So much of the time, we like or choose a particular flower based on it’s color or appearance or scent – it’s aesthetic appeal – and nothing more. It wasn’t too long ago, however, when flowers were imbued with much more linguistic traits. From the flower to the individual color, meaning was something deeply imbued in the selection and usage of flowers, and woe betide anyone who used them wrong. The simplest example still holds some of its original symbolism in its petals: the rose. When one typically thinks of a rose today, one tends to think of red, and tends to think of romance. This, for the red rose, remains remarkably true to the original meaning. But, substitute yellow for red, and you are no longer offering passion with the gift of a rose, but loyalty, fidelity, and friendship. Change it once more to white or pink, and you are speaking of purity and innocence. You can see where a potential lover could quickly fall into muddy waters if he gave his intended the wrong color or shade and unwittingly broke her heart…
While mixed signals continue to be the center of drama for most blossoming relationships today, thankfully we are no longer relying on a particular shade of flower to clear up such misunderstandings, and what flowers that do still hold meaning are a little more direct via name (i.e., forget-me- nots, etc.).
Still, for the deeply romantic, having a cursory knowledge of the language of flowers can help make your decisions on bouquets both playful and unique; in fact, Kate Middleton took the first step in bringing the language of flowers back into the wedding scene with her own bouquet, choosing myrtle (love and marriage), Sweet William (gallantry), lily of the valley (return of happiness), and white hyacinth (constancy of love).
Here’s a short sampling to aid you in creating your own personalized message with that timeless language — one of romance and flowers.
Ambrosia: Mutual love
Amethyst: My love for you is undying
Anemone: Anticipation, expectation
Baby’s Breath: Ours is an everlasting love
Camellia: I shall love you always; loveliness; perfection; admiration
Violets: I’ll always be true
White Violets: Let’s take a chance at happiness