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Where I live in Northern California, clumps of daffodils trumpet spring’s arrival everywhere we look, walk, and drive. This morning I took two of my children to an abandoned nursery by our home filled with these flowers now growing wild. We picked two dozen for Grandma since it’s her birthday today. We added a simple ribbon around the stems and our simple gift was ready for its recipient.

Do you include flowers at the table when you plan a tea party or event? They also make a simple and beautiful hostess gift. Their freshness and simple intricacy provide a beauty to your tea table that cannot be replicated on the finest china. Flowers on the tea table can be used in a centerpiece, bud vase or as garnish. If the flower is placed near food, it is best to seek out organically-grown edible varieties. Examples of these include:

The Rose (Coral=Desire, Passion)

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The Pansy (Faithfulness)

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The Nasturtium (Patriotism)

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The Geranium (Gentility)

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These flowers represent only a few of the dozens of varieties of edible flowers available to enhance your event. A complete list can be found here. (Notice daffodils are one of the no-nos for eating; they should only be used as a table, not a food, decoration.)

With spring nearly upon us, the Victorian language of flowers could be used as a theme for your spring event. The Victorians practiced (at least in public) subtlety and decorum. Therefore, many elaborate codes were set-up to communicate with one another, especially the opposite gender. Flowers were filled with hidden meanings that were too intimate to be said out-loud.

While flowers can be purchased easily and inexpensively these days in the grocery store or farmer’s market, it can be very satisfying and thrifty to grow your own. This allows you to spontaneously add flowers or home-grown herbs to your kitchen creations for very little cost. You can also monitor the fertilizers, sprays, or anything else that would compromise their safety for yourself and others.

If you have not gardened successfully before, start small. I recommend one pot outside your back door in a sunny spot or a kitchen window that faces south. Learn what grows when. Did you know pansies, for example, are a cold-season annual and chrysanthemums are often the latest bloomers of all in late summer/early fall? Choose three different flowers and two different herbs for a beginning kitchen garden. Start a pot of a geranium, rosemary, basil, nasturtium, and carnation plant once your harsh weather has passed and you will be supplied with edible flowers and garnish throughout the spring and summer.

Of course, one does not have to host an event to enjoy the simple beauty of fresh flowers. A small bouquet placed on your bedside table, in your bathroom, or next to your computer is well worth the pleasure it brings. I have met women who find flowers impractical. “They just die! Why spend the time and money?” And yet, practicality can rob our souls of the poetry and magic life’s little treasures provide.

Are you a gardener? Do you grow any of your own flowers? Would you offer any advice to us novices? Please leave your comments below.