Calla lily closeup

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Hydrangeas, silk or otherwise are the symbol of the 4th Wedding Anniversary. They are also traditional gifts on Mother’s Day in many parts of Europe.

Meaning ~ Either Boastfulness and Vanity or Sincerely heartfelt.

Hydrangea is derived from the Greek ‘hydor’ meaning water and ‘angos’ meaning water barrel. This refers to the plants’ need for plenty of water and it’s cup shaped flowers.

But although this site is obsessed with hydrangeas, lets take a look at the other popular flowers, their ‘anniversaries’ and meanings!

Calla Lily. ~ 6th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Beauty

The Calla Lily is originally from South Africa, the area it was grown in has a steady temperature, rainy seasons, dry seasons. It is not clear when the Calla came to Europe but an illustration from a Royal Garden Party in Paris, 1664, shows that it was grown in Europe then. And hs since become a popular flower for funerals and weddings and while spreading across the world it became popular with artists, the color and form being appealing to the eye of the beholder. The single Calla Lily in a tall, sleek white vase is considered an interior classic.

Chrysanthemum ~ 13th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Optimism and joy.

Chrysanthemum is derived from the Greek prefix ‘chrys’, meaning golden and ‘anthemum’, meaning flower.

The Chrysanthemum has a history that dates back to the 15th century BC. and was thought to be a symbol of the sun by the Japanese. They considered the exact unfolding of the petals to represent ‘perfection’.

It is said that just one petal placed at the bottom of a wine glass will bring a long and healthy life.

Daffodil ~ 10th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Rebirth, new beginnings, respect.

The earliest record of the Daffodil was in the 3rd Century BC They originally came from the Mediterranean and the Middle East and the ancient Greeks grew them everywhere. They were also greatly prized by the Romans who thought their sap had healing qualities and brought them across Europe to Britain.

In between the dark ages and the 16th century these lovely flowers were relegated to the wild until the early 1600s when an English botanist took them from the scrub and nutured them in his garden. The rest is history.

Gardenia ~ 3rd Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Secret joy, purity and love.

Alexander Garden was born near Aberdeen in Scotland and arrived in America in the 1750s. He was a physician and planter, he also owned a plantation called Yeshoe where he grew Indigo and produced dye for export to England. He was also a naturalist and collected plants for scientific scrutiny so in 1781 when John Ellis received a specimen of the new plant from China he named it after his friend Dr Garden.

This wonderful fragrant smelling plant took Europe and the colonies by storm. People of elegant fashion wore them on the bodices of chic gowns, in their hair and even had them floating in exotic cocktails.

But about the same period colonists became dissatisfied with King George 111 and after the Revolutionary War, Alexander Garden left his family, his Gardenia plants and the Carolinas and died in London in 1791.

Gerbera ~ 75th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Innocence and beauty.

This delightful daisy like flower is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family. It was named in honor of the German naturalist Trougatt Gerber and has approximately thirty species in the wild. It may bear the name of the German naturalist but the real credit for discovering it goes to a Scotsman from Kilmarnock called Robert Jameson. In 1884 he was prospecting in the South African gold rush at a place called Barberton. The flower he found has the name ‘jamesonii’ or the Barberton Daisy and is the third most popular cut flower. But it was not until the end of the century that breeding of the plants started in Cambridge in the UK when two South African species were crossed by J. I. Lynch. He named the hybrid Gerbera.

Gladiolus ~ 40th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Strength and moral integrity.

Gladiolus is derived from the Latin meaning ‘sword’, because of it’s long pointed leaves.

The Gladiolus is said to have represented the Roman Gladiators. In Ancient Britain they used the corms/bulbs as a poultice for drawing out thorns and a mixture of goats milk and powered corms was a favourite remedy for colic. They really became popular across Europe in the 18th century when large quantities were exported from South Africa.

Iris ~ 24th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Faith, valour, wisdom.

The Iris mythology dates back to Ancient Greece, when the Goddess Iris, who symbolized the rainbow, acted as the link between heaven and earth. It was also said that purple Irises were planted on the graves of women to call forth the Goddess to guide them on their way to heaven.

In the Middle Ages the Iris became linked to the French Monarchy when it was recognized as their county’s national symbol, the Fleur- de- Lis.


Meaning ~ Devotion

Lavender is first mentioned in the Bible, not by that name but by the name ‘Spikenard’, from the Greek for lavender ‘naardus’, after the Syrian city Naarda. In the gospel of Luke……. ‘Then took Mary a pound of ointment of ‘spikenard’, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment’. The plant was also said to have been taken from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve. According to legend it was the clothing of the baby Jesus that gave the plant it’s scent, when Mary – his mother put them on the plant to dry. A cross made of lavender was often hung on Christian houses for protection against evil.

