Preview
Fascinating Flowersep4
What do flowers mean to us?
Prof. Kasia BoddyProf. Kasia BoddyHD, subtitles, Q&ATranscript55m
From the meaning of carnations in Sex and the City to sunflowers in the cleanup of Chernobyl and Henry VIII’s ban on saffron dye, flowers are deeply woven into our culture & our history. How have they inspired us & what do they mean?
From the meaning of carnations in Sex and the City to the use of sunflowers in the cleanup of Chernobyl, from Henry VIII’s ban on saffron dye in Ireland to the modernist reinventions of roses, flowers are deeply woven into our culture and our history. How have they inspired us and what do they mean?

The bright yellow of a marigold and the cheerful red of a geranium, the evocative fragrance of a lotus or a saffron-infused paella - flowers are everywhere and there is no end of reasons to love them. Ranging through the centuries and across the globe, there is a wealth of floral associations that has been passed down in perfumes, poems, and paintings; in the design of buildings, clothes, and jewelry; in songs, TV shows, and children’s names; and in nearly every religious, social, and political ritual.

Kasia Boddy is a Professor of American Literature at the University of Cambridge, where she explores how we think and write about objects and activities that appear everywhere in real life, but which for the most part enter only obliquely into literature. Her recent book, Blooming Flowers: A Seasonal History of Plants & People is a study of how poets, philosophers and politicians have seen meaning in flowers. Kasia joins us in The Garden to consider how the sunflower, poppy, rose, lily and many others have given rise to meaning, value, and inspiration throughout history, and why they are integral to so many different cultures.

Read more
HD, subtitles, Q&ATranscript

Top audience questions
View all(19)
You've talked about how flowers have been used to bring peace, but have flowers ever been used for more negative reasons in history?
11 votes
Why are marigold flowers used in Indian religious ceremonies?
7 votes

This was so mentally stimulating. I am an avid lover of all plants and flowers, but had not given thought to their societal impact, their symbolism and their historical impacts. I will look at plants a little different now.Angela
Read all members reviews(4)

About the Garden

What is the Garden and what is your mission?

One Garden is a community for the curious, a place where learning is joyful. Together, we learn from world experts through weekly live talks and by asking them the questions we are most curious about. Our on demand library is yours to explore at your leisure.

With our monthly membership we aim to give anyone, anywhere, access to the knowledge, ideas and people who have shaped — and continue to shape — our understanding of the world.

What does a membership include?

A membership with One Garden will give you unlimited access to all our talks, live and on-demand.

For £9.99/month, One Garden will give you access to the brightest minds of our generation. Ask them your questions during a live talk, or sit back and relax.

Can I cancel during my free trial?

Yes of course. We invite you to enjoy a 14 day free trial, and if you cancel any time during this period then you will not be enrolled into the monthly plan and will not be charged.

You can cancel online, anytime, in your account with just a couple of clicks.

What sort of speakers do you have?

We find the most passionate experts and academics from across the globe. All of our talks are designed to be accessible to anyone, no prior knowledge required, and our speakers (or Fellows as we call them!) are skilled at delivering fascinating, captivating talks for all levels.

You'll have the chance to ask questions in real times during lives via our bespoke platform.

High-quality recorded talks on-demand

Watch recordings of 100+ past talks at your own pace

Browse on-demand talks

Online live interactive talks with experts

Come learn from the best in their fields, and ask them your questions

Find an upcoming live talk

One Garden is a community for the curious, a place where inquisitive minds can come together to learn from world experts, and each other, and join in conversations about topics that spark their curiosity.

Find out more

With our monthly membership we aim to give anyone, anywhere, access to the knowledge, ideas and people who have shaped — and continue to shape — our understanding of the world.

Find out more