The Meaning Behind Flowers

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

gentleman about to hand over a posie of herbs and flowers to waiting lady
 

Humans have an uncanny and incredible capacity to attribute meaning to pretty much anything and teach that meaning to others. This ability to create a language from ordinary items and symbols allowed the Victorians from the upper stratas of society, who were taught expressing certain things by word improper, to make grand, intense declarations of love, hate, friendship or indifference via bouquets of flowers and herbs.

It was not proper, nor polite, to declare social war on another in speech. But it was perfectly acceptable to do so via a bouquet of Tansies. Could one tell the handsome gentleman one met at that dance they thought he was hot stuff and extremely eligible? Absolutely not! What kind of Victorian lady would stoop to such crass levels? No, the proper way to do so would be with a nosegay, perhaps with a big lavender or lilac rose in the middle, surrounded by pretty daisies and a few sprigs of myrtle. Depending on the dictionary the sender or receiver were using, they would discern a message of falling in love at first sight, innocent devotion and interest in marriage. That is, depending on how the nosegay was tied and then delivered… No-one said Floriography, the art of language via flowers, was simple to discern.

Basil

While we associate herbs with bouquet garni more than a decorative bouquet, the Victorians used herbs to send messages too. Basil was so hated, that a bouquet with this fragrant herb was used to express how much the person receiving the bouquet was disdained.

Carnations

Carnations, like roses, meant different things depending on their colour. A solid coloured carnation meant the answer was "yes", unless it was yellow, in which case it meant the opposite. A striped one represented, "I'm sorry, I can't be with you." Pink Carnations sent someone the message "I will never forget you". A lovely sentiment for a loved one who was going away on a long trip or moving away for good.

Iris

A yellow Iris represented passion. Otherwise, it could represent faith, hope, wisdom or simply, "My compliments."

Peonies

Successfully growing these gorgeous flowers is a matter of pride among gardeners. With their glorious, big blooms and fragrant scent, no wonder they are popular bouquets. However,  for a Victorian, receiving a bouquet with Peonies meant the person who sent them to you harboured seething resentment against you.

Petunia

Depending on the floriography dictionary used, receiving Petunias could either mean the person sending them was full of resentment against the receiver or it could mean that the sender found the receiver's presence soothing.

Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons were introduced in the UK around the 1700s before anyone knew they would become such a pest. The Victorians must have sensed the trouble they would become because they mean "beware".

Roses

Depending on the colour, roses could mean several things. A red rose still represents love. A white rose, favoured by brides, used to mean indifference. Orange roses represented desire and yellow joy and friendship.

Tansy

A Tansy has a fluffy, yellow flower and is rather sweet to look at. However, a Victorian sending these to someone meant they were entering strife with them.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

LEAVE A REPLY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

Are ad hominem attacks always invalid?

Valid Arguments In order to be valid, an argument has to be based on evidence. For example, we might say: “Tigers can produce milk…” Or “Wildlife brings tourism…“ However, these are not valid arguments unless we give some evidence, or cite a source: “… Since tigers are mammals and all female mammals can lactate for

Read More »

Your Argument is good, but you are still Wrong

Invalid vs Incorrect There’s a common myth that arguments which are valid always have a correct conclusion. The best Critical Thinking students know better. Invalid arguments can be correct, and valid arguments can be incorrect. Here are some examples: Invalid argument with correct conclusion IF: All cats have fur, IF: Pingu is a cat, THEN:

Read More »

Cataracts – not just an older person’s condition

  A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Vision becomes blurred because the cataract interferes with sight, like a veil in front of the eye. Many individuals over 60 have cataracts and most of these can be treated successfully. The risk for cataracts increases as we age, but the average age for

Read More »

Check these things before Submitting your next assignment

You have spent lots of time researching, working hard to produce a top quality assignment that will be appreciated by your tutor. You have timed it well; your favourite TV programme is about to start, you have some tasty food waiting for you. It’s now time to submit that assignment and wait for a response.

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top