Sure, we all know that red roses symbolize love, daisies suggest innocence and forget-me-nots, as the name implies, is a keepsake flower – but what about lilies, peonies and sweet peas? Do they each have a hidden meaning? Indeed, they do!
A bouquet with chrysanthemums, asters, Alstroemeria and lilies conveys a message of fidelity, patience, friendship and majesty.
Photo Credit: Megan Bame
Irises “hope”-fully get the point across!
Photo Credit: Gerald L. Klingaman
First brought to European abbey gardens in the 17th century, Nasturtium flowers indicated a jest (or joke) to Victorians.
Photo Credit: Mark A. Miller
Legend and religious association regarding the meaning of flowers dates back for centuries, but it was during the Victorian period when the strict protocol of expressions between men and women brought about the development of a secret code – hidden meaning in a bouquet of posies. As men and women exchanged certain flowers, they spoke with one another, sharing their feelings of delight and sorrow, love and jealousy, longing and encouragement.
With the help of books from the period, written specifically to guide the understanding of flower meanings, the Victorian “definitions” for flowers, herbs and even fruits are easily discerned. A double daisy implied, “I feel as you do.” A solid carnation meant “yes,” while a striped bloom meant “no.” The spider flower (Cleome) offered the heady proposal, “Elope with me.” Even at the height of coded bouquets, the “vocabulary lists” in circulation offered varied interpretations, so it’s no surprise that meanings have changed over the years (or have simply been lost).
That said, the following is a collection of flowers and their meanings that might inspire such a romantic notion as sending your beloved a floral message in a secret language. (Just don’t forget that the object of your affection might need the code to decipher your love note.)
If flower species with very specific meanings seem too particular for your taste, consider color alone. For some time it’s been widely accepted that different colors evoke different emotions. Conveniently enough, flowers are available in nearly every hue, allowing you to send a psychological message whether or not your sweetie knows the secret code. Consider these color associations for your next bouquet:
- Yellow: joy, gaiety, merriment
- Orange: creativity, energizing
- Red: passion, strength, courage
- Violet: decadence, luxury, mystery
- Blue: truth, devotion, calmness, sincerity
- Green: nature, healing, renewal, rejuvenation
Of course, romantic gestures aside, there’s a place for practicality, too. Take note of your special someone’s favorite flowers, home décor and personal style. Remember those holidays and special occasions. But no matter what kind of blooms you present to that important person in your life, it’s that surprise bouquet – the one “just because” – that will express and evoke the most gratification!