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.