I love you more than chocolate ... and other modern day flower meanings
|Published: 7th June 2011 20:56|
The Flowers & Plants Association update the language of flowers for the 21st century.
By carefully choosing their wedding flowers (and trees) to symbolise their feelings for each other, Wills and Kate have brought floriography, the language of flowers, to the world's attention and shown that it can still be relevant and very much on trend today.
But using beech to represent ancient knowledge, blossom to express good fortune, and lilac to symbolise first love is no new thing. It started in the time of Queen Victoria, as a way for her subjects to send secret messages through gifts of flowers when it was deemed unseemly to openly express emotions. The meanings were written down in special dictionaries, and the language of flowers was born.
But while The Flowers & Plants Association has an extensive list of the Victorian meanings of flowers they've also updated the dictionary for the 21st century.
Because the Victorian language of flowers poses problems for the modern florist, not least because we no longer use phrases like "you are rich in attractions" (the Victorian meaning for ranunculus) or arrange to meet people "by moonlight" (which you could say with a large bright pink rose) but also because there were often several meanings attributed to the same flower. Just like modern vernacular or even accents, the Victorian language of flowers varied from region to region in the country - so the meanings were flawed from the start and can't be used consistently.
Another problem is that the Victorians lacked the modern flower shop. Although nosegay makers and market sellers were all busy shifting flowers, most of the blooms the Victorians were using were nicked from hedgerows, a practice that nowadays can get you arrested.
This means that many of the flowers they refer to, like buttercups, aren't relevant because they're not commercially available or popular flowers, and won't communicate much when they're a sad, withered piece of slime instead of a bountiful bloom bursting with freshness, as florists' flowers are.
Another reason the old language doesn't work for the modern consumer or florist is that some of the feelings expressed by flowers are negative, and when research has proven that simply being around flowers makes you feel better, it doesn't seem right that flowers should be given a negative connotation. Instead, the meanings should be positive and happy, as flowers are - or even a bit cheeky!
To make it relevant for everyone, and because we think flowers are fun, The Flowers & Plants Association felt it was time to give the language a bit of a makeover to bring a new, updated, and relevant meaning to flowers, that suits both florists' and customers' needs better.
We haven't ignored the traditional language ... how could we given it is so romantic and meaningful - what we have done is base it on the flower's folklore, botanical or common name, visual appearance or the sound of the name, to create a language of flowers for the 21st century.
And because tradition is always important - even if it does come with a modern twist - given blue is one of the most popular colours for weddings we've made sure there are plenty of blue ... or as near as nature allows ... flowers to include in special floral gifts.
We've created hundreds of alternative messages ... here's just a taster of what we think flowers and plants can say to today's modern lovers and friends.
Floriography - 21st century style
'I love you more than chocolate' 'I want to see your naughty bits!'
Agapanthus - Best of luck
Allium (onion flowers) - Thanks for a lovely dinner
Alstroemeria - You're so pretty
Amaranthus - Thank you for mending my broken heart
Ammi - You're my queen
Anthurium - I want to see your naughty bits
Aster - You're a star
Begonia (flowering) - I love your smile
Begonia Rex - Thanks for your patience
Calathea - Call me
Capsicum - You're hot
Carnation - Your beauty is timeless
Chrysanthemum - You bring me laughter and happiness
Cornflower - You're so funny
Cosmos - I love you more than chocolate - deffo need picture of this one - presumig it's the brown/black one
Craspedia - You light up my world
Cyclamen - Sorry you've not been well
Daffodil - You're Welsh and wonderful
Dahlia - You're great
Echeveria - I'm sticking around
Eryngium - You're a hot Scot
Eucharis - I'll love you forever
Ficus - I want to grow old with you
Gerbera - Cheer up
Gladioli - You're so glamorous
Gloriosa - You're my hero
Heliconia - Hello, gorgeous!
Hyacinth - You're a lady
Jasmine - Fancy a cuppa?
Kalanchoe - You're the Queen bee
Lathyrus - Sweetie pie
Leucospermum - Congratulations on becoming a new Dad
Lily - You're so sexy
Lisianthus - Thinking of you
Molucella - For my Irish charmer
Monstera - You're so cheesy
Muscari - With love
Nepenthes - Man eater!
Nigella - I love your curves
Passionflower - I want to seduce you
Peace Lily - Chill out
Peony - You're girly and great
Poppy - I can't get enough of you
Protea - I love your muscles
Ranunculus - I'll run to you
Red rose - I love you - hey we couldn't change that one!
Solidago/Solidaster - I love your smile
Solomon's Seal - Sealed with a kiss
Stocks - I'll wait for you
Strelitzia - You're my bird
Tulip - You're priceless
Vanda - You've got va va voom!
White rose - You're my soul mate
Zantedeschia - I'm impressed
Zinnia - You're crazy but cute
Floriography - Victorian style
Gladiolus Yellow iris
Strength of character Flame of love
There are hundreds of flowers that hold special meanings ... these are some of our favourites...
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) - splendid beauty, pride
Arum lily, calla (Zantedeschia) - magnificent beauty
Bluebell (Scilla) - constancy, forgive and forget
Campanula - white, gratitude
Carnation - red - "alas for my poor heart"; striped - refusal; yellow - disdain; pink - woman's love
Cockscomb celosia - affectation, individuality
Chrysanthemum - red - "I love you"; yellow - slighted love; white - truth
Daffodil - regard, chivalry
Dahlia - good taste
Forget-me-not (Myosotis) - true love, "the key to my heart"
Freesia - friendship
Garden Pink (Dianthus) - pure love
Gladiolus - strength of character
Hyacinth - blue - constancy; white - unobtrusive loveliness
Iris - yellow - flame of love
Lilac (Syringa) - purple - first emotions of love; white - youthful innocence
Longi Lily (Lilium longiflorum) - pure and modest
Lily of the valley (Convallaria) - return of happiness
Love lies bleeding (Amaranthus) - hopeless, not heartless
Mimosa (Acacia) - sensitivity, secret love
Narcissus - self esteem, female ambition
Orange blossom - bridal festivities, virginity, "your purity equals your loveliness"
Orchid - longevity, elegance
Peony - bashfulness
Ranunculus -"you are rich in attractions"
Rose - symbolises love & good fortune; white - truth; white with pink blush - "only for thee"; large bright pink - "meet me by moonlight"; single stem - simplicity; red & white together - unity; small yellow - "thou art all that is lovely"; rosebuds - pure and lovely; red - eternal love; crown of blooms - reward of virtue
Rudbeckia - justice
Snowdrop - hope
Solidago - encouragement
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum) - purity
Stock (Matthiola) - lasting beauty
Sunflower dwarf - adulation
Sweet pea - departure, delicate pleasures
Tuberose - dangerous pleasure
Tulip - red - declaration of love; striped - beautiful eyes
Veronica - fidelity
Violet - faithfulness, modesty