Like you birthstone and star sign, birth flowers depend on the month in which you were born? These are the two birth flowers most often associated with August.
With their tall spikes of glorious flowers in purple, white, yellow, and even green, gladioli make a bright and elegant addition to a bouquet or border. Gladiolus is the Latin for “little sword”, and its common name is sword lily, because of its leaf shape. However, the plant is mainly known by its scientific name. There are around 300 species, the vast majority native to central and southern Africa. The first South African species were brought to Britain in the mid-eighteenth century, and soon breeders were hard at work producing countless hybrids. This process continues today, with science now making it possible to insert genes into the corms and create more disease-resistant gladioli with new colours and scents. The gladiolus is also one of the two birth flowers for August, symbolising honesty and strength of personality. It is also commonly given on fortieth wedding anniversaries.
Let but my scarlet head appear
And I am held in scorn;
Yet juice of subtle virtue lies
Within my cup of curious dyes.
Christina Rossetti, Consider the lilies of the field
The poppy’s symbolism is double-edged: it stands for sleep and repose, but also for intoxication and death. Each of those poppies in the Flanders fields is the soul of a departed soldier, and in The wizard of Oz, Dorothy is lulled to sleep by a sinister field of these flowers. And yet it’s hard to think of this dark side when you see acres of nodding scarlet poppies on the railway embankment during your morning commute. They’re not just red, either: think of the glowing orange California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, or the extraordinary Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis betonicifolia.
January: Carnation or snowdrop
February: Violet or primrose
March: Daffodil or jonquil
April: Daisy or sweet pea
May: Lily of the valley or hawthorn
June: Rose or honeysuckle
July: Larkspur or water lily
August: Gladiolus or poppy
October: Calendula or cosmos
December: Narcissus (paperwhite) or holly