“Say It with Flowers” is a popular message in florists’ advertisements, especially prior to special occasions like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Even though flowers, plants and herbs were associated with special powers as far back as Biblical times, the popularity of expressing love and other emotions with floral gifts blossomed in the Victorian era (1837-1901) during the long, peaceful reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria. The queen herself was a big fan of the language of flowers.
Victorian times were characterized by a cultural shift to romanticism and mysticism, and flowers took center stage in colorful motifs for fashion, jewelry, hair accessories, stationery, china and home decor.
Since Victorian social etiquette frowned on public displays of affection, the gift of flowers, plants and herbs became a subtle way to express the deepest thoughts and feelings of love, grief, jealousy or devotion. Each type of flower, plant and herb grew to have a specific meaning. Over time, the coded language of flowers became so complex, how-to books and flower dictionaries were written to clarify the differences and to ensure the sender was communicating the right emotion.
Tussie-Mussies & Secret Messages
Victorian women particularly enjoyed receiving a Tussie-Mussie or nosegay, a small bouquet of flowers wrapped in a lace doily tied with satin ribbon. The suitor’s secret emotion was symbolized by the choice of specific flowers for these “talking bouquets.”
Most people are aware that roses signify love and affection. But did you know that different rose colors have different meanings and each color has more than one meaning?
- Red roses – love and passion, as shown in the Blooming Love bouquet featured above
- Pink roses – grace and elegance; sweetness
- Lavender roses – love/enchantment at first sight; regal majesty and splendor
- Orange roses – fascination, passion and desire; “I am so proud of you!”
- White roses – Purity and innocence; marriage and new beginnings
Do you know the meaning of these popular flowers?
- Daisies– innocence and hope
- Red Tulips – declaration of love
- Violets – loyalty, devotion and faithfulness
- Zinnias – thoughts of absent friends
- Hyacinths – constancy of love, fertility
Say It with Flowers
If you’re interested in learning more about the special language and symbolism of flowers, you’ll find several beautifully illustrated books devoted to the topic in your local bookstore or online. But remember, you don’t have to be a flower expert to buy the perfect arrangement for your loved one. The experts at Twinbrook Floral Design are here to help you choose a fresh, original arrangement that faithfully expresses your heartfelt emotions.
Family owned and operated for over 20 years, Twinbrook Floral Design in Fairfax, VA services Northern Virginia and Washington, DC with award-winning customer service and the finest farm-fresh flowers. We are a premier full-service florist with complete bridal and wedding services and an expansive selection of distinctive floral arrangements for all occasions.