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by Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

Flower baby names are hot favourites for modern British parents. So much so that, when all the spellings are added together, Lily has ranked as the most popular girls name in England and Wales for the last two years. Other Top 100 choices include Daisy, Poppy, Holly, Jasmine and Rose, with Violet, Iris and Ivy not far behind.

And this is nothing new; the British love of floral names is long established. The Edwardians took their love of flowers and elevated them to the heights of fashion in girls’ names.

But, before they took off as names, flowers were used as an intricate form of communication known, quite grandly, as floriography.  If a Victorian lady received flowers, she would automatically consult her floriography handbooks and dictionaries (which helpfully attributed meanings and phrases to a variety of flowers) to see what messages were being conveyed. A white rose meant “I am worthy of you;” a Carolina rose meant “Dangerous love,” while a full rose placed over two buds meant “Secrecy.”

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nature names

Nature names can mean a lot of different things, as our all-inclusive nature baby names list demonstrates.

There are flower names, long used for girls but newly in style now.  These include familiar choices like Rose and Lily along with fashionable exotic blooms such as Dahlia and Magnolia.

Then on the botanical side, there are newer tree names, spice names, and fruit names, from Oak to Sage to Banana.

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Nature Names: The Secret Garden

babyflower

Nature names from the botanical world, including flower names like Daisy and Lily and tree names such as Maple and even spice and fruit names such as Sage and Plum, have become both more visible and more fashionable over the past handful of years.

But there’s another group of nature names that hint at their earthly roots rather than state them so plainly, a secret garden of baby names that reference plants and flowers in their original meanings.  One of the best things about these names is that they’re more even-handed than many botanical names in their gender identity, with several excellent masculine choices plus others that work equally well for boys or girls.

If you love nature names but also value subtlety, one of these secret garden names may be right for you.

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abbytulipe

For the Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel walks us  through the flower-name garden and shares some celebrity news.

Earlier this week, Nameberry explored the unexpected middle names of some very famous figures.  Who knew that Hugh Grant wore the middle name Mungo, or that Charlie Sheen had Irwin in the middle spot?

Here in Washington DC, I’m convinced that while we’re quite daring with our children’s given names, every single girl is sharing the same middle: Rose.  I’d rather see Rose in the first spot, like Charlotte’s younger daughter in the Sex in the City series.  But Rose came in at a frosty #337 in the 2010 rankings.  You’re more likely to meet a girl called Esmeralda, Fatima, or Leilani.

What explains the rise of a suddenly-everywhere middle name?  Yes, many of us have grandmothers named Rose.  But we also have grandmothers named Jean, Joan, and Ruth, and those names aren’t nearly as popular.  At a recent baby shower, the guest-of-honor had chosen Rose for a daughter’s middle name.  So had the other expectant mom in the room, and one of the brand new parents had already named her daughter Amelie Rose.

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Flower Names: The best new blooms

camellia

Move over Lily, Rose and Daisy: the baby name garden is bursting with far more exotic blooms these days. There have, for example, been starbabies with the names Lotus and Lilac and Bluebell and Tulip and Aster. But they’re not the only ones–here, we’ve selected ten of the most unusual but usable new florals for you to pick.

Amaryllis

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This undiscovered beauty, which means ‘sparkling,’ was named for the shepherdess heroine of a pastoral epic by Virgil. A bulb-grown bloom also known as the Winter Lily or Jersey Lily, the name Amaryllis was revived in the eighteenth century. One namesake Amaryllis--cellist Amaryllis Fleming-- was both the daughter of painter Augustus John and half-sister of James Bond-creator Ian Fleming.

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