“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
 azalea Azalea Temperance
 baby-breath Baby’s Breath Gaiety
 bluebell Bluebell Constancy
 calla-lily Calla Lily Magnificent Beauty
 carnation-1355189_960_720 Carnation Woman’s Love
 crysanthemum Chrysanthemum Truth
 yellow-daffodil-2009 Daffodil Regard
 daisy-831456_960_720 Daisy Innocence
 delphinium-170235_960_720 Delphinium Lightness
 forget-me-not Forget-Me-Not True Love
 gardenia Gardenia Refinement
 hyacinth-744055_960_720 Hyacinth Playfulness
 iris_sanguinea Iris I Have a Message for You
 jasmine Jasmine Amiability
 stockholm-lilac Lilac Humility
 lily-flower-white Lily Purity
 SONY DSC Lily of the Valley Return of Happiness
 magnolia Magnolia Love of Nature
 garden_nasturtium_tropaeolum_majus Nasturtium Patriotism
 orchid Orchid Beauty
 pansy-327188_960_720 Pansy Thoughts Are With You
 ranunculus-1396015_960_720 Ranunculus Radiance
 red-poppy-flower-11277567540zfvl Red Poppy Consolation
 pink_rose_ Rose (Pink) Grace
 red-rose Rose (Red) Love
 yellow-rose Rose (Yellow) Friendship
 a_sunflower Sunflower Adoration
 tulip Tulip Fame
 verbena-1508342_960_720 Verbena Pray for Me
 violet Violet Faithfulness


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

Flower Meaning
 amaryllis-1281943_960_720 Amaryllis Pride
 anemone-1169733_960_720 Anemone Neglected
 Flowers Fragrant Basil Purple Herb Purple Flower Basil Hatred
 begonia-886981_960_720 Begonia Dark Thoughts
 buttercup-339759_960_720 Buttercup Childishness
 crocus_vernus Crocus Abuse Not
 dahlia Dahlia Instability
 common-foxglove-1504313_960_720 Foxglove Insincerity
 poison_hemlock Hemlock You Will Be My Death
 hydrangea_macrophylla_blauer_prinz_2 Hydrangea Heartlessness
 lavender-399273_960_720 Lavender Distrust
 marigold-flower-1090773_960_720 Marigold Grief
 peony-788328_960_720 Peony Anger
 rhododendron_indicum1 Rhododendron Beware
 wisteria-1336388_960_720 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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