Mums, mums, mums! These traditional fall flowers are all around us at this time of the year, but the flowers that symbolize the month of October are actually the marigold and cosmos!
With their beautiful autumnal colours and fragrant scent, marigolds are the perfect bloom to represent this colourful month. Popular with gardeners for a very long time, the earliest use of marigolds can be traced right back to the Aztecs, who attributed magical, spiritual and medicinal properties to them. Often used to treat inflammation and skin irritation, the humble marigold was greatly revered. Today, marigolds play an important role in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Mexico. The flowers, which are believed to attract spirits with their fragrance and bright colors, are used to decorate gravesites, altars and shrines erected to honor and remember the deceased. In the tradition of Victorian flower language, marigolds were used as a symbol of grief, despair, and mourning, and similar to the marigold’s appearance in The Day of the Dead celebrations, the flowers were used in remembrance during this era.
Generally though, marigolds symbolize positivity and energy. Referred to as the “herb of the sun”, we associate the fiery red, yellow and orange hues with warmth and comfort. Marigolds are very popular in Hindu weddings because of this representation, symbolizing brightness and positive energy. Their vivid and colourful appearance also represents warmth and creativity. There is another side to the symbolism associated with marigolds, however, as they are said to also represent stubbornness and determination, probably as a result of their hardy nature.
Marigolds have many positive attributes as they have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Their extracts can be applied topically to soothe the skin and can be used to treat rashes, burns, and wounds. Marigold petals are also edible, so go ahead and add them to your tea or salad. Be warned though, for as pretty as they look, they can carry a bitter taste!
Fun fact: rabbits don’t like the smell of marigolds! So, planting a border of these flowers around your vegetable garden is a safe and eco-friendly way to prevent furry friends from stealing all your carrots and cabbages!
Our second flower for October is the cosmos. Unlike the marigold, this is a gentler, softer flower, which is native to Mexico. Blooming from summer to fall, these pretty and delicate flowers grow in warm climates and come in a variety of colours, with the most popular being white, pink, yellow and red. The name, from the Greek word “kosmos”, means “order and harmony of the universe”. The petals of this little flower were so evenly placed, that Spanish explorers gave it the name Cosmos. The flower represents harmony and order, but the flowers are also said to symbolize peace and tranquility.
Like marigolds, cosmos also has a history of being used to treat health problems. The flower contains butein, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and quercetin, which has antiviral properties. Cosmos has been used in the treatment of malaria in Brazil and Mexico, and it is frequently used to treat sore muscles and skin problems.
Cosmos is the second wedding anniversary flower.
So if you’re looking for fresh, seasonal flowers to celebrate an October birthday, anniversary or other occasion, head on over to our website here.