Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Daffodil’s for March

March Flower

Daffodil’s trumpet in the beginning of spring, as in most parts of the world March is the time of year we start seeing signs of spring.  A time of year that the weather is as unpredictable as life, from one moment to the next, it can swing from snow, to cold, wet and rainy to warm beautiful, sunny days. 

Through it all you can find Daffodils starting to grow, their tender green shoots popping up everywhere, indicating new beginnings.

The common name for daffodils is derived from an earlier name “Affodell”, which is a variant of Asphodel.  It is not known why the “d” was introduced initially.  Although a probable source is the result of an etymological merging, from the Dutch article ”de”, as in “De addodil”.  “Daffadown dilly” or “daffadown dilly” has appeared as a playful synonym of the name, since at least the sixteenth century.

Narcissus is the botanic name for daffodils, which is a genus of mainly hardy, spring flowering bulbs in the Amaryllis family.  They are originally native to Europe, North Africa and Asia.  Gardeners in North America are known for citing from 50 to 100 different types of daffodils.  This number excludes any wild hybrids and species variants. 

In Greek mythology, Narcissus is known as the self-admirer.  History reflects that Narcissus fell in love with his image when he saw it in a pool of water.  The center of the daffodil cup is said to have been formed from the tears, he cried. 

As the legend goes the Greek Gods thought Narcissus would eventually starve to death, if he remained by the pool.  To prevent this, they chose to turn him into a flower.  It is also a believed that the daffodil was responsible for emanating evil and that evil manifested in the form of madness and death.  This is why in their culture the daffodil is considered a symbol of death.


A quick classification reference of daffodils:
Genus: Narcissus
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Kingdom; Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta

All Narcissus species have a central trumpet, bowl, or disc shaped corona surrounded by a ring of six floral leaves called the perianth which is united into a tube at the forward edge of the ovary. The three outer segments are sepals, and the three inner segments are petals. In laymen's terms this means the flowers of the daffodil have a trumpet shaped structure with a backdrop in the shape of a star.

Traditional daffodils in folklore, poetry and history tend to have a yellow color all over the flower.
According to the Victorian era lists I have found, the meaning associated with the daffodil flower is uncertainty, chivalry, respect or unrequited love. However, today they are more commonly known as symbolizing friendship and hope.

Fun filled quick facts about daffodils: 
*Daffodils are the first flower to rise through the snowy ground, signifying the coming of Spring - a natural time for new birth and renewal.

*The earliest known reference to Daffodils that has been located, can be found in the 6th century A.D. writings of Prophet Mohammed.

Daffodils are a perennial
*Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from Daffodils had healing powers. Actually the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin.

*Daffodils are a perennial, every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.

*Daffodils are the traditional flowers for a 10th wedding anniversary!

* The daffodil is the national flower of Wales.

*In Wales it is traditional to wear a daffodil on Saint David's Day (March 1).

*According to Chinese legend, the daffodil is a symbol of good fortune. The daffodil is used as a symbol of the Chinese New Year and if a daffodil blooms in your garden on New Year's Day, your house will have good fortune for the entire year.

*Another of the rather amusing daffodil facts developed during medieval times. Arabs extracted the juice of the daffodil for use as a cure for baldness. There is no record to show how successful this “daffy” treatment may have been. Also, the Arabians regarded the daffodil as an aphrodisiac.

Daffodils are a cheerful flower, the heralds the coming of spring; one of the best flowers out there in my opinion that every gardener should include in their gardens.  These cheerful flowers also make a perfect gift for anyone with a birthday in March.  Daffodils are a versatile flower that can bring a smile to just about everyone.

What is your favorite flower?

Revised rewrite of original posting, March 7, 2011.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Birthstone 2014


The birthstone for those born in the month of March is aquamarine.  Its origin is based in legend; believed to have been first found, in the treasure chests belonging to mermaids.  From that legend spawned that belief that aquamarine gemstones are a good luck charm for sailors.

The name aquamarine is from the Latin words meaning water and sea. This is supported by the legend that says aquamarine was first found in a mermaids treasure chest. This has led to the belief that if sailors wear the gemstones it keeps them safe from harm and will prevent seasickness.

While in the middles ages it was thought of as an effective treatment for anxiety.  Also it was believed to be effective in reducing the effect of poisons in the body.  Additionally folklore, associates the gemstone aquamarine with properties that would encourage faithfulness, friendship and courage. 

Others of the time and in times since have associated the aquamarine gemstone with enhancing ones awareness and resulting in quicker response times.  Easing of communication problems is believed to be eased when one wears the gemstone or has large pieces on display where communication occurs.
Aquamarine is derived from two Latin words; one for “water” and one for “sea”.  Hence, not only being a sailor’s good luck stone, it is also believed to relieve other water related calamities.  From preventing seasickness to keeping one safe from all water related harms.

Random cut Aquamarine

"By her who is this month was born
No gem save Aquamarines shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity."
                                   Author Unknown

Birthday gemstone lists have evolved over the centuries.  They have changed due to ease of acquisition, new stones being discovered, and marketers of jewelry.  Lists still contain differences, based on culture and beliefs, though most people, especially in western cultures tend to use the modern list.

The modern list was adopted in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers.  This is the list most western cultures are used to seeing and using.  Aquamarine is the gemstone listed as the birthstone for those born in the month of March.

Aquamarine gemstones are part of the beryl gemstone family.  The finest quality stones have an evenly distributed brilliant color and are typically free of inclusions.  While the aquamarine used for bead shapes usually contain numerous opaque areas and inclusions.  The interesting thing about aquamarine is that the darker more intense the color of the gemstone is the higher in value it is considered.

March Birthstone

Starting with,  an almost colorless pale blue, the aquamarine stones range in color to blue green and continuing through to an almost teal color.  The higher end stones tend to be faceted, yet they do make beautiful cabochons.

While most of the other lists I have researched all list aquamarine as the gemstone, regardless of their geographic location, I have found a two that show different birthstones for the month of March.

Dating back to 1500 B.C. in Indian medicine and beliefs is the Ayurvedic birthstone list.  This particular list indicates bloodstone semi-precious gemstones, which is green with red inclusions. The name bloodstone comes from the Greek word “heliotrope”, it was once thought that the red was a resemblance of blood spots.  

On the “Mystical” birthstone list, it is the jade gemstone that is listed as the stone for March.  This list dates back over 1000 years and is Tibetan in origin.  Jade is an interesting gemstone to study, as there are multiple types of stones with two distinct and different sets of characteristics.  It is a direct result of further study and advancement of identifying the mineral composition that make up the gemstones.

Regardless of which gemstone you choose, or which list you prefer, the rich history surrounding gemstones is fascinating. Visit our on-line boutique to see the variety of gemstones we create with.

Revised rewrite of original posting, March 14, 2011