Lilly ~ 2nd Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ White Lilly ~ Chastity and virtue.
White Stargazer ~ Sympathy.
Pink Stargazer ~ Wealth and prosperity.

Lilly is derived from the the Greek word ‘leiron’ meaning admired /adored.

These beautiful flowers have played a role in Ancient mythology and date as far back as the 16th century BC, We know that because images of Lily’s were found in a villa in Crete. The lily was so adored by the Greeks that they believed that it arose from the milk of the Queen of the Gods, Hera.

Narcissus. ~ 10th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Chivalry

Narcissus is the name of the genus comprising of Narcissus, Daffodil and Jonquil. The famous Poets Daffodil for example is Narcissus Poeticus, it is called that purely because Linneaus, the man who devised all our botanical names, decided that a certain wild species with white petals and a small brightly colored center was the one that inspired the ancient tale of Narcissus and has been handed down to us by poets since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Narcissus was a youth who’s handsome good looks were given him by the Gods. But there was a catch, his beauty would be permanent and he would be immortal just as long as he never looked at his own reflection. One day when he was hunting, a wood nymph named Echo saw him and fell head over heels in love with him but he was not interested and she was ultimately consumed by her love until all that was left of her was her voice !!! The Gods were not pleased and the Goddess Nemesis lured Narcissus to a sparkling lake where he couldn’t resist gazing at his reflection and falling in love with himself. As he gazed the prediction came true and he simply faded away and in his place sprang up the flower that still bears his name.

Orchid. ~ 14th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Rare and delicate beauty.

Orchids have become the most coveted of ornamental plants. They are exotic, graceful and delicate and in Ancient Greece they were associated with fertility. Greek women believed if the father of their unborn child ate the large, new orchid tubors the child would be a boy and if the mother ate small tubors the child would be a girl.


Meaning ~ Good fortune, happy marriage.

This simply gorgeous lush round bloom has a history dating back thousands of years. There are at least two legends about this flower. One has it that the Peony is named after Peon, the physician to the Gods, he received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. Another tells the story that the same physician was ‘saved’ from the fate of dying as mortals do by being turned into the flower we know today as the ‘Peony’.


Meaning ~ Good cheer and success.

The Poinsetta is named after the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, he was also an amateur botanist and introduced the plant to the US in 1825.

Also known as the Christmas Star or Christmas Flower. It is said that this winter plant has the association with Christmas because of a Mexican legend. A poor Mexican child wanted to take a gift to the church at Christmas but had nothing, so she gathered weeds from the roadside to place on the altar on Christmas Eve. That night the congregation witnessed a miracle as they watched the weeds turn into brilliant red and green flowers.

Legend has it that it’s bracts resemble the flower of Bethlehem. Today you can find Poinsettas in shades of pink and cream as well as scarlet, decorating and delighting homes everywhere.

Roses ~ 15th wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Red Rose ~ I love you, enduring passion.
White Rose ~ Humility and Innocence.
Pink Rose ~ Grace and gentility.
Yellow Rose ~ Friendship and joy.

The ancient Greeks and Romans associated Roses with Venus and Aphrodite, Goddess of love. They have been used for hundreds of years to convey messages without words, they also represent confidentiality. In ancient Rome a rose was placed on the door of a room where confidential matters were taking place.

Tulip. ~ 11th Wedding Anniversary.

Meaning ~ Elegance and grace.
Yellow ~ Cheerful thoughts.
White ~ Forgiveness.
Purple ~ Royalty.

Tulips were originally a wild flower in Central Asia and first grown by the Turks as early as 1000AD. They became very popular in Europe but especially in Holland where botanists began to hybridize it to make it more decorative. By 1636 there was complete ‘Tulipmania’ in the country. A single bulb could cost more than a house. However, eventually over-production led to lower prices, this led to many people becoming bankrupt and losing their homes and businesses in the ‘Tulip Crash’.

Although different tulip colors have different meanings a Turkish legend may be responsible for the symbolism of the red tulip.

A handsome Prince named Farhad fell madly in love with a beautiful maiden called Shirin. But when he learned that Shirin had been killed he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself by riding his horse over the edge of a cliff. It is said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood – giving the flower the meaning of ‘perfect love’.

It is also thought that the black velvety center of the tulip represents the lovers heart, darkened by the heat of passion

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1 Response » to “Hydrangeas for the 4th Anniversary. What about the Others?”

  1. Jubileumboek says:

    Hi Lesley,
    Thank you for this interesting article. I didn’t know that flowers ‘belonged’ to a specific anniversary. I wonder what belongs to the 25th anniversary, that’s one of the most important here in the Netherlands.