The Power of Flowers

In the 1960s, natural flowers came to symbolize the power of rebellion and counterculture by youths who were dissatisfied with politics, the disconnect between people, and oppressive social mores. As a staple of fashion and personal style, no other plant had more messaging power than the flower. Delivery of counterculture support was often easiest when members of the hippie movement draped themselves in clothing decorated with floral appliques or placed fresh flowers into their hair. The more vocal hippies, called "flower children," took to singing and dancing in public spaces and would spotlight their cause by handing out flowers to members of the public. Rather than having bouquets delivered from commercial sources to engage in these acts, hippies would pick flowers from community spaces, which would often elicit the ire of public officials. It was not uncommon to witness a pacifist protesting war by decorating the barrel of a soldier's gun with a flower. Delivery of flowers into gun barrels was meant to be a symbolic and conscientious decision to promote peace and love over the ravages of war. The distribution of simple wildflowers like daises was preferred over more expensive flower species that were commonly displayed in bouquets. Delivered with peace in mind and during non-violent protests, these flowers left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of flower children and Americans for generations to come.