Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The Language of Flowers
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I began thinking about floriography, the language of flowers. I thought you might like to know what your special person is actually saying with that huge flower arrangement he brings in or has delivered. I am quite sure he has no idea, consciously or subconsciously, about the meanings of those flowers. The lady at the florist just stuck them in a vase. Ah for the times when a man actually put some thought into it. Like Leopold did in “Kate and Leopold.” Sigh…
Although the meanings of flowers have been around for centuries, the Victorians took it to new heights. They sent secret messages to each other through the use of flowers. Tussie-Mussies (Nosegays as we call them today) were especially popular. The men actually put thought into having the flowers arranged to convey a very important message to their beloved. Imagine the woman receiving a bouquet and pulling out her little treatise on meanings to discover what the man was telling her. Romance was done a lot better in those days.
Any way, red roses seem to be the standard for modern men. Red roses imply passionate romantic love. I have always loved yellow roses, don’t know why, I just do. Darn it, they stand for friendship and devotion. An orange lily denotes passion while a yellow chrysanthemum means slighted love. Daisies stand for innocence. These are flowers I usually see in arrangements.
The old standbys, carnations, have many different meanings. A red carnation is like a red rose, it signifies deep romantic love. White stands for pure love and yellow means rejection or disdain. Geez, considering the arrangements you see today, a Victorian lady would alternate between manic highs and extreme lows trying to figure them out.
Lilacs mean first love. And my favorite, gardenia means a secret love. Sunflowers mean haughtiness or respect. I could go on and on about the meanings of each flower but the list is too long. The conclusion I have come to is, that in this day and age, just sending flowers means you love someone or you care, regardless of the meanings behind the genus of the bloom. I love flowers and getting them is always a treat.
There is one I quite forgot to mention and they did it in Victorian days - wilted or dead flowers. We think this is a new phenomena but it isn’t. Back in the nineteenth century men would send them to the women who rejected them, conveying that truly the relationship was over. So we didn’t come up with that idea, it’s been around a while. There are a few people I would like to send some too but…
What are your favorite flowers to receive? What do you like to do for Valentine’s Day? Is it an important day to you or do you pass it by without a thought?