If you’re in the northern hemisphere like us, your July is probably going quite nicely - with sunny days, barbecues, and that happy summer feeling all around. People born this month are lucky. Not only are they associated with the star sign Cancer, making them sweet and loyal, but they get the ruby--a deep red, precious birthstone.
Rubies, however nice they may be, aren’t the most convenient - or economical - of birthday presents. Giving someone the gift of their birth flower is thoughtful, and much more affordable.
So what are the less well known birth flowers to keep your eyes peeled for this summer?
June - Honeysuckle
So the chances are that you have missed the boat with this one, but there is no better way to say ‘sorry I forgot your birthday’ that with a specialized gift that shows that you have really put some thought into it.
Photo caption: There are over 180 types of honeysuckle, with sweet-smelling flowers that range from white and yellow to red.
Along with the classic Valentine’s gift of the Rose, June’s birthday flower is the Honeysuckle (Lonicera) a popular garden plant with highly perfumed flowers. Giving roses - a flower linked to love and romance- to a friend or family member other than your partner, could make a birthday party a little awkward, so why not try to Honeysuckle, a beautiful plant known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, if you are lucky enough to live in a tropical zone.
Japanese Honeysuckle - the most common type found in the U.S. - was brought to our shores via New York in 1806 to be used as a food source for wildlife, and because of its beautiful colorful flowers and sweet fragrance. Due to the fact that the flower naturally grows on vines, it was also used to control and prevent earth erosion.
If you want a particularly exotic edition to your summery salad dish, why not throw in a few Honeysuckles. The Japanese honeysuckle is edible and contains calcium, magnesium and potassium. The flower’s name comes from the fact that historically, children in Japan were known to suck on the Honeysuckle’s skinny tubes, which tasted sweet, almost like honey.
July - Larkspur
If a loved one has a birthday this month, why not head over to your local florist and ask for Larkspur - the birth flower for Cancer and July.
PHOTO CAPTION The larkspur is a colorful, bright flower and perfect for a gift.
Native to the North Temperate Zone, Larkspur (Delphinium consolida) belongs to the buttercup family. The colorful Larkspur ranges from white to blue to violet and is sure to brighten up your home. The flower’s name denotes fickleness, which is suitable considering recent studies suggest that ‘summer babies’ are more prone to mood swings.
The larkspur has a long and quite mixed history. Experts suggest that the plant has had a number of names over time including lark’s heel, lark’s toe, lark’s claw, knight’s spur and staggerweed.
Having a game of touch football on the lawn and have a tumble? Don’t worry--Larkspur was traditionally used as a herbal medicine and was believed to ‘merge’ open wounds, coming from the Latin name for the plant ‘consolida’ which means ‘to consolidate.’ Other healing uses include the treatment of hemorrhoids, colic in children and even for delousing, but it might be best to head down to the pharmacy for those!
However, don’t be tempted to garnish your summery cocktails with the flowers, as the Larkspur plant is toxic when consumed with its stem and seeds containing potentially harmful alkaloids.
August - Gladiolus
Along with the Poppy, August’s birth flower is the Gladiolus, also known as the Sword Lily, due to its sword shaped spiky leaves. With more than 10,000 different types of Gladiolus, you should be able to find a shape and color that will suit any garden or bouquet.
With impressive flower spikes blooming in a range of colors from white to striking rich red, the flower is linked to infatuation, with its colorful swords expressing that the birthday boy or girl pierces the heart. This seems suitable for passionate, warm hearted leos.
PHOTO CAPTION The sword like spike of the Gladiolus is meant to pierce the heart of the recipient, conveying infatuation
British and Mediterranean Gladiolus plants were historically used for medicinal purposes, ranging from use as a bandage, to extract thorns or splinters and also when mixed with goat’s milk to soothe symptoms of colic.
However, think twice before using the flowers in food and drink or as a hair accessory, as parts of the gladiolus are poisonous if eaten, and some species can cause an allergic reaction when in contact with skin.
So instead of treating flowers as a rushed-gift to be picked up last minute at a gas station en route to a birthday party, treat a friend or loved one to a birthday gift with a real story behind it. What better way to celebrate the special day of a summer baby, that by brightening up their house or garden with some colors and smells which will keep them smiling day after day.