Floriography – Modern and Historical


With Summer just under two months away from being here, we can soon look forward to the blooming of a wide variety of gorgeous blooms that brighten the world all around us. Each flower has its own form of beauty and equally, they have their own meaning. I began to think about the language of the flowers, which can be used to communicate messages through the meanings of these colourful blossoms, and I began to wonder where this idea had started. 

Flowers have always been an expression of ideas and have been used as symbols or to represent things subtly for a very long time. These meanings were often inspired by the way in which a flower looks, acts or grows. Although it was first popularised in Turkey, it became a big hit in England during the Victorian era, often used to express messages to someone that was not something that was to be spoken allowed. If someone wanted to understand they would have to buy a book that explained the meanings that the flowers were trying to express using books known as floriographies that explained what the bouquets that people were buying for one another were meant to be expressed. Although delivering a bouquet may seem as if it is a very lovely and romantic gesture to express one unspeakable love for a partner, they were also used as a way of insulting people without having to use actual words. For example, putting garlic in a bouquet not only meant that the person on the receiving end had to deal with the smell, but it also suggested that they were possessed or surrounded by an evil spirit. Orange Lillies had the definite meaning of absolute hatred, while violets were helpful to queer women as they could be used to represent sapphic love towards another. 

Through the years, the language of flowers has developed and though it is still closely associated with the victorian era, it has been subtly brought into the modern era. For example, even though it is not often expressly said, roses, particularly the red ones, are to represent love, lust and romantic attraction towards someone, even to this. White roses are common at weddings because while they are a representation of love, the white of the roses is a symbol of purity, much like why brides often wear white wedding dresses. This shows that the meaning of the flower doesn’t just stem from its species but also from its colour, with each colour having its own special interpretation of the meaning that the flower has on its own. For example, pink flowers are representative of joy, trust or good fortune, depending on which culture you are from, while yellow also represents joy, but also friendships. 

The world has given us many beauties for which we can enjoy, given us so many different experiences in this life that we could express. Life is so beautiful land exceptionally short so it is important that we express ourselves today. Give a yellow rose to your closest friend, a dahlia to the person you are committed to, heck even send garlic to your worst enemy. Make the most of every feeling you have. 


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