The Language of Flowers

"The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose."
- Heda Bejar

Love. Hatred. Acceptance. Refusal. How can one covey such sentiments without words? By sending flowers. These jewels of nature can convey almost any emotion, compliment, or warning. As with any language, one simply needs a bit of knowledge and practice.

Flowers and foliage have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. The Greeks assigned particular plants and trees to their deities, such as the Oak for Zeus, and formulated myths of origination to explain the color of the Poppy or the beauty of Narcissus.

This love continued and flourished in the Victorian Era with floral wallpaper, cards, bonnets, and much more. With the culture of the day restricting display of emotions, especially between lovers, Victorians created floriography, the practice of assigning meaning to flowers. Reaching its peak of popularity in the 1800's in England, the language of flowers demanded its own dictionaries, necessary for sender and receiver to be in perfect communication.

Whether giving flowers as a gift or selecting them for a special event, consider adding extra meaning to your arrangements by consulting the lists below. As most people today aren't aware of the hidden messages assigned to flowers, be sure to tuck in a note to explain your floral choice.

Declare Your Love

Yes, the rose is the obvious choice, but select your color/type carefully.
Red - love White - I am worthy of you
Pink - perfect happiness Musk - capricious beauty
Yellow - decrease of love, jealous Carolina - love is dangerous

You can send more than roses to show true love. Examine the following.

Carnation (red) - my heart aches Clover (4-leaved) - be mine
Camellia (red) - you're my flame Honeysuckle - bond of love
Chrysanthemum (red) - love Tulip (red) - overt declaration of love
Cactus - my heart burns with love Zinnia (magenta) - lasting love

Show how you feel without overtly declaring love.

Calla Lily - magnificent beauty Tulip (variegated) - lovely eyes
Daisy - innocence Peony - bashfulness
Chrysanthemum (white) - truth Plum, wild - independence
Ivy, Veronica, Violet - fidelity Pineapple - you are perfect


Negative Implications

Not all flowers have something nice to say.

Carnation (striped) - refusal Oleander - beware
Carnation (yellow) - rejection Rhododendron - danger
French Marigold - jealousy Chrysanthemum (yellow) - slighted love

What the Herbs Say

Basil - hatred Parsley - festivity
Dill - lust Rosemary - remembrance
Lavender - distrust Sage - domestic virtue
Mint - virtue Spearmint - warmth of feeling

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