Flowers have a language of their own. The Victorians made an art of it. Youve probably heard about Victorian women carrying small bouquets, called tussie-mussies, with messages encoded in the language of the flowers. Strands of ivy signified fidelity and friendship, gardenias conveyed a secret love, forsythia... anticipation. Shakespeare used them to enhance the story, as in Hamlet, when poor Ophelia laments ”There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.” Even Leopold, in the movie Kate and Leopold, knew better than to send a woman orange lilies.
Letting Flowers Speak for You
Trying to plan a garden based on the meaning of flowers might not be as wise as designing around growing requirements or color, but it can be a lot of fun when creating a floral display or a bouquet of flowers to give as a gift.
Lets say you want to send a thank you gift. You could include iris, which is a tip-off that the bouquet is a message, white bellflowers (Campanula carpatica) for gratitude, amaranth for affection, and maybe some spearmint for warm feelings. How’s that for conveying meaning through the language of flowers?
Personalizing Your Arrangements and Bouquets
Declaring your love through flowers has been made simple enough. Its no coincidence that babys breath and ferns are included with your roses. While the roses say love, the babys breath means everlasting love and the ferns add sincerity. But you can always make your floral love note a bit more personal.
Leaves and Placement Speak, Too
The language of flowers isn't limited to the showy blossoms either. Tuck some basil in for "Best Wishes".
A four leaf clover, if you can find one, is a much better way to say "Be Mine" than a hard candy heart.
Keep in mind that its not just which flowers and plants you include, but also the way they are displayed. Flowers that incline to the left represent you, whereas right leaners are messages about the receiver. Even where you hold your flowers sends a message. Too complicated? Theres always rosemary for remembrance.
Not the flower giving type? How about surprising your date with a pineapple for perfection. Or sending a bag of hazelnuts in hope of a reconciliation. OK, maybe you’d be better off with a nice dinner for that. But don’t give up so easily. Start with some popular garden and bouquet flowers and their meanings.
Now that you know flowers say a lot more than you think, here are some popular garden and bouquet flowers and their meanings, to get you thinking:
Alstroemeria: Devotion and friendship
Alyssum: Worth beyond beauty
Anemone: Unfading love
Apple Blossom: Good Fortune
Baby’s Breath: Everlasting Love
Calla Lily: Magnificent Beauty
Camellia: Perfected Loveliness
Carnation: Pride and Beauty, Fascination
Carnation (striped): Refusal
Carnation (yellow): Disappointment
Cyclamen: It’s over, goodbye
Daffodil: Unrequited Love
Gardenia: Secret Love
Heather (pink): Good Luck
Jasmine: Cheerful & Graceful
Lilac: First sign of love
Lily: Purity of Heart
Lily (white): Purity & sweetness
Lily (orange): Hatred
Lily of the Valley: Return of Happiness
Marigold: Cruelty or Jealousy
Mums (white): Truth
Mums (yellow): Slighted
Orange Blossom: Marriage and Fruitfulness
Peony: Shame or Happy marriage
Queen Anne’s Lace: Fantasy
Red Rose: Passionate Rose
Sweet Pea: Good by
Yellow Daylilies: Coquetry
Zinnia (burgundy): Lasting Affection
Zinnia (mixed): Thoughts of absent friends