sounds just the sort of quirk that could be used effectively for a character.  That was something too good to lose.

Another friend of mine likes sunflowers. To her they are big and bright and cheerful. As far as I’m, concerned, sunflower seeds are only good for putting in a muesli mix. To me, sunflowers are bold and brash.

In The Lost Hours, a recent book I read by Karen White, the woman had learned a lot about gardening from a friend. When her granddaughter went blind, this woman created a garden based not by colour but by perfume. What a great idea I thought as I read the book. It revealed something about the character that created the garden as well as the love she had for her granddaughter. I could almost smell that garden  

So next time you’re writing a character ask yourself what is their favourite flower? What else might they have in their garden?

Maybe they like cactus? I’m not a lover of cactus bit I do have one that I inherited from my mum. Isn't it beautiful when it flowers? It’s like it’s made of tapestry.


I’d love to hear about your favourite flower or one you have used effectively in a novel or found that struck you in a book you have been reading. Please share it with us all.
 
Dale writes fiction and poetry. Her latest novel Streets on a Map is currently available as an E book. She has also written children’s books, bible studies, Sunday school material, devotionals, and articles about marriage, home and Christian living. She is currently at work on a new novel, titled Sandstone Madonna.


19 comments:

  1. Thanks, Dale--especially for the beautiful photos. I hadn't thought of mentioning my main character's flower preference before, so will remember that idea for the future. As for my own preferences, like you, I love any purple-toned flower, but would still say roses are my favourites.

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    1. Glad I gave you something to think about. I think Roses are the favourites of a lot of people.

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  2. If you put in a novel that a character dug up all the yellow daffodils and replaced them with white, I'd think that was an excellent example of showing, not telling (and that your character has some serious issues).

    And your neighbour did that? Scary.

    BTW, I'm another one who loves blue and purple flowers.

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    2. Yes, from a real event, Iola. It certainly does show something about the person. Blue and purple are calming colours in a garden I think.

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  3. Ahh, favourite flowers? It used to be a close-run thing for me between the heartsease and the snowdrop. But recently when I was looking at the Greek words and Hebrew allusions in Ephesians 6 in the Armour of God passage, I realised there were several flowers hidden there. Some of these still work symbolically in today's world:
    lilies / peace
    narcissus / righteousness
    almond blossom / watchful prayer
    manna ash flower / Word of God
    pomegranate blossom / helmet
    mustard flower / faith
    windflower / truth
    It's hard to pick amongst those seven for a new favourite, though the narcissus and the almond blossom are really hard to beat.

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    1. Trust you Annie to know the symbolic meanings of the flowers. Thanks for sharing them.

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  4. Lovely post, Dale and particularly enjoy all the photos. I especially love roses but have a big soft spot for gardenias. They were ever present near my front porch growing up as a kid so whenever I smell that gorgeous scent I'm taken back to my childhood. I actually have a few bushes bordering my driveway at home now.

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    1. Glad you liked it Ian. Gardenias for me fit in the same category as lavender. Hate it. But when they bring back memories that can change the way we feel about plants, which is why I have my one cactus. it reminds me of my mother..

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  5. I Love tulips I have no idea why but I just love how beautiful they are they make me happy. I also love Mr Lincoln and I to do not have one in this garden.

    After mum died I found a love for Gerbra's because there were so many in her casket arrangement which I got to keep and they are such happy flowers. I now have 3 in pots and they remind me of her. Its funny cos her favourite flower was the carnation due to the fact it didn't have pollen and she could have it inside unlike so many others. I think part of it was when she died mum and I had decided she would have the smelliest and most colourful flowers. (ok smelliest was my word) but she would have fragrant flowers cos she couldn't have them when she was alive and she would have loved the flowers and I think thats why I fell for the gerbras.

    When I moved in here I pulled out and cut down every lavender bush we had and when one comes back it gets the same treatment. I cant stand the smell as it makes me sick and gives me headaches.

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    1. I love gerberas too, Jenny. But lavender ugh! Like you it gives me a headache and makes me feel ill., so no lavender in my garden either.

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  6. Lavender is mine. I love its colour, fragrance and ease of growing. I'm the opposite to Jenny B, up above. I love its scent to help me relax, fall asleep and shake off stress.
    It might be nice to have a fiction novel, some day, based on people working in flower gardens and their preferences.

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    1. Interesting how we re all different. Have you read the book by Fiona McIntosh - The Lavender Keeper, Paula?

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  7. Fun post, Dale. I'm another lover of blue flowers.

    Our corner house is bordered on two sides by agapanthus borders. My boys hate them because they're the ones who have to dead head the garden at summer's end. To tease them, I've promised I'll sneak around to wherever they live and plant agapanthus around their home as a wedding gift while they're on their honeymoon.

    They're not impressed. :)

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    1. Funny Dorothy. Our son has asked us fro some for his garden as he sees they are easy to grow. We only have blue ones.

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  8. Dale, lovely post :) My favourite flowers are roses, followed closely by tulips. My love for tulips has grown since moving to Canberra and being spoilt by having the Floriade tulip festival on our doorstep.

    The heroines in my romance stories all have a favourite flower, which the hero in the story will be aware of by the end of the story.

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    1. Yes, you would see lots of tulips in Canberra. they used to grow well in Orange too. Nice to know your heroines all have a favourite flower, Narelle.

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  9. Roses would have to be my favourites, especially those dark red ones. At a recent rose show saw some amazing new colours, including what is called "blue" rose although it did look closer to mauve. Perfume of flowers can also be used as "sensory" showing in our books - and have to confess not something I've actually done. However in Return to Baragula I did use a scene with the heroine trying to arrange daffodils for a church when the hero managed to send them flying when he burst into the room. Fun!

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    1. The Mr Lincoln is a dark red rose with an amazing perfume, Mary. A fun scene Mary with daffodils.

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