Flowers, perhaps more than any other part of the natural world, are fascinating because of the many layers of meaning people have shrouded them in throughout history.
There is a whole sub-category of etiquette surrounding which flowers are appropriate to give at what times, and to whom. The unending rules surrounding something so simple as a flower can be dizzying.
Another aspect of flower lore concerns the designated flowers for each month of the year. Last year, we looked at one of October’s official flowers, the calendula, also known as “pot marigold.” The other is cosmos.
The name cosmos refers to any of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials native to the southern U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America. In good soil, the plants can grow to be nearly 7 feet tall. The flowers themselves have a central disk, usually yellow, with petals surrounding it, similar to members of the daisy family. Colors vary among the many species, from white through pink and light purple to golden yellows and oranges.
The name cosmos comes from the Greek word for harmony. Gardeners will frequently give a gift of cosmos, because they are said to bring good luck. Cosmos are lucky in at least one sense: they repel pests, which makes them a popular companion plant in many gardens.
According to the Victorian language of flowers, cosmos represent modestly. They are also often associated with a couple’s second wedding anniversary.