We are all familiar with the birth stone. But what about the birthday flower?
If you are looking for a Birthday Gift based on a floral theme, then hit the right notes by selecting the right flower - motif or real thing - for each birthday month.
The flower for the month of January is the humble snowdrop. Humble maybe. But long wished for, in the bleak mid-winter. Seeing their little heads popping up through the soil never fails to lift the spirits.
Along with the snowdrop, the carnation is the flower for January birthdays. These hardy petalled souls have colour on their side, too. What's more, they last eons in a vase.
Come February, birthday flowers are the primrose and the violet. Pretty as a picture, the primrose thrives on damp banks on country lanes. These too, bring promises of sunshine and spring.
Deeply coloured violets cling to the sides of coastal paths, holding their heads high amid strong winds and sea spray. Perhaps these characteristics relate to people born in February. It's a nice thought.
March is the month of the daffodil. Bringer of sunshine, this species nods its collective head in acknowledgement of spring's arrival. Creating seas of yellow in our gardens and along our roadsides, the daffodil's enthusiasm just cannot be curbed. Along with the daffodil, jonquil is March's birth flower. Actually, jonquil is a kind of daffodil. It's the tiny version: a ring of light golden petals with a trumpet shaped centre of darker, contrasting golden yellow. The jonquil is used for decoration during Chinese New Year, incidentally.
The sweet pea and the daylily are the wonderfully feminine flowers designated to April Birthdays. The fragrance and colour of the frilly sweet pea all combine to make April a wonderful month. Another April birth flower is the day lily. This flowers for one day only; but don't be put off from having them in your garden. New buds develop all the time, providing a swathe of colour all summer long.
May is the month of Lily Of The Valley, and hawthorn. Another winner in the fragrance stakes, lily of the valley makes a beautiful addition to a spring wedding bouquet. Hawthorn - sometimes referred to as the 'May tree', is surrounded by myth and folklore. One of the wildest, most enchanted and sacred of our native trees, is is also known as the 'faerie tree'. This gnarled, thorny little tree can live to a great age. Its beauty, when in full bloom, touches our hearts, and is is often used in herbal remedies.
'Flaming June' is the month of the rose. Sharing the month of June is honeysuckle. You will find it growing wild in hedgerows, come summer. The best time to take in its smell is in the dampness of a summer's eve. Forget Bisto - the scent of honeysuckle is one of life's real pleasures.
July is the month of larkspur and the water lily. Did Monet paint his famous work of art during this month, we wonder. Larkspur is more commonly known as the delphinium. Its tall spires add a splash of colour and drama to summer borders.
When August comes around, the poppy and the gladioli adopt the role of birth flowers. The poppy is far more significant to us all in November, of course.
September tide birthdays are celebrated by the aster and morning glory. Star of the autumn border, the aster supplies its own brand of seasonal colour which lasts right up until Christmas.
October babies should celebrate with calendula and cosmos. Orange calendula, otherwise known as pot marigold, is used as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and also as a dye.
November births are marked with the chrysanthemum,a hardy flower which gives welcome autumn colour from late summer through until Christmas.
Naturally, holly is the stuff of December birthdays. Its prickly beauty has been used in Yuletide decorations for centuries.