List: Flowers I Love

I love flowers. I adore the smell, the feel, and its beauty that last so minutely in a span of our life. Once plucked, it withers and shrivels, disintegrating back into the earth it came out of. But even without touching, it’s just likely to die like all life on earth. Yet, I am enthralled and seduced by them.

When I was younger, all my stories were themed on a flower. I’d pick one and create this fantasy around it, specifically around a female lead character. There’s something about them, the way they unfurl their petals, revealing splendorous colors unimaginable. Then as night falls, they curl up in their buds, some releasing intoxicating smells through the night.

I know it’s spring in my neighborhood when I open my window at night and the smell of honeysuckle swirls like an eddy, sweet and warm. Summer comes with roses, thick and intoxicating.

There are millions and millions of flowers out there but I can only think of a few that I absolutely love. Most of these are exotic flowers.



Meaning: Amiability , I attach myself to you, sensuality, attachment. [1]
Fact: The scent of the jasmine flower is most potent at night, when it releases its scent into the cooler night air.[2]

Jasmine is a favorite of mine because despite their small size, barely useable for any event, their smell is absolutely strong and sensual. As a child, my mother used jasmine oil to keep my hair soft and shiny. So every time I smell jasmine, I think of my childhood.

In Paris around May, froths of jasmine overhang balconies and eaves. Flower season is one of the most splendid sight along the Seine.



Meaning: Bashfulness, shame, happy life, happy marriage, good health, prosperity. Associated with the twelfth wedding anniversary. [1]

Peony has a very similar smell to jasmine. It’s not as potently sensual but has a fresh cleaner smell sensual smell. Around my old neighborhood around June, huge peonies blossom would fill the air when I walked my dog. The colors are absolutely beautiful. Their petals remind me of tissue paper, so fragile and light. Yet the blossom fits perfectly when one cups both hands, as if cradling for water.



Meaning: Estranged love. [1]

When I used to go to the Buddhist temple as a child, unblossomed lotus flowers lined the alter. There’s a spiritual feeling to it when I look at them. Sometimes, I used to watch when the petals are tucked in to create a pointy end. There’s an artistry to them that is sublime.

Water Lily

water lily

Meaning: Purity of heart [1]

On my 21st birthday, I was surprised by a gift. A single indigo water lily. My friend picked it out on the road somewhere in Florida and shipped it to me while I was working at a summer camp. It was one of the sweetest gifts I received. Water lilies grow wild only in ponds and on train rides into Boston in the spring or summer, I’d pass several ponds with water lilies growing wild. It was a scene to see. I highly doubt they have them anymore but every chance I get, I go to the botanical garden to check out the water lilies when they bloom.



In Khmer, we call these pka Champa. It is a typical female name. There’s no smell but they are beautiful and sturdy looking, growing on thick branches and not flimsy stems. And of course, when I see them, I know I’m on a getaway on some tropical island, most likely sipping daiquiris.

One Comment

  1. Fia says:

    I absolutely adore peonies. They make me happy just looking at them, smelling them. One time I tried to grow them on my deck expecting to see beautiful blooms.. but met ants instead. So no more DIY peonies for me. I will just shop for them instead.
    My parents love jasmine and lilies. They would grow them in large garden pots along the front of the house. Every time I visit them, I knew I was home because the smell of jasmine would waft throughout the entrance way.
    You’re absolutely right about pka champa, I thought it looked delicate and soft from afar, but up close they are sturdy little beauties!
    Thanks for rekindling the memories that flowers bring to mind =)

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