“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
|Calla Lily||Magnificent Beauty|
|Iris||I Have a Message for You|
|Lily of the Valley||Return of Happiness|
|Magnolia||Love of Nature|
|Pansy||Thoughts Are With You|
|Verbena||Pray for Me|
Flower of the Month Bracelet
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
|Hemlock||You Will Be My Death|
Never mind meanings. Which flower is most meaningful to you?