This year the world renowned Royal Horticultural Society at Chelsea, London has drawn inspiration from the Iris and they have used this beautiful flower as the emblem representing the ethos of this year’s show.
The Iris flower takes its name from the Ancient Greek rainbow goddess. In myth Iris was depicted as walking the rainbow path bringing gifts from the Gods to earth. It is certainly true that one of the most precious gifts we enjoy throughout our lives is the rainbow of colours reflected in the natural world, and for thousands of years plants and flowers have offered us creative and spiritual sustainance.
One of the reasons that we find Irises so healing and inspirational is their star shape. Each flower made up of two overlapping triangles made up of three petals and three sepals. When viewed from above these create a beautifully symmetrical six-pointed star, a symbol of the union between earth and sky and the idea that we live in both a physical and spiritual universe. The buds that are slim and pointed also act as a reminder of our earthly responsibilities but also our heavenly connections.
Unlike previous year’s, Chelsea show 2012 has pushed back the frontiers in both design and concept. Instead of merely showcasing the wonderful variety of plants and flowers the designers and plants people are challenging us to think more carefully about our the was we want to live in the future. With this in mind, wild flower gardens, healing gardens, drought resistant plants and urban gardening are all on the agenda. The creators of many of the show gardens and displays have also come up with innovative ways to preserve our precious resources and better care for many species of plants, birds and insects that are rapidly declining in number due to drought, lost of habitat and modern farming methods.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Iris flower is its colouring. We commonly regard the Iris as being blue or violet with the inner petals streaked with yellow or white and these hues all add to the starburst effect but at the Chelsea flower show you can also see a dazzling array of other tones. Irises appear in yellow, orange, pale pink, lavender and white while tall bearded varieties include much darker and mysterious tones of deep purple, red, orange and black. In psychological terms, these velvety tones symbolise the the unconscious mind and universal forces at work on an unseen level. Perhaps the Iris carries two messages for us, on the one hand we must take delight in nature’s beauty but on the other hand we should endeavour to preserve and protect these wonderful free gifts to inspire future generations.
Suzy Chiazzari is the founder and principal of the Holistic Design Institute and Iris School of Colour Therapy in Devon, England.
The school offers distance learning Diplomas in Healing Garden Design, Colour Aromatherapy and Energy Medicine using colour, gems and flowers.
By Suzy Chiazzari Author, Founder and Principal of Iris International School of Colour Therapy
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