“I cannot make speeches, Emma,” [Mr. Knightley] soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” Emma, Jane Austen

Undoubtedly countless gentlemen found themselves identical to Mr. Knightley’s distress. What Victorians held in their hearts was not always so easily expressed. Even so, sweet sentiments were not to be neglected.

Etiquette hardly made allowances for improper introductions—let alone grand gestures.

That is how the language of of flowers (floriography) came into being. Feelings that could not be spoken or proclaimed publicly could instead be expressed through blooms.

Victorians sent bouquets to convey messages, especially secretive ones. For the majority, the messages were positive in nature. However, the floral codes also included rejections which ladies weren’t shy to appropriate.

Flowers of Positivity

Flower Meaning
Untitled design-18 Azalea Temperance
Untitled design-11 Baby’s Breath Gaiety
Untitled design-12 Bluebell Constancy
Untitled design-13 Calla Lily Magnificent Beauty
Untitled design-14 Carnation Woman’s Love
Untitled design-15 Chrysanthemum Truth
Untitled design-17 Daffodil Regard
Untitled design-16 Daisy Innocence
Untitled design-20 Delphinium Lightness
Untitled design-19 Forget-Me-Not True Love
Untitled design-34 Gardenia Refinement
Untitled design-37 Hyacinth Playfulness
Untitled design-26 Iris I Have a Message for You
Untitled design-32 Jasmine Amiability
Untitled design-40 Lilac Humility
Untitled design-36 Lily Purity
Untitled design-28 Lily of the Valley Return of Happiness
Untitled design-33 Magnolia Love of Nature
Untitled design-24 Nasturtium Patriotism
Untitled design-35 Orchid Beauty
Untitled design-25 Pansy Thoughts Are With You
Untitled design-31 Ranunculus Radiance
Untitled design-30 Red Poppy Consolation
Untitled design-29 Rose (Pink) Grace
Untitled design-39 Rose (Red) Love
Untitled design-27 Rose (Yellow) Friendship
Untitled design-22 Sunflower Adoration
Untitled design-38 Tulip Fame
Untitled design-23 Verbena Pray for Me
Untitled design-21 Violet Faithfulness

Flower of the Month Braceletbirthdaybracelets

Ornately etched botanicals derived from rare gardening journals have been applied to pewter bracelets. Each month is a delightful celebration of blooms . . .


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Flowers of Negativity

Flower Meaning
Untitled design-51 Amaryllis Pride
Untitled design-48 Anemone Neglected
Untitled design-53 Basil Hatred
Untitled design-44 Begonia Dark Thoughts
Untitled design-50 Buttercup Childishness
Untitled design-49 Crocus Abuse Not
Untitled design-45 Dahlia Instability
Untitled design-43 Foxglove Insincerity
Untitled design-42 Hemlock You Will Be My Death
Untitled design-46 Hydrangea Heartlessness
Untitled design-52 Lavender Distrust
Untitled design-55 Marigold Grief
Untitled design-54 Peony Anger
Untitled design-41 Rhododendron Beware
Untitled design-47 Wisteria Regret

Never mind meanings. Which flower is most meaningful to you?

For more posts of love and laughter see Paper Hearts: Courtship Correspondence or peruse the scandalous rejections of Vinegar Valentines.

 

 

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