As gardening and botany became popular female leisure pastimes, flowers dominated quilt design. Women, flowers, and gardens have long been linked symbolically to express female fertility or (conversely) chastity in literature and art. Women were also traditional healers using plant-based medicines. In purely decorative terms, flowers are perennially used as design motifs in all the visual arts. Exotic new plants were arriving from faraway places, and horticulturists constantly developed new varietals; these blooms found their way into chintz design and onto quilts.