Have you ever sent someone a secret message? Perhaps you drew a picture or invented a secret code. Did you know that flowers were once commonly used to send secret messages?
Using flowers as messengers may date back to ancient Persia, but the practice was refined to an art in Victorian England. At that time, strict manners were observed which often restricted the expression of certain feelings, such as romance or dislike. Rather than words, then, flowers were used.
The dogwood is a flowering tree native to Europe and North America. What message did this flower send? A man would give a dogwood flower to a woman for whom he had affection. If she kept the flower, it meant that she liked him, too, but if she sent it back - well, that's why the dogwood also symbolized unrequited love or regret of something beyond one's control. The wood of the tree also meant strength, resilience, reliability, and durability.
Today, the Christian symbolism of rebirth has been assigned to the dogwood, and it is often used in floral arrangements celebrating the birth of a baby. Pink and red varieties mean love and passion.
Would you like to send a dogwood message? All you will need is a pencil or pen and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to use colored pencils or something similar to shade your finished flowers.
Watch 'How to Draw Dogwood Flowers' Video Tutorial
Step by Step Instructions for Drawing Dogwood Flowers
1. Begin by making a circular shape using small, connected, "U" shaped lines. This will form the center of the flower.
2. Around the center, sketch the flower's four petals. Notice that the petals are rounded, like irregular circles, but with a "C" shaped notch in the middle.
3. Emerging from behind one of the petals, draw a semi-circle, again using small, connected, "U" shaped lines. This will form the center of the second flower.
4. Using curved lines, sketch the four petals belonging to the second flower. Again, note the "C" shaped notch in each of the rounded petals.
5. A short distance from the first two blooms, draw another circular shape made from small "U" shaped lines. This will form the center of the third flower.
6. Using curved lines, sketch the four rounded petals of this third and final flower. Don't forget the "C" shaped notches.
7. Draw a forked stem between the two sets of flowers using sets of parallel lines. Extend another set of stem lines past the flowers, and enclose the end of the stem using a small oval. Then, sketch the crinkled leaves of the dogwood tree. Use two wavy lines for each leaf, allowing the lines to meet in a sharp point.
8. Detail the centers of the flowers by drawing a smaller circle made of connected "U" shaped lines within each. Draw a curved line down the length of each leaf to indicate the vein. Fill in any bare spots with additional leaves.
9. Add the finishing touches to your dogwood flowers. Texture the petals using curved lines, extended outward from the center of the flower.
10. Color your dogwood flowers. Some dogwood blooms are solid white, others solid pink, and some a combination of both colors. Why not try shading your flowers like the ones in our example, pink on the tips and fading to white at the center? Colored pencils can make this shading easy and fun.
Would you like to send other secret flower messages? Check out our plant drawing guides to brush up on your skills, and learn the meanings of various flowers from resources such as the Old Farmer's Almanac.