The Garden Journey set lies on a flower-strewn table, showing the booklet and cards.

The Origin Story

The twin inspirations for The Garden Journey are the tradition of the tarot and the language of flowers. Each of these symbolic systems has centuries-old roots from across many cultures, representing ways to convey ideas with images rather than with words.

An oft-repeated dictum for those who design gardens is “right plant, right place.” Within The Garden Journey, each flower is paired with one of the 22 archetypes of the tarot’s Major Arcana—a translation based on kindred meanings between each archetype and the flower that most embodies it.

The Bembo Visconti Tarot, Card 18, The Moon,mid 15th-century

The Bembo Visconti Tarot, Card 18, The Moon,mid 15th-century

Tarot as Foundation

The tarot is the rich earth of inspiration from which The Garden Journey’s flowers spring. The oldest existing Tarot decks originated in the Italian Renaissance, themselves an evolution of cards that arrived from the Middle East in the 1300s. Over time—and to this day—people began to add layers of meaning to the decks, and they became used as tools of divination, rather than for gameplay. Iconography from Roman mythology, Kabbalistic principles, and other belief systems contribute abundantly to this ever-burgeoning tradition.

The Tarot is organized into the Major Arcana (22 cards without suits) and Minor Arcana (56 cards divided into 4 suits of 14 cards each).

The Garden Journey includes the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, which begin with The Fool (Card 0) and end with The World (Card 21).

Illustration from The Language of Flowers: An Alphabet of Floral Emblems, published in 1857

Illustration from The Language of Flowers: An Alphabet of Floral Emblems, published in 1857

Translating into Flowers

Much like the symbolism of tarot, the language of flowers is entwined with ancient traditions. Flowers and plants appear in so many of our rituals—not only as ornaments, but also as symbols of what we hope for the future or wish to commemorate from the past.

These meanings often reflect the very essence of the flower: what it looks like, how it grows, or its qualities as a remedy.

In India, the lotus is one of the earliest symbols of the Buddha—representing spiritual redemption as a flower which emerges from the mud with pristine, luminous petals.

Children blow the puffy clouds of dandelions to make a wish—and aptly, the dandelion’s meaning is “A wish comes true.” 

The source of opium, the poppy, was known in Greek mythology as a flower sacred to Hypnos, the god of sleep, who was depicted with seeds in his hand and his head bowed.

Flowers are all the more precious to us because they last only one season before dying back and going dormant for the necessary period of renewal. Let each moment you spend with the flowers in The Garden Journey tell you what you need to know.