Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sweet Talking Flowers

I doing some research a few years ago for a story I was writing and I have to admit I’m still fascinated by the subject. The language of flowers. Throughout history people have used the gift of plants and flowers to express themselves but the Victorian society had what was probably the most intricate of signs, symbols and meanings. A woman or a man could say volumes not only with the color of the bloom they chose to wear, but with the flower they selected and how it was worn.

As mother’s day approaches, one of the traditional flower giving days of the year, I was thinking about just this topic. Mother and daughter relationships can be complicated to say the least. Sometimes the person we love and hate the most isn’t always a romantic love, but someone with whom we have more history than any romantic relationship. So here are a few ideas and meanings from Victorian times that might help you put together a bouquet that says volumes about your relationship with your mother…and unless she’s versed in the language of flowers, she doesn’t have to know what you’re really saying.

The rose is a traditional flower we associate with love. But to the Victorians the color was just as, if not more, important. White roses mean silence, a secret kept between people. It can also mean reverence and humility. Yellow roses were not something you wanted to receive from a romantic interest as they mean a dying love or jealousy. But if you are one of those lucky people whose mother/daughter relationship has grown into friendship, then yellow roses speak that perfectly. Add the pear blossom and tell your mother that you want that friendship to last forever.

Is your mother one of those elegant types who is aging wonderfully? Try the Dahlia, it says class and dignity. Mix it with the lotus flower for eloquence, the thistle for a noble countenance, the oxeye daisy for patience and, for greenery, the oak leaf to tell your mother how you admire her strength.

Your relationship not so June Cleaver and the Beaver? The eglantine rose, or sweet briar rose, talks of wounds that need to be healed. Willow branches for a love forsaken or abandonment. The yellow carnation is a symbol of disappointment. Lavender calls out distrust just as strongly as it cries out devotion.

Whatever you have to say, the plant world can help you say it. And just in case Mom knows her stuff, perhaps it would be wise to choose carefully.


Anny Cook said...

Ahhhh, I love the language of flowers. Lovely post!

Sandra Cox said...

I love the language of flowers.
Great blog, Jae. Hope you and yours are well.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this stuff!! Tell me Jae, have you done this? What happened?