I love to see people receive a bouquet for Valentine’s Day, as it brings true joy. People have always delighted in seeing flowers. If you’re having a bad day, receiving flowers will lift your spirits and make your day better. Have you ever thought about the meaning behind the blooms? Centuries ago, flowers carried a lot of importance.
When Queen Victoria married in 1840, her wedding dress was embroidered with the plants of her realm: the Tudor rose of England, the leek of Wales, the shamrock of Ireland and the thistle of Scotland. In Victorian times, middle-class homes had carpets and wallpaper decorated with roses, violets and pansies. On their tables were fresh bouquets from the garden and dried arrangements in glass bells. Elaborate glass cases sheltered ferns, begonias and ivy. Red geraniums and other brightly colored flowers filled their gardens. Men and women alike wore posies or tussie-mussies.
In this same era, proficiency in the floral arts became a vital part of a young lady’s education. Barred from serious gardening due to their presumed delicacy and unsuitable costume, women made up for it by taking up botanical drawing and painting. The subject of botany was considered “appropriate” for women. John Lindley’s Lady’s Botany (1834) and Jane Loudon’s Botany for Ladies (1842) were popular enough to require several editions.
Finishing schools offered instruction in botany and floriography—the language of flowers, where each flower, herb, tree and shrub was assigned a meaning. If you give or receive flowers this Valentine’s Day, you may want to research the meaning behind them.
For example, if you are lucky enough to receive a bouquet with red roses, it means I love you with passion. Tulips are a declaration of love, while carnations mean passion and admiration. Globe amaranth signifies unfading love, honeysuckle means bonds of love and a bouquet of chrysanthemums means joy and long life.
A gift of ranunculus means you are radiant with charm. Jasmine means I attach myself to you.
Thankfully, modern women no longer need to interpret the language of flowers to know how their suitors feel.