French Flowers To Add A Touch Of Romance To Any Garden

Feeling love-struck is something that French flower enthusiasts have elevated to the level of an art form. Here we consider the most romantic French flowers you can grow

lavender growing in Paris garden
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Romance isn’t just for Valentine’s day, and French flowers aren’t just for romance – but it’s a wonderful place to start! Showing your loved one how you feel should be a daily affair. One excellent way to reveal your feelings is by selecting some of the most symbolic romantic flowers in France.

France is one of the most appealing and love-struck countries in the world. For anyone interested in planting a French country garden theme, French plants are the epitome of tenderness. Such a gift will set a tone of love and deep affection for the duration of the plant’s life.

Selecting French Flowers For Your Loved Ones

France’s national flower is the fleur-de-lis. More commonly known to many of us as the iris, its gently curved outer petals and erect center crest flanked by the bright beard come in many hues. Van Gogh immortalized the blooms which led to France’s fascination and intrigue with irises.

The geography of France encompasses a Mediterranean climate in certain regions. This leads to a wide variety of flower species. Painters, such as Monet, often used flowers as their subjects, further encouraging France’s reputation as a romantic area. Here are those most indellibly linked with love and romance:

1. Roses

roses in a bouquet for a romantic gift

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Without a doubt, roses are considered to be a symbol of love. This is almost universal and the notion likely started centuries ago. In fact, the earliest fossil records of roses go back 30 million years ago. Empress Josephine of France maintained a glorious rose garden in the early 1800s. By the time of her death, there were around 250 species of this delightful flower. Today’s rose selections provide a bloom in almost any hue, along with tea, floribunda, miniature, hybrid, heirloom, and more.

2. Lavender

lavender posy made from freshly harvested herbs

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The showy purple spikes and intoxicating scent of lavender make it a very romantic plant. There are Spanish, French, hybrid, and Lavandin, with countless lavender cultivars available. They all have a characteristic perfume and essential oil in the blooms, leaves, and stems. Most are light purple, but some are also pink, white and blueish purple.

3. Water Lily

water lily in bloom

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While not as accessible as some French flowers due to its habitat, the water lily has been memorialized in many great artworks. Oscar Claude Monet was the founder of French impressionist painting and had a water garden at his home in Giverny filled with these plants. He was so taken with the flowers he did an entire series of 250 oil paintings depicting this floating bloom. 

His plants were hardy hybrid water lilies, plants introduced at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889. The soft hues and symmetrical petal arrangement are flanked by rounded, green leaves, setting off petals which have an otherworldly glow.

4. Lilacs

freshly picked lilacs in a basket

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Scent seems to be irrevocably intertwined with love. The perfume of French flowers highlights the poetry of romance and is often used as an attractant. Many common lilac varieties have a strong yet titillatingly pleasant aroma. The common lilac was a popular selection amongst French nurseries and eventually became almost synonymous with French garden culture. French hybrid lilacs are among the finest in the world, and come in white, pink, purple and lavender.

Designing with French Flowers & Plants

A classic French garden design is the potager design. Essentially, this is a kitchen garden. It is filled with fruiting trees, vines, and bushes, a variety of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Also called the Jardin de Cure, it could be formal or informal. The informal version is very popular today, a riot of edible and blooming plants that is both wild and soothing. Plants are allowed to grow in a natural rather than curated state, lending the area an air of spontaneity. 

Select a site that has proper lighting and soil, then consider the plants. Potagers usually boast a myriad of plants, intermixing perennials with vegetables and fruiting specimens. Plan the location to allow for annual vegetable planting and to accommodate plant growth. These gardens usually feature support structures such as arbors and trellises, combined with decor accents such as fountains and statuary. A free-flowing garden plan will provide mystery and charm, romantic notions that will also help sustain your menus.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.