“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”
— Stevie Wonder
Flowers are a thoughtful gift for many occasions but especially Mother's Day, celebrated on the second Sunday of May in most counties around the world (May 14, 2023) and on the fourth Sunday of Lent (March 19, 2023) in the U.K. So which blooms should you choose for the matriarchs in your life? Giving flowers to one’s mother is seen as a way of expressing how much you care about them and expressing your gratitude for everything they have done. Beyond birth mothers, the same sentiments can be expressed through flowers to adoptive mothers, step-mothers, mothers-in-law, god-mothers, or even a friend who is a new mother. Everyone appreciates a gift of flowers, so why not spread the love on this meaningful and joyful occasion?
The tradition of sending flowers to mothers on Mother's Day dates back to Victorian England when it became fashionable to give tokens of appreciation or thanks on the day itself. Later on in the United States, Anna Jarvis initiated the modern holiday of Mother's Day in 1908 after her mother passed away. She wanted to honour her mother with something special and started holding carnations (her mother's favourite flower) during an annual ceremony dedicated in her mother’s memory. She also sent 500 white carnations to the mothers in attendance at her church. Since then, carnations have become traditionally associated with Mother’s Day. Their name, incidentally, comes from the root word “coronation,” as ancient Athenians used them to create crowns. If mother is your “queen,” carnations are an excellent choice.
Though every country has its own traditions for celebrating the holiday, throughout history flowers remain one of the most common gifts given in honour of mothers around the world. Let's explore some of the most beloved blooms given as gifts on this special occasion, and flower styling tips for those crafting their own floral bouquets.
HOW TO CHOOSE FLOWERS FOR MOTHER'S DAY
Fleurs de Villes co-founder Tina Barkley shares two easy tips for those planning on styling their own bouquets. First, stick to all one kind of flowers, such as multiple bunches of tulips or peonies, which make a big impact, and come into season in spring. Or for those who prefer to add more variety, Tina's advice is to stick to one colour, such as an all white bouquet made up of roses, freesia, snapdragons, and Queen Anne’s lace.
The rose is the most popular flower for Mother’s Day. It symbolizes love and appreciation, making it the perfect gift to express how much you care about your mother. In addition, roses come in a variety of colours that can represent different meanings—deep pink, for example, denotes gratitude and appreciation. In addition, yellow roses are believed to represent a caring nature, while white roses are associated with purity and brightness.
Lilies are often given at christenings or other special occasions to symbolize purity and innocence. The Day Lily, an Asian emblem for mothers, is famous for its beautiful appearance and symbolic association with motherhood and Mother’s Day. They come in a variety of bright colours, including vivid oranges and yellows, but the white version of the flower is most common and conveys a sense of admiration and respect, making it an ideal gift for Mother’s Day.
Azaleas, aside from being a renowned Chinese symbol for womanhood, the azalea flower is also celebrated annually by cultures all over the world for its beauty and association with love.
Tulips are also popular on Mother’s Day for their bright, cheerful colours and soft petals. Red tulips symbolize love, while pink ones represent admiration.