How many times have you told your father that you love him? How often have you thanked your teacher for always being the light of your life? Was it easy telling your partner how you feel about them? As humans, our words sometimes restrict us. Overwhelmed by emotions, we find it hard to express how we feel. We say, “I don’t have words to say.” We say we are lost for words. It is in these moments that flowers give us back the words we need. Without any formal idea, we all assume flowers and their meanings and use them to convey emotions.
We have long relied on flowers to convey emotions and messages when words failed. Haven’t you surprised your partner with a bunch of roses without a reason sometimes? Why do you instinctively carry flowers to see patients in a hospital?
Flowers have deeper meanings and whether we know them or not, we attempt to convey our messages using gorgeous blossoms!
Flowers have a language, and the larger world understands it as Floriography.
Beginning Of The Language of Flowers
Flowers with their gorgeous hues and intricate patterns have held symbolic meanings for centuries and had been in use to convey messages in Persia and the Middle East since times immemorial. However, floriography did not see the light of the day until the late 19th century England.
It was in the Victorian Era, in societies governed by strict rules and etiquette that flowers came to have a secret language. However, it was not not easy to decode the numerous flowers and their meanings.
With the publication of various flower dictionaries, the language of flowers came to the masses, and evoked different meaning of plants, flowers and herbs. It was then that floriography emerged and spread as a tradition throughout England.
Floriography And Victorian Floral Arrangements
19th century England was nothing in ideology as depicted in the books written at the time. While books of the time were obsessed with romance, citizens did not enjoy the privilege to express affection openly; the expression of romance was relentlessly constrained in a society that had very strict rules around interaction between the genders.
Women from the Victorian Era would categorically carry small bouquets to evade the bad odor coming from the streets. The scent of the flowers would not only block the smells, but also announce their arrival through its freshness and added to their beauty.
Nosegays, as these bouquets were called, were the first means for communicating secret messages by the use of flowers. Men would gift the women they admired with nosegays arranged in a specific pattern, conveying complex, however detailed messages.
Victorian flower arrangements had more than what met the eye. Each flower in the nosegays conveyed different meaning. Not only did the flowers alter meanings, the pattern in which they were arranged would convey different emotions.
The women-folk would indicate their response to the message by the manner in which they held the nosegays; a nosegay held against the chest would mean an acceptance of the message while holding it pointing downwards would mean a rejection.
Flowers And Their Meanings
Today, very few people can decode different flowers and their meanings. If anything at all, they know that red roses denote love, orchids are for beauty, olives mean peace and forget-me-nots are well, a reminder to never forget about me.
Choosing The Right Flowers
If paid attention, it is not very difficult to understand the different flowers and their meanings.
Convey emotions through the language of flowers; when words fall short, let the art of floriography convey what the heart desires.
But you must be careful when selecting a flower! While every flower carries a deeper meaning, not every flower may convey what you intend to.
Each flower has its own meaning, and that can vary according to the flower’s hue. Did you know that a single-colored Carnation symbolizes a ‘yes’ when a striped Carnation is associated with a firm ‘no’?
Here is a list that talks about different flowers and their meanings; a list that entails the flowers that you should better not give to someone if you wish to show your affection or convey their importance in your life,
What does the Carnation flower mean?
Carnations are found in a variety of colors and each hue symbolizes a unique and rich association. White carnations suggest pure love and innocence, whereas dark red carnations are for deep love and affection, pride and admiration.
Wondering about the meaning of pink carnations? It is believed that pink carnations first appeared on the earth with Virgin Mary’s tears and have been hence, believed to symbolize a mother’s undying love.
While carnations in general mean affection and pride, beware to never present striped or yellow carnations to your beloved.
Yellow carnations means hate. So the next time someone gets you some yellow carnations, you might as well imagine them saying, “I loathe you!”
On the other hand, striped carnations for simply mean “no”. Because they are a mix of colors, striped carnations are a gentler way to simply mean refusal. When paired with another solid color, they strongly express regret.
What does the Marigold mean?
Early Christians placed flowers on Virgin Mary’s altar in place of coins, which is where the flower Marigold gets its name from; it is believed to mean ‘Mary’s Gold’.
Marigold is associated with the sun – it is bright, vibrant and yellow.
However, Marigolds are also symbolic of cruelty and grief. The blooming flower is believed to denote strong passion to the extent that it transcends into jealousy, which is not a positive emotion for any relationship.
In Victorian Era, Marigold symbolized the desire for riches, and the flower is also hence believed to utter a call of desperation; definitely not an emotion you would want to present somebody.
What does the anemone flower mean?
Stories about anemone flowers mostly circle around death, which is why the anemone flower is often linked with being abandoned and forsaken.
Tracing its roots in the Greek mythology, the Anemone flowers are believed to have sprung out of Aphrodite’s tears as she mourned the death of Adonis, the love of her life. Henceforth, the Anemone flowers have been interpreted as a symbol of dying love, or the departure of a love that will never return.
A flower to express distance between two people, a bunch of anemone flowers simply mean “I feel abandoned”.
4. Yellow rose
What does a yellow rose mean?
We have all grown up believing that a red rose stands for love and affection, a white rose means purity and a yellow rose symbolizes friendship. But that is where we are wrong!
In the Victorian Era, the color yellow was associated with negative connotations, ranging from lukewarm affection to jealousy.
A yellow rose hence, represents jealousy and infidelity. It may also mean diminishing emotions, a love that is nearing its end. Yellow rose may also mean farewell, combined with a hint of sorrow.
The association of yellow rose with friendship is believed to be an invention of rose cartels to expand the sale of the flower. Surprisingly, that is the more popularly known (and believed) interpretation, too.
It is not very difficult to understand the decode different flowers and their meanings. While there are numerous flowers that express affection, grief, care and concern, there are handfuls that denote negative emotions. Refer to our list the next time you wish to buy flowers for somebody and remember to never get these flowers if you wish to show your affection,
Crocus I need some time to think
Lavender I do not trust you
Tansy Leave me alone
Geranium You do not seem right for me
A dried white rose I would literally die than be with you