The whole idea of attaching a meaning to flowers was most appreciated in Victorian England. When flowers were selected by the Victorian sender as a gift bouquet to the Victorian recipient, each flower was carefully selected to represent a specific particular feeling, endearment, intention, hope, or even damning condemnation. The meaning of flowers was more important than the beauty or the scent of the blossoms themselves. The bouquet was somewhat like an envelope with each blossom and leaf delivering the message to the recipient. For the most post, flowers were sent to convey words of love that were difficult to speak aloud. *sigh* Those Victorians were deeply romantic and highly emotional…inside themselves. *sigh again* If it were not for posies love would be wafting in the air like a scent. But if you didn’t know that scent or from which secret garden from which it originated, it was mysteriously lovely…but…
Alas, The Victorians were shy folks. This is when and how the use of Floriography’s meaning of flowers came to the rescue. Especially when it came to the subject of romance. It seemed when a gentleman fancied a lady he would engage a go-between to deliver his sweet but heavily veiled love notes to her, because God forbid any one of them might be intercepted and fall into the wrong hands. In particular, her father or even worse—her disapproving mother!
To get to that level of inter-personal interaction was a long leap to being forward. The usual method of sending messages with meaning was less direct and considerably less definitive. And although it was romantic to recieve a secret message, a note did not always have the Wow-factor that flowers still have. To this very day, nearly every woman loves to receive flowers. Unless she’s allergic. Even then, she will take her antihistamine and greatly appreciate the thoughtful intentions that arrive with flowers.
Messages with heartfelt meaning can be sent with flowers.
Little bouquets, better known as “tussy-mussies” were the vogue in messaging. A meaningful nosegay sent to anyone was the genteel Victorian floral equivalent of texting. The emoticons of engagement were the flowers themselves. Some of the flower meanings were widely understood and well know. But most other flower meanings were secretive—hidden within the pages of books that listed the specific meanings of each flower. Even the colors translated messages. To look back it all seemed so romantic.
Or, so it would seem.
However, messages sent were solely dependent on a mutual understanding which was the Victorian version of an app. Yes, there actually was an app for that. The flower meaning book! Every thoughtful Victorian had access to at least one.
But, if you didn’t have the exact same book that the sender used to devise his or her message, then the message itself could be…and often was…scrambled…to mean entirely something else. This was because there were, and still are, many plants that have multiple and even contrary meanings. Let’s take, for example the yellow rose. In one book it was to mean “friendship”. In another it indicated “a betrayal”. You receive a very friendly yellow rose—from someone you believe is your friend, however your book indicates “a betrayal”. Just what would be going through your mind? Get the picture.
A confusing flower meaning can confuse the floral gift recipient.
After a while, perhaps due to huge misunderstandings, the meaning of flowers with regards to the practice of using flowers as messengers went out of practice. Eventually the idea of it became an enchanting idea and the practice of linking meanings to flowers took on a new life. However, considering that the books on the market today are just as contrary as back in Victorian times, it is strongly advisable to include an actual note…one that clearly defines your intentions…along with your floral gift. And, if it is your usual practice to send flowers to your significant other, make a gift of the book you, yourself, intend to use to design your bouquets. It’s the better way to send a secretive message. Without unity there could be a great deal of confusion. Just saying.
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