Just in time for Valentines Day--pink and red geraniums, all vibrant and frilly. Who thinks of geraniums for Valentines Day? I sure didn't. At least, not until I walked into the greenhouse and found these these little lovelies blooming happily away. I can't resist their summer-like splendor in the midst of February, even on a day where roses are the standard and candy provides the finishing touch. Rather, pink geraniums convey "preference" and scarlet-hued blooms tell the beholder of them, "Your smile bewitches me!" Ahhhh, geraniums on Valentines Day are every bit as wonderful as roses and candy. After all, one in the hand is worth two in the bush, or several in the greenhouse, as the case may be.
The celebration of love on this day has many legends and beliefs associated with it and there really is a St Valentine, in fact, there are about three accounted for in history. One of those Valentines was a priest who was persecuted and martyred under ancient Roman rule for helping young men, destined to be Roman soldiers, secretly marry their sweetheart before they were sent off to the battlefields.
Garden folklore tells of this day as the one in which birds choose their mates. This tale, even in modern times, can probably be tied to the reason that flowers and small tokens of affection are given to loved ones in the name of St. Valentine. I can picture a pair of robins, building their springtime nest together and finding joy in tiny twigs and cotton fragments gathered from the nearby fields.
Geraniums are even connected in garden lore to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Throughout the world, there are gardens grown and cultivated in honor of her and geraniums are included in many of them where their "Marian" name is often referred to as "Beautiful Lady." That seems quite appropriate to me as I gaze upon their curvaceous leaves and plump petals, always so eager to share their light-heartedness and gaiety from even the confines of my humble little greenhouse any time of the year.
Geraniums may not be as elegant as even a single rose. Yet, in their own way, they convey affection and tenderness, and their "ruffled" appearance lets geraniums "walk in beauty like the night." Always resilient, they withstand heat in my summer-time garden, and offer tranquility in my winter-time home and seem comfortable in any setting.
Valentines Day speaks of love in so many ways with so many possibilities and geraniums, to me offer a fresh look to an age-old day of tenderness between loved ones of any kind. Their branching stems are like outstretched arms, sturdy, strong and always welcoming.
So, on this Valentines Day, among other things that mean so much to me, I ask myself, "How do I love thee, fair geranium? Let me count the ways..." Most of all, you bring, unassuming to this day, a patchwork of sweet pinks and bold reds to my kitchen table and windowsills and the promise of steadfast love all of the year through.