Name: Nadeshiko (撫子) Pinks (A.K.A. Dianthus or Wild Carnation)
Seasonal Association: Summer, Autumn
When To Wear It: April-October
The nadeshiko has always had a strong association with women and love. The phonemes that make up the word (nade=stroked/petted and ko=child) indicate a strong personification of this flower. In fact, waka poets saw the nadeshiko as a personification of a girl who has been raised by a man. The nadeshiko’s association with women is still just as strong today. In the modern world, the term yamato nadeshiko is used to describe the ideal Japanese woman, the characteristics of which can be found here. In addition, the name of The Japan National Woman’s Soccer Team, one of the darlings of Japanese sporting world, is Nadeshiko.
During the Heian period, nadeshiko would be a name applied to a juuni-hitoe that was appropriate for summer. The specific colors of this gown vary with different sources, but maroon, crimson, scarlet, pink, and lavender are all colors that are associated with it.
Aki no nanakusa (秋の七草):
The seven flowers or grasses of autumn. It’s unknown who first put together this group of plants as a representation of autumn, but it is a classic theme of even the oldest Japanese poetry.
hagi (bush clover)
susuki (pampas grass)
nadeshiko (dianthus, pink, or wild carnation)
ominaeshi (valerian or maiden flower)
kikyo (Chinese bellflower) NB: occasionally, asagao (morning glory) is substituted for kikyo.
For more information on aki no nanakusa, check out http://www.urasenke.org/flowers/autumn.php
Nadeshiko is another flower with five petals (see below). The petals of the nadeshiko are ragged at the edges.