February 2023

February 2023
As winter deepens, Open Sea is dreaming of flowers. These magical structures predate humans—the earliest known flowers in the fossil record are 180 million years old, existing alongside the dinosaurs. Although some flowers are capable of self-pollination, most have developed symbiotic relationships with pollinators such as insects, birds, and mammals. That these organisms have evolved alongside one another for millions of years means that often flowers and their pollinators are inextricably linked, a specialized bond that reaches across the kingdoms of life. From this union has arisen a myriad of spectacular expressions of beauty in both flower and pollinator alike, as if a living lock and key.
Humans have held a constant obsession with flowers, associating specific species with spiritual and cultural significance in a practice broadly known as floriography. The sacred lotus produces a flower that is capable of regulating its internal temperature (perhaps as a means of attracting insect pollinators), and produces seeds that remain viable for centuries. Because of this, the flower has come to represent longevity, rebirth, and enlightenment. Water lilies appear often in ancient Mayan art. These aquatic plants grow rooted in the soil, but with leaves and flowers floating on the surface of the water, representing the tether that life and fertility has with the watery underworld. 
Perhaps no culture was as infatuated with communication via flowers as the Victorians. In an era steeped in romanticism and symbolism, flowers provided a deep well of hidden meaning and communication. Victorians developed a complex Language of Flowers to send coded messages and convey hidden desires (or lack thereof). In this spirit, Open Sea is proud to introduce our first in an ongoing Floriography series, featuring original compositions printed on elegant oval greeting cards.




Celestial Fervor

 Amethyst, the birthstone of February, is a form of quartz whose impurities lend it a radiant violet color. Its color facilitates peaceful dreams and a connection with the heavens. The ancient Egyptians used amethyst as a stone of protection, to ward off dread and witchcraft. The ancient Romans believed that amethyst would prevent drunkenness, drawing poison from the body and providing a clear head.  




The Winter Aconite, Eranthus hyemalis, is one of the first spring flowers to bloom, often breaking the surface of the snow. These bright yellow flowers grow best in the weaker winter sun, and grow at the base of trees whose leaves protect them when temperatures warm. This plant is poisonous, containing glycosides that target the heart. The poison acts as protection, ensuring that the even though the plant’s delicate flowers are exposed against the snow, they remain undisturbed by deer and other wildlife during their long blooming season.


February 5



The full moon of November—the final full moon before the solstice moon—is named for the beaver, a humble creature capable of transforming landscapes. Their dams create wetlands that prevent drought, providing fertile environments for biodiversity. This year’s Beaver Moon is also a Blood Moon, when a total lunar eclipse shrouds the moon in the shadow of the earth. What light seeps from the edges of our planet stains the moon red. Step outside this Sunday evening to witness our presence touch the ghostly spectre of the moon.



February 20



Come slowly—Eden
Lips unused to Thee—
Bashful—sip thy Jessamines
As the fainting Bee—
Reaching late his flower
Round her chamber hums—
Counts his nectars—
Enters—and is lost in Balms.
–Emily Dickinson