Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 1
February 2008
Floriography: the Language of Flowers
Sending these bright and seemingly cheerful daffodils may convey mixed messages, to say the least.
  The other day I said to my husband, "The sun is always shining when I'm with you." He said absolutely nothing in response. Okay, I didn't actually speak those words; rather, I brought home some daffodils. Had he known the language of flowers, he would have understood the compliment.  
  But wait, maybe he does understand and took the daffodils to mean that I think he's conceited. No wonder he didn't say anything! Instead, he'll probably give me a bouquet of yellow roses to say, "Try to care more." Of course, those yellow roses might also be intended to mean "freedom", a hint that he wants to leave me.  
  These are the kinds of pickles that await those who practice floriography, the language of flowers. For thousands of years, flowers have had meanings associated with religious and cultural events, ceremonies and myths. But it was the Victorians who took flower symbolism to the next level, as it were, creating a complex system of flower meanings.  
  It is said that during the Victorian era (approximately 1837 to 1901), flowers were used to convey sentiments that couldn't be expressed verbally because of the restrained social atmosphere of that time. I'm not convinced this is the whole story, considering some of the racier aspects of those days that have come to light. I also suspect floral messaging may have become a faddish activity among high-society types with a bit too much time on their hands.  
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