Monday, April 13, 2015


by Carol

Did you know that flowers can talk? 

I could fill a book here all about the symbolism flowers have provided in myth, in religion, and in art. Just about every aspect of a flower has contributed to it's meaning historically. Depending on its stage of life, the same flower can portray contrasting meanings. A tiny bud blooming into blossom or fruit, for instance, symbolizes the blossoming of youth, but also the loss of innocence. At the same time, the short span of a flower's life can symbolize fragility and mortality. There are floral symbols in the Bible, and flowers have significance in nearly all religions, as well as in folklore and mythology.

But did you know that in the Victorian era flowers actually spoke? In that repressive society flowers had a code. You could send a message to your lover or friend just by sending a bouquet. The science of "floriography" was born, and there are actually dictionaries full of interpretations for different blossoms that you can google and read about.

Within the codes, more than just the choice of flower was important. The combination of flowers and their colors, their fragrance, the way they were wrapped or presented, and even the way they were handed over had meaning. I'm sure you have all seen the tiny, doily wrapped bouquets in Victorian decoration and portraiture. They were called tussie-mussies, and with them you could send what would have been an improper question in public; which was then answered yes or no depending on whether the receiver handed back a blossom with the right (yes!) or left (NO!) hand. Even the fragrance on your hankie had a subtle meaning.

I am going to keep these dictionaries around, and consider them when sending flowers. I'm also going to consider their meaning as I create note cards from my photos. The flower images in our gallery are gorgeous so far, but this week, how about choosing your image with meaning in mind, and attaching a quote or a caption telling us what you are saying?

                                                             Auguste Rodin


Dotti said...

How fun is this? Now I'll have to look up the floriography of flowers when I arrange them or send them or, as you said, create a notecard. I had heard of the hidden meanings of flowers in Victorian times but had forgotten. Now I'm curious and need to hit Google today to see what I can learn!!! Beautiful floral photos, too, Carol. That first one has me mesmerized!

terriporter said...

Oh, yes, as Dotti said, beautiful flower images, Carol! I remember when I was a teenager my mom telling me about the different meanings of the colors of roses: red was for romantic love, so not appropriate for a teenager! Yellow was for friendship -- these, of course, were acceptable! Pink was for joy and sweetness and white, purity and innocence. But I didn't know that other flowers had meanings as well. Will have to research that!

Kim Stevens said...

I think one of the flowers and it's meaning that stands out for me is the passion flower....I will have to post a pic in flickr with the meanings and symbols, really remarkable! I have a also found that there is a correlation between some flowers and the number of petals that correlate to bible numerology - all so fascinating!!

Carol said...

There is a great site, but it was copyrighted, so I was unable to include it here. - Googling will find you wonders though - there is a whole dictionary on one site! Fun, right?

kelly said...

carol this is so lovely. and fascinating! so interesting to learn about all the different, subtle meaning...can't wait to dig into it more!

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting post! I love the meaning behind all the different types of flowers, but never really paid attention to that! My focus has always been on the sites and smells! Now I'm going to investigate! Thanks for sharing!

